Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware in the United States. The mouth of the creek on the Christina River in present-day Wilmington, Delaware, is the site of the New Sweden colony.
The East Branch and West Branch of the creek originate within 2 miles (3 km) of each other on the slopes of Welsh Mountain in Honey Brook Township, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of their confluence.
The first European settlement on the Brandywine was Swedish. On March 29, 1638, Peter Minuit, who had earlier explored the area for the Dutch, founded the colony of New Sweden near the confluence of the Christina and Brandywine, at Fort Christina, in present-day Wilmington. About 600 Swedes, Finns, and Dutch settled in New Sweden.
Water powered gristmills in Brandywine Village, near the creek mouth, and the nearby DuPont gunpowder mill were important in developing American industry before the introduction of steam power.
The creek continues south through First State National Historical Park and Brandywine Creek State Park, into Wilmington, where it flows through Brandywine Park near the city center. Brandywine Creek joins the Christina River 1 mile (1.6 km) east of downtown Wilmington and about 2 miles (3 km) upstream from the mouth of the Christina.
The Brandywine crosses the fall line just north of Wilmington. The elevation falls from about 160 feet (49 m) above sea level in Chadds Ford, to just a few feet above sea level in Wilmington. The steep descent powered many early industrial activities, including flour milling and the original DuPont gunpowder mills, while the navigable channel to the Delaware River and Delaware Bay allowed manufacturers to load ocean-going ships from near their mills.
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