The Swede Who Settled The Bronx Recognized in Sävsjö
I was so pleased to be contacted by New York City resident Brian G. Andersson regarding a very special story and event happening in Sävsjö this weekend. Having found me through my articles at Nordstjernan, Andersson wrote to me about The 375th anniversary of the settlement of The Bronx by Swede, Jonas Jonasson Bronck! A Swede settled the Bronx? Who knew?
This weekend, August 22-24, The Jonas Bronck Center will open in Sävsjö. The center will function as a tourism, historical, cultural exchange, and genealogy center.
A ribbon-cutting and weekend celebration will take place with the local government leaders, including the province’s governor, in attendance. Bronck family descendants will also attend, including one who in his capacity as an Episcopal priest, will be concelebrating the service in the 12th-century church of Bronck’s christening in 1600.
According to The Bronx Historical Society, “The Bronx is named in memory of the area’s first European settler, the Swede, Jonas Bronck. The earliest settlement in The Bronx took place along the Harlem River in 1639, in what is now Mott Haven.”
Andersson, who devoted over 30 years to researching the history of The Bronx and Jonas Bronck, brought this information to the attention of the Consul General of Sweden in New York, who in turn introduced Mr. Andersson to Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Andersson reports, “Dutch documentation uncovered in the last 35 years has indicated that Bronck had emigrated from Holland during the expansion of Dutch efforts in the New World, specifically their colony and company town New Amsterdam. Both the records of his marriage, and the securing and underwriting, his voyage conclusively established the fact that he was a native of Sweden. He was born in Komstad in the present day municipality of Sävsjö about 1600. His parish church, Norra Ljunga – built in the 12th century, is still functioning.
“Bronck emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1639 aboard the Brandt van Trojen (“Fire of Troy”) with his wife and contracted farm hands. He named his farm on the mainland Emmaus. Bronck died in 1643 leaving no children.”
According to Radio Sweden, “Roy Gustafsson, who co-founded the Jonas Bronck Center in Sävsjö, said the town is planning for concerts, lectures, dinners and even visits from the international press, Swedish and American dignitaries and distant descendants of Bronck.
“Five thousand to ten thousand people are coming and there are only five thousand people in Sävsjö,” Gustafsson said to Radio Sweden.” You can listen to Gustafsson’s interview with Radio Sweden here.
These events are being celebrated in conjunction with the Bronx Borough President’s office, Bronx Chamber of Commerce and Jonas Bronck Beer Company.
Photo above: Co-founders Brian Andersson and Roy Gustafsson
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski. Available for print or online publications and business in the Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com