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The Delaware Finns

E. A. Louhi

Chapter I.  The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.
Chapter II.  Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.
Chapter III.  A colony established on the Delaware River.
Chapter IV.  The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.
Chapter V.  The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.
Chapter VI.  The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.
Chapter VII.  The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.
Chapter VIII.  The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.
Chapter IX.  The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.
Chapter X.  The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.
Chapter XI.  New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.
Chapter XII.  The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XIII.  England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.
Chapter XIV.  The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.
Chapter XV.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XVI.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVII.  The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVIII.  The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.


Finns or the Ural-Altaic peoples are a very ancient race, who were at their height of supremacy at about the sixth and fifth millenniums before the beginning of the Christian era. They dominated then a great area in the Eurasian continent, including the vast steppe region from Mongolia to the rivers Pruth and the Danube, and to the eastern Baltic shores in the west. In the south it embraced the Iranian plateau, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Egypt. The islands of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea also were included in the domain. In the east, and in the southeast the boundaries of this domain are most clearly traceable today for the radical, difference of the Ural-Altaic and the Mongol languages. Where the lake names in the map end with "kul," "kal," or "gol," that is ancient Ural-Altaic territory and where they end with "nor," it denotes that the territory was originally occupied by the Mongol peoples. All these words mean "lake."

The Iranian plateau was the center of the Ural-Altaic civilization during the seventh and the sixth millenniums B. C. It was in these regions, and further to the north, where the soil was first cultivated and animals domesticated by man. In these regions likewise metalurgy was invented, and man's earliest picture inscription was developed into a syllabic cuneiform writing.

Mesopotamia became occupied by the Ural-Altaic peoples before the seventh millennium B. C., and it was in the valley. of the Euphrates and the Tigris that the Ural-Altaic civilization rose to its zenith. Here in the lower valley, a nation of city states, Sumer, developed. The Uralic or Finno-Ugrian name "Sumer" indicates a marshy region, just as was the original aspect of the country before it was traversed by a drainage canal system. The Erythrean Sea, (the Sea of Separation), or the modern Persian Gulf reached much higher up the valley at this period, so that the rivers Euphrates and the Tigris emptied to the gulf in separate outlets.

Egypt, although being not occupied by great numbers of the Ural-Altaic peoples, owes its civilization solely to this race. The Egyptian civilization was founded and carried on to its highest development by the Ural-Altaic peoples. When they emigrated to the valley of the Nile, they have not left a dated monument, but they have left an imperishable testimony of their presence in Egypt, in the old Egyptian language, in the Hieroglyphic writing and in the early Egyptian pottery.

The author of this book, at he time of the discovery of the Tutankhamen tomb, inquired into the Egyptian Hieroglyphs and to a great surprise found several hundred derivations and words of the same root as the respective words used today in the Finnish language. Besides that the old Egyptian language contained many grammatical forms analogous and typical to those, of the Finno-Ugrian languages. Among these is the prodigious use of suffixes by the people who initiated the Hieroglyphic writing in Egypt. The early Egyptian scribes likewise had in their language three numbers,-singular, dual and plural. This existed in the Finno-Ugrian languages up to 2500 B.C., and is still retained in the Finnish dialects spoken by the Ostiaks and the Voguls in the northwestern Siberia and by the Lapps in the northern Europe. The plural of nouns in the Old Egyptian was generally formed by adding "t" like in Finnish. The conjugation of the verbs was likewise similar to Finnish. Besides no articles were used and the possessive pronouns were represented by suffixes, all of which make the Ancient Egyptian nothing less than a Finno-Ugrian language.

Modern discoveries in the sites of ancient Sumer and Elam, whose people were Ural-Altaian, have established as a fact that the early picture writing of Elam, Sumer and Egypt was originally the same and that the early pottery of these three countries was likewise identical. The early home of the ceramic art may have been Elam.

The earliest known name for Egypt was Kemi. This is a Finno-Ugrian name which simply means "a stream." There is a river of that name today in the Northern Finland and another in the Eastern Karelia. Later the country as well as the river began to be known as Nile or Niile. This is likewise Finno-Ugrian name which means "to creep" and undoubtedly refers to the annual creeping of waters of the river over the country. The aboriginal Negroid Egyptians had several names of their own for the country, and the river, according to locality. Egypt is the name applied to the country by the Greeks and is a comparatively new name which may have been derived from Hakeptah, which is the Egyptian name for Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt.

By the time of the emigration into Egypt the islands of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea also fell to the dominance of the Ural-Altaic peoples. Of these Crete became the most important, and like Egypt it developed a civilization of its own pattern. Some of the blond, blue-eyed descendants of the Uralic colonists still exist in that Island today.

At the close of the fourth millennium B.C., the purely Ural-Altaic culture production had passed its zenith in Mesopotamia. The Sumerian civilization had exhausted itself, but it had developed a new people of vigor, to carry on the achievements of the parent civilization and in its turn to suckle and guide new civilizations, that were going to sprout up along the Mediterranean coast and among the barbarian intruders from Europe to the Iranian plateau and the Caucasus regions. There had been going on a Semitic immigration to Akkad, a neighbor of Sumer in the Tigris Euphrates valley, whose people also were Sumerians. These immigrants, coming from the wilds of Arabia, absorbed the Sumerian culture, the religion, the art of building and the cuneiform writing. The Semites finally became so dominant in numbers that a new speech, the Babylonian language was born for commercial and everyday use. The Sumerian however remained the language of learning and the sacred language of religion. It was cultivated in the sanctuaries throughout the whole endurance of the Babylonian empire, that was later born and continued so even after Babylonia had passed to history, almost to the birth of Christ. The mysterious inscription, as told in the story of the Book of Daniel, that appeared on the wall of the royal palace in Babylon when Belsharusur or the Biblical Belshazzar was feasting with his lords and ladies of the court, while Cyrus was preparing outside of the walls of the city for his sanguinary night attack, was plain Finno-Sumerian language which then was the language of learning and religion of Babylonia, like Latin in Europe during the middle ages. The inscription "Mene mene, tekel, upharsin," of which the Book of Daniel gives a complicated interpretation and which has been baffling modern scholars who have made many ridiculous translations of it, simply means word by word "go, go, on way a disaster," or in better English "wake up, wake up, a disaster is coming." The words "mene" and "tekel" still today retain their daily use in the language of the Finns.

Of all the ancient Ural-Altaic nations, Elam had the greatest endurance and the most eventful history. Situated in the mountainous country northeast of Babylonia, it could be easily defended against foreign attacks. The Elamites were a warlike people and in several periods they held the Mesopotamian countries under their suzerainty. It was as late as 645 B.C., when Ashurbanipal with the Assyrian army succeeded to enter Susa, the capital of Elam. The temples and palaces of Susa were then destroyed and the enormous riches in precious metals, that had been collected during millenniums, were carried toAssyria. Elam did not have energy thereafter to rise into a dominant position.

Among the Ural-Altaic nations in the Asia Minor, the Hittites played the part of a world power, which was in its height of greatness-at about 1400 B. C. The Hittites were the first ones who worked iron and also invented the art of making steel. They supplied Egypt of most of her needs in metals and metal products.

Of the smaller Ural-Altaic nations in the Asia Minor, Lydia deserves to be noted for her contribution to commerce of the uniform minted money. While the Etruscans, who emigrated from the Asia Minor to Italy and were the true founders of the Roman civilization, deserve an honorable mention.

During the four millenniums B. C., the forefathers of the people of Finland lived in the ventral Russia, where their kinsmen still in part survive. As they lived peripheral to the centres of Ural-Altaic civilization and were surrounded in the north by Mongol nomads and in the west by Indo-European savages, they were not able to develop a monumental civilization of their own. Their main occupation was agriculture and cattle raising. Metal working arts were also highly developed and through the Russian Finns these arts, As well as the knowledge of cultivating soil and keeping domestic animals, spread among the Germanic hunting and fishing folks in the central Europe and in the Baltic regions.

The southern coast of the Gulf of Finland became more tightly occupied by the Finnish peoples during the last centuries before the birth of Christ, by the advance of emigrants from central Russia. While at the middle of the first millennium of our era, a slow emigration of Finns took place over the gulf to the southwestern parts of Finland and overland to the eastern part of the country. Before the emigration of Finns to Finland, the country was sparcely occupied by the Lapps and by few Scandinavian settlers in the southwest. The new immigrants who became dominant in the country in course of time, were known by their national names. Those that came oversea to western Finland were known as Taueesti or "further Esthonians" and those who settled by land to the eastern part of the country were known as Karjalaiset or "cattlemen." Finally the Germanic peoples started to call the new occupiers of the land as Finns, after Germanic name of the land. The Finns themselves had an ancient name Suomaa, for the country, which means "marshland," and of this the present national name of the country, Suomi, has been derived. In their national language the Finns call themselves Suomalaiset or "people of the marshland." Finland formerly was full of marshes, left by the glacial epoch which ended about 6000 years ago.

Writers generally quote the ancient Roman historian Tacitus when they write about the Finns. This is an error, as Tacitus wrote in the latter part of the first century A. D., while the present people of Finland were not then known as Finns and Tacitus therefore could not have meaned them by his Fenni.

The Laplanders, who belong to the brave Mongol race, have been the neighbors of the Finnish peoples so long that they even have lost much of their original language and acquired the Finnish. Their kinsmen were the earliest inhabitants of the Scandinavian peninsula, although long since assimilated to the present inhabitants and it is interesting in this connection to note how Norway received her name. The Mongols called the lake "nor" and applied the same name to the long narrow strips of water that penetrate the country from the ocean. As the "nors" were the only feasible ways of communication in the highly mountainous land, the country became known as "Norvegr," "Nordvegr," "Northweg" and "Northvegia," which all mean "lake-way" and hence the "country of lake ways" or the "country of fjord ways." In comparison we may note that the Irish earlier called the Norsemen as Lochlannac or "Lakeland men," and Norway as Lochlann or "Lakenand." Of this original Mongol word "nor" as the basis, have been derived a great number of words in several languages, as "north," "Nordic," etc. In the Finnish language the north is anciently called "pohja," which means the "bottom of the world" and all words referring to the north are derived of that name.

In Finland the Lapps had given names to the principal lakes before the arrival of the Finns. In their Mongol tongue, which under the Finnish influences had become corrupted, they called the lake "jaur," from the original Mongol name "nor." The Finns adopted the Lapponic name for lake, only changing it to "järvi" to harmonize it with the Finnish language. The original Finnish name "kulju" for lake is applied today in the Finnish language only to a small lake or to a pond.

While the Ural-Altaic peoples in the Southern Russia had been constantly disturbed by the aggressiveness of Indo-Germanic peoples, the Finns lived alone in the Central and Northern Russia in peace and tranquillity. It was only after 375 A. D., when the Ural-Altaic Huns retaliated against the Germans and Slavs, and some Slavs were forced to seek peace among the Finns in the north that some trouble could be expected. For a long time however the people lived together in peace and two Slavic nations developed in the midst of the Finns, about the Lake Ilmen. These were called by the Finns as Slavjanit and Krivitsit. The Slavs adopted the democratic form of the government of the Finns, there were no kings nor princes, but the nations and government units were headed by elected elders or presidents. In the middle of the ninth century, the Scandinavian Vikings did no longer satisfy themselves by robbing expeditions but began to linger in the land and levy taxes upon the peaceful Finns and Slavs. After three years the people however succeeded to unite and drive the foreign bandits out of the country. But the former peaceful life did not return, the people had learned violence from the expelled, parasites and internal disturbances ensued. Finally the nations became into an agreement to install foreign princes as their rulers and a commission was elected in 862 A. D., to go to Sweden, where a great number of pirate chiefs were known to exist, of which to elect suitable men and fetch them to Russia. The Finns, occupying the seashore, had the ships and took the commission to Sweden. There they elected as their princes three Viking brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, among which the Finno-Slavic country was divided. These princes with their families settled in the Finnish towns as the capital of their respective domains, which indicate that the empire was in the beginning more Finnish than Slavic. As the Finns call Sweden Ruotsi, from the word "ruotsaa" or "to row," which was the occupation of the Viking sea rovers before they learned to use the sail, the new federation became known among the Slavs after the nationality of the rulers and retains it in the present Russian national name Rossiya. The Finns however called the country Wenäjä; which name they apply to Russia today. This comes from Wäinäjoki or the Dwina river, whose upper course was the Finnish territory that received the earliest Slavic immigration.

After two years of the establishment of the triad government, two of the princes died, leaving Rurik, the elder brother alone to rule. He now deemed it advisable to move from his capital, Laatukanlinna, a Finnish town on the southern coast of Lake Ladoga, to Novgorod, a Slavic town, which was situated more in the centre of his domain. As Novgorod now became the seat of government and the chief military depot, the commerce likewise concentrated there, which all worked for the advancement of the Slavic element of the country. In 882, Oleg, the successor to the throne after Rurik, marched with his Finns and Slavs against Kief, which was conquered and made the capital of Russia. This conquest made the Finns to cease to be the backbone of the new Russian power and the Slavs gained the dominant position in it. The vast Finnish territories in the central and the northern Russia became thereafter the prey of the aggressive descendants of Rurik. About the headwaters of the Volga river old agricultural Finnish nations existed, with numerous cities and "lins" or forts. Here the descendants of Rurik made themselves, one way or other as princes of the cities. One of these princes, Yuri, had married a daughter of an elder of Merja, a Finnish country, which centered in the fork of Volga and its tributary Oka, including Moskva or Moscow and Kremlin, both of which retain their Finnish name today.

Yuri's sons having been born in Susdal, an ancient city of Merja, and being Finns from their mother's side, were so much more acceptable to the "ancient and high inhabitants" of Merja. After Yuri's death in 1157, Kief fell into decadaney for internal strifes between the Slavs and Vladimir in Merja then rose as the capital and its half Finnish rulers thereafter were regarded as the supreme rulers of all Russia. Merja with its Finnish inhabitants became the nucleus of the nationality who called themselves the Great Russian, who made Russia what she once was and ruled her as well.

As to the physical characteristics of the Finns, they are light complexioned, with very white hair when children, but in the later years the hair turns to tow-color or reddish. Black hair or black and brown eyes scarcely exist among the Finns. Blondness is the original characteristic of the entire Finnish race, although for climatic environment and assimilation with other races is nowhere so striking today as among the Finns of Finland, Esthonia, northern and central Russia and in parts of Siberia. The eyes of the Finns are dominantly blue, but often also light gray. The stature approaches tallness. The head form is dominantly round-skulled and the brain capacity, according to existing data, the largest of all men. Writers, who have not seen Finns, generally attribute "high cheek bones" to them. This is an error, as the smallest percentage of prominent cheek bones can be found among the Finns than among any other people of mankind.

The Finnish language, being the oldest tongue spoken by man, has not failed to acquire a development consistent to its great age. During the last twenty-five years attention has been paid to utilize the natural beauty of the language and as a consequence in the National Theatre in Helsingfors one may today listen to the most harmonious and sonorous speech of man.

Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.

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