Risingh was born in 1617 in Risinge, Östergötland, Sweden. After gymnasium at Linköping, he attended the University of Uppsala and University of Leyden. From 1651 to 1653, he held the office of secretary of the Commercial College of Sweden. He wrote the first treatise on trade and economics ever compiled in Sweden in the autumn of 1653. Receiving knighthood, he set out from Sweden early in 1654, to take up his duties in New Sweden.
His first act was to cause the seizure of the Dutch Fort Casimir, which the Director-General of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, had erected just below Fort Christina (near New Castle, Delaware) in 1651. Stuyvesant subsequently responded by leading an expedition to New Sweden and brought the colony under control of his government. After the surrender, Risingh and the other officials, soldiers, and such colonists as were unwilling to become Dutch subjects, were taken back to Europe. Risingh died in poverty at Stockholm in 1672.
Risingh's reports for the period 1654 to 1655, constituting a valuable history of New Sweden under his administration. A contemporary manuscript copy of this report in Swedish is in the National Library of Sweden. This report was printed in 1878, in the appendix of Carl K. S. Sprinchorn's Kolonien Nya Sveriges Historia (in English: History of the Colony of New Sweden). A translation of Sprinchorn's text was made by Amandus Johnson.
Risingh is an amusing character in Washington Irving's "Knickerbocker's History of New York." Irving gives a tongue-in-cheek report of the battle for Fort Casimir.
- Immigrants to New Sweden ("The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware", Amandus Johnson. 1911) http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycoloni/shsw9orn.html
- Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware 1630-1707 (edited by Albert Cook Myers. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912) [dead link][ISBN missing]
- The Rise and Fall of New Sweden: Governor Johan Risingh’s Journal 1654-1655 in Its Historical Context (by Stellan Dahlgren and Hans Norman. trans by Marie Clark Nelson. Stockholm, Sweden: Uppsala, 1988)
- Irving, Washington: Knickerbocker's History of New York, Ed. Anne Carroll Moore, NewYork:Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. 1959. Originally published 1809.
- Johnson, Amandus. Johan Classon Rising: The Last Governor of New Sweden (Philadelphia: The Swedish Colonial Society, 1915)
- Johnson, Amandus. The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware 1638-1664, Volume II (Philadelphia: The Swedish Colonial Society, 1927)
- Ward, Christopher. Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware, 1609 - 1664 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930)
- Griffis, William Elliot. The Story of New Netherland. The Dutch In America (Boston And New York. Houghton Mifflin Company. The Riverside Press Cambridge. 1909)
- Report of Governor Johan Risingh, 1654 (his name has in the modernised English translation been changed to Rising)