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The 17th Century - A Period Of Growth And Change

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Background - Duke of York Period

Duke Of York

The most serious threat to the Dukes colony in Delaware was the Calvert familys claim to the land. This dispute, an irritant to the Duke of York and later to William Penn, would not be settled until the 18th century.

In 1673 the Dutch temporarily recaptured New Amsterdam and Peter Alrichs was appointed the vice-director for the Delaware region. During that same year the settlement at Lewes was attacked by an armed group of Maryland settlers. In 1674 the English regained control of the colony. Major Edmund Andros was appointed governor of the Delaware region and continued the policy of anglicization of the colonists there.

The English established three court districts for their colony on the west side of the

Delaware Bay. These courts included Upland (north of the Christina River), New Amstel (Christina River to Bombay Hook), and Whorekill (Kent and Sussex Counties.) In 1680, the settlers along the St. Jones River (Kent County) asked that a separate court be established there. (Document 11)

During this period, Delaware experienced steady growth. In 1680 a census of the householders from Cedar Creek to Duck Creek was conducted (Document 10).The following year the settlers in Sussex County worked together to build a new courthouse. (Document 13)