Excerpt from The New York Times:
“Nobody would mistake the municipality of Savsjo for the borough of the Bronx.
Savsjo, surrounded by dense forests in southern Sweden between Stockholm and Malmo, has about 5,000 inhabitants (about one-tenth as many as the Co-op City section of the borough alone, but about 10 times as many as the number of Bronxites who claim Swedish heritage). Its medieval churches date to the 12th century (the oldest existing house in the Bronx was built in 1748). Savsjo’s best-known sports team plays handball, not baseball.
And yet the two localities share one largely forgotten favorite son, whose Swedish heritage has only recently been confirmed: Jonas Bronck.
Bronck was born in 1600 just outside Savsjo (pronounced SEV-sho) in the hamlet of Komstad. He immigrated to Denmark, where he became a mariner, and then to the Netherlands, where he married a local woman. In 1639, after the local economy was roiled by a boom-and-bust mania for tulip bulbs, the couple sailed on the “Fire of Troy” for New Amsterdam.
The Broncks built a stone house they named Emmaus (after a site where Jesus appeared after his resurrection) at what would become East 132nd Street and Lincoln Avenue, on a bluff overlooking what would become a 680-acre farm flanked by the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill, which separates the borough from Randalls Island, and the Aquahung, which later became known as Bronck’s River.”
Also, don’t forget to check out our fun facts about The Bronx in celebration of the 375th anniversary of Jonas Bronck’s arrival in our wonderful borough as well as the 100th anniversary of the creation of Bronx County.
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