Delaware's Ownership Papers

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Delaware's 1682 Royal Charter
Delaware's 1682 Royal Charter

Delaware’s Ownership Papers

In 1682, King Charles II granted the lands of Delaware to his brother, James, the Duke of York. In that same year, James, the future King James II, gave the same land to William Penn to satisfy a dept owed to Penn’s father by the royal family. This document is one of the four royal grants for Delaware. In this charter, James is given the Town of New Castle and all land within a twelve mile circle of the town. These documents were formerly in the possession of Mrs. Mary Wistar Miller, whose great, grandfather was the last Penn attorney, she donated the documents to the State of Delaware in 1909 after reportedly refusing a $50,000 offer from a British museum.

This document is located in the Charter Documents which are part of the Colonial Records Collection. This collection includes land grants by the Duke of York, records of the period, settlement activities, proprietary papers of the Penn family, patents, Jon Nielson papers and communication and financial records of the Port of New Amsterdam.