Johan Björnsson Printz

Johan Björnsson Printz (July 20, 1592May 3, 1663) was governor from 1643 until 1653 of the Swedish colony of New Sweden on the Delaware River in North America. He was a very large man, reputably over 400 pounds, which earned him the nickname "Big Belly," from the native people, the Lenni Lenape Indians.

Born in Bottnaryd, Jönköping County, in the province of Småland, Printz served under King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden both in Poland and in the Thirty Years' War. In 1642 he was ennobled and appointed to be the first royal governor of New Sweden. He arrived in the colony on 15 February 1643 with two ships, "Fama" (Fawn) and "Svanen" (The Swan).

Under his rule the Swedish colony initially prospered, and he built "Fort Nya Elfsborg" on the east bank of the Delaware and "Fort New Gothenburg" on Tinicum Island (to the immediate SW of today's Philadelphia), where he also built his own manor house which he called "Printzhof". Before long, however, problems with the surrounding Dutch and English colonies became increasingly severe. Short of supplies from Sweden, Printz was unable to prevent the Dutch and the English from practically monopolizing the beaver fur trade in the area. His main adversary was Peter Stuyvesant, Director General of New Netherlands.

In the end, Printz found his position impossible and in 1654 he returned to Sweden where he spent the next three years without an official position. In 1658 he was appointed Governor of Jönköping. His son-in-law Johan Papegoya succeed him as the governor of New Sweden.

s-ttl|title= Governor of New Sweden
years= February 1643 - October 1653


* [ Encyclopedia Britannica]

External links

* [ Johan Printz] by Dr. Eric G. M. Törnqvist
* [ Printzhof] The site and remains of the Printzhof
*The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation & Tall Ship Kalmar Nyckel. []

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