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Johan Printz

On the first of November 1642, the ships Fama and the Swan sailed to New Sweden via Portugal, the Canary Islands and the island of Antigua. Johan Printz, who had been appointed governor of New Sweden, which was located on the east coast of North America, was on the trip. After a dizzying journey, they arrived at Fort Christina on February 15, 1643. Johan built the stately residence Printzhall on the island of Tinicum, which he received as a donation.

Printz was a tall man with his 170 kilos. He was strict and gave a respectful impression. He ruled the colony and defended it against both the Dutch and the English. Printz was governor of New Sweden for ten years and returned to Sweden again in the spring of 1654. Who was Johan Printz then? Johan Björnsson (noble Printz) was born in Bottnaryd vicarage in 1592 and was the son of the parish priests Björn Hansson and Gunilla Svensdotter.

Johan started his schooling in Jönköping and then continued to Skara and Linköping where he went to high school. In 1618 he enrolled at the University of Rostock and Greifswald. Lack of money meant that his studies there did not last long. In 1620, Gustav II visited Adolf Bottnaryd and gave Printz a scholarship to study, which enabled him to continue his education in Germany.

During the Thirty Years' War, Printz was forcibly recruited into the military and promoted to lieutenant. He returned to Sweden in 1622 and was employed by Gustaf Horn's regiment. He rose rapidly in the ranks of lieutenant colonel at Västgöta cavalry regiment. His military career in Germany suffered a major setback in May 1640 when he was forced to hand over the conquered city of Chemnitz to his opponents. He then traveled to Stockholm without permission and was brought before a court-martial as a fan refugee.

Johan Printz was allowed to keep his rank as lieutenant colonel, but it was decided that he would be "discarded from the regiment". With that ruling as a background, it is a little surprising that Johan Printz was only appointed governor of New Sweden only 18 months later. He was knighted a little earlier and then received a number of homes in donation in Mo Härad which is located in Jönköping County. Here he built the manor Gunillaberg, which was named after Johan's mother. After returning home, Printz was appointed colonel and in 1658 he became governor of Jönköping County. He has rightly been considered the first founder of the state of Pennsylvania. Johan Printz died on 3 May 1663 in Jönköping and was buried in Bottnaryd's church, Småland.

In the town hall park in Jönköping there is a memorial stone by the governor Johan Printz.