The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Printz, Johan

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PRINTZ, Johan, yō'hän prïnts, Swedish colonial governor in America: b. Bottneryd, Sweden, about 1600; d. 1663. He fought in Germany in the Thirty Years War with the rank of a lieutenant-colonel of artillery in the Swedish army, but having surrendered Chemnitz in Saxony to the enemy, was deprived of his rank. In 1641, however, he regained the good will of the Crown, was raised to the nobility and made the third Governor of the colony established by the Swedes on the Delaware River in 1638. He landed at Fort Christina in 1643 and until his departure from the colony in 1658 maintained the prosperity of the settlement, upheld the Swedish claims, almost unaided, against the English under Sir Edmund Plowden and Lamberton, and against his near neighbors, the Dutch. He built forts on the island of Tinicum near the mouth of the Schuylkill below Philadelphia, at Wilmington, and at New Castle, exerting much influence over the Indians along the Delaware and protecting his trade with them. At Tinicum he built himself a rude mansion, known as “Printz Hall.” The influx of settlers during his rule was made up of a good class of farmers who dealt fairly with the Indians and established a precedent of kindliness and justice acted upon so successfully afterward by William Penn. The only record of Printz after he returned to Sweden is that he was made a general, and in 1658 was appointed governor of Jönköping. Consult Acrelius, ‘History of New Sweden’ (extracts in ‘Old South Leaflet,’ No. 96); Smith, ‘The Thirteen Colonies’ (1901); Winsor, ‘Narrative and Critical History of America’ (1889).