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REPLICA OF SWEDISH SETTLERS' 1638 SHIP LAUNCHED

A replica of a tall ship that brought the first Swedish settlers to the New World in 1638 was launched here Sunday on the river named for Sweden's then 12-year-old queen, Christina.

It took one year to build the original Kalmar Nyckel and 10 years for volunteers to raise the $3.2 million needed to construct the 97-foot replica.

Still to be added in time for a March 29 commissioning are the interior fittings and three masts able to carry 7,600-square-feet of sail.

The tiny Kalmar Nyckel shipyard, where an international team of nearly 100 paid and volunteer shipwrights and carpenters worked to build the elaborately decorated hull, is on a rundown peninsula on the edge of Wilmington.

The ship is part of a plan for a proposed theme park that would include replicas of the original Fort Christina, a Finnish settlement, and a colonial Swedish village, said Peg Fillos, executive director of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.

The Swedish colony lasted only 17 years before the Dutch took it over.

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