The 17th century saw Sweden as an European "Great Power" and one of the major military and political
combatants on the continent during the Thirty Years' War. By mid-century, the kingdom included part of Norway, all of Finland and stretched into Russia. Sweden's control of portions of modern Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany made the Baltic Sea essentially a Swedish lake.
Perhaps inspired by the riches other Great Powers gathered from their overseas colonies, Sweden too sought to extend its influence to the New World. In 1637, Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders formed the New Sweden Company to trade for furs and tobacco in North America. Under the command of Peter Minuit, the company's first expedition sailed from Sweden late in 1637 in two ships, Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip. Minuit had been the governor of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, centered on Manhattan Island, from 1626 to 1631.