History & Heritage in the 1600s


Native Americans planted corn, beans and squash before the first Dutch settlers arrived in 1631, followed by the Swedish in 1638 and the English in 1664.

Farming was critical to the survival of Delaware's early European settlers, who cultivated crops such as wheat, barley, Indian corn, and peas, while raising livestock such as pigs, sheep, goats, and cattle for meat and milk.

Swedish settlers who arrived in 1638 depended on agriculture for sustenance.

Under Dutch rule until 1663, Delaware had 110 plantations which tended 2,000 cows and oxen, thousands of pigs, and horses and sheep.

The advent of English control in 1664 under William Penn’s Pennsylvania colony produced the political and economic stability that enabled Delaware agriculture to prosper.