Delaware Facts

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June 15 is momentous in the history of Delaware as it was declared independent from Great Britain in the year 1776. On this very day, the Delaware Assembly formally proclaimed an end to the state's status as a colony. Since then, the 'First State' of the US has evolved into a chemical capital and credit card capital of the country. The state holds immense significance for the US, and there are many who agree that "Delaware's history is the nation's history.”

Location and Geography:
Delaware is the second-smallest state in the country, located on the East Coast and sharing a peninsula with the state of Maryland. It is surrounded by large cities and metropolitan areas. The state has a total area of 1,982 sq mi (6,452 sq km). The length of the state is 96 miles and its width ranges from 9 to 35 miles. The Ebright Road in New Castle County is the tallest point in the state with an altitude of 442 ft above sea level.

Counties and Regions:
Delaware has only three counties and all of them are named after places in England: Kent, New Castle, and Sussex. Being such a tiny state, it only has a few general geographic regions, which are the Delaware Coast, the Delaware Valley, and the Cape Region.

As of 2014, an estimated 935,614 people live in Delaware. It is one of the top 10 least populated states in the US. However, its population density is quite high due to its small size. It is the 6th most densely populated state in the nation. About two-third of the state’s population live in New Castle county.

Major Cities:
The state capital, Dover, is the second-largest city in Delaware with more than 171,000 people in its metropolitan area (which is actually the entire county of Kent). The state’s largest city is Wilmington. It is also a port city.

Story Behind the Name:
The name 'Delaware' refers both to the state and the Native American tribe that once lived there. It was named after a baron called De la Warr, and truncated into its present form.
History and Colonization:
Like other Native American groups that lived near the eastern coastline, the natives of modern-day Delaware were decimated by disease and warfare early on. The arrival of European colonists and the growth of the fur trade sparked conflict and aggravated longstanding rivalries between the tribes. Since then, the natives of Delaware disappeared to a large extent.

The first Europeans came from Scandinavia as the Swedish and the Dutch founded competing colonies along the coast. Many of these colonies failed in the harsh conditions, but the Dutch were eventually victorious and claimed the region as New Netherland. Later, English explorers arrived and claimed the area for themselves, eventually, defeating and absorbing the Dutch colonies.

During the colonial period, Delaware was considered to be a part of the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania, giving it crucial access to the sea. The state was one of the 'Thirteen Original Colonies' on the east coast of North America that got independence from Great Britain, However, the loyalists of the British regime were relatively common there. Delaware, which has the distinction of being the first state to sign the US Constitution, was always in favor of a strong, central constitution that privileged all states equally (being a small state, this was in its interest).

Even though it is a densely populated state without much land mass, Delaware still manages to have a strong agriculture sector. Its corporate-friendly tax laws encourage several Fortune 500 companies to set up their headquarters. Government and educational services comprise the bulk of jobs that the state has to offer. However, the state still struggles to bring down the high unemployment rate. Much to the delight of the travelers, Delaware doesn't impose sales tax on products within the state.

Delaware is certainly a 'Small Wonder' for anyone witnessing such diversity when it comes to things to do. Follow trails of the horseshoe crabs up and down the coasts of Delaware or admire the 80-feet tall Great Dune at Cape Henlopen State Park — there's no dearth of options for a traveler. It not only has one of the most popular gay-friendly beaches in the US (Rehoboth Beach) but also some historic districts and 'Quiet Resorts.' Delaware's State Fair and Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival are major annual festivals that draw millions from across the world.

Top 20 Facts about Delaware
  1. The first planned steam railway system in the US started operating in New Castle in 1831.
  2. The US warship named after Delaware was the most powerful battleship in the world of its time. It was put into service in 1910.
  3. The legendary reggae singer and songwriter, Bob Marley used to work as a plant worker in Newark.
  4. In 1923, the University of Delaware became the first American college to have a study abroad program when it sent students to France.
  5. Delaware is home to the first log cabins in America, dating back to the 1600s. The concept was derived from Finnish colonizers who came to Delaware in the 17th century. One such cabin is preserved at the Delaware Agricultural Museum, Dover.
  6. The official state bird, Blue Hen chicken, is well known for its combating skills. On certain occasions, Delaware is denoted as the Blue Hen State.
  7. The automatic flour-mill technology was first invented by Oliver Evans of Newport in 1785 that modernized the industry.
  8. Thomas Garret, the American abolitionist, spent his whole wealth in his fight against slavery. In his entire life, he assisted over 2,000 slaves to escape to free states through network of secret routes.
  9. The biggest shoreline resort township of the state is Rehoboth Beach. It was built by Methodists who bought the area for a summer campsite and gathering place.
  10. There were 12 observatories built during the Second World War to defend the shoreline communities of the state from Nazi U-Boat strikes.
  11. New Sweden, established in 1638, is acknowledged as the oldest long-term settlement in Delaware.
  12. Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, houses one of the best naturalistic gardens in the world.
  13. Odessa is home to one of the best compilations of late 18th century and early 19th century structural designs in the mid-Atlantic area.
  14. Barratt's Chapel is called the Cradle of Methodism. It was constructed in 1780 and it is the oldest existing cathedral constructed by and for the Methodists in the US.
  15. The DuPont Laboratories is the first to manufacture nylon at its Seaford facility. Due to this reason, the town is dubbed as the Nylon Capital of the World.
  16. The ear of corn, bundle of wheat, and the ox on the state seal represent the agricultural operations of Delaware.
  17. In some parts of Delaware, it’s illegal to serve alcohol in an establishment if there’s dancing going on simultaneously.
  18. Abolitionist Thomas Garret is assumed to have inspired the character of a Quaker cultivator in the book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
  19. The Delaware Breakwater at Cape Henlopen State Park was the first structure of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
  20. The township of Milton derived its name from John Milton, the renowned English bard.

Famous People of Delaware
  • Annie Jump Cannon – An American astronomer credited for organizing and classifying stars based on temperature.
  • Joe Biden – The 47th vice president of the USA.
  • Howard Pyle – An author-cum-illustrator who created classic illustrated works like 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood'.
  • John Dickinson – One of the Founding Fathers of the US known as the 'Penman of the American Revolution' because of his literary works on freedom.
  • Clifford Brown – The "preeminent trumpeter" known for his improvisation in long, melodic phrases.

State Facts
State FlowerPeach Blossom
State BirdBlue Hen chicken
State ColorsColonial Buff and Blue
State InsectLady Bug
State SongOur Delaware
State TreeAmerican Holly
State FishWeakfish

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Last Updated on: September 16th, 2021