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Delaware Facts

Author and poet John Lofland wrote:

….Delaware is just like a fine diamond. Diminutive, but within it has inherent value….

Delaware, the 2nd smallest state in land, has an incredibly distinguished history that goes back over 300 years. The state is very proud to be recognized and named as ‘The First State’, as it was the first state that accepted the U.S. Constitution. Delaware was the only European colony that was claimed by Holland, Sweden, and England.

Check also our 50 states quiz.

It was in Delaware that Swedish pioneers introduced log cabins to America, and also the nation’s first steam railroad that operated at a regularly schedule was introduced here. These days, the state of Delaware’s economy depends both on farming and industry and the state is the U.S. leader in producing chemicals.

Delaware is housing more corporate headquarters that any other U.S. state because of its corporate laws, and some nature specialists believe that Delaware may already have seen earlier explorers from ancient Egypt because of the lotus plants that are found here.

Quick Facts about Delaware

– The Swedish-style log cabins were introduced in the U.S. via Delaware.
– In 1831, New Castle, Delaware saw the nation’s first steam railroad.
– Wilmington was at one time the center of American flour industry and trade.

Delaware Brief history

In 1609, Henry Hudson was sailing the Half Moon, his well-storied ship, up the Delaware Bay. He was, as far as we know, the first explorer from Europe that visited the area. Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, another explorer, was roaming and trading in the area in 1613, and in 1638, Dutch captain Peter Minuit (employed by the Swedish) brought two ships with settlers to the area that we now know as Wilmington. They came ashore on ‘The Rocks’, also known as Delaware’s ‘Plymouth Rock’.

Peter Stuyvesant, the New Amsterdam Governor, sent an impressive fleet to the region in 1655. He conquered the ‘New Sweden’ region for the Dutch, putting an end to Swedish rule across America.

William Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania and Delaware, was sailing up the Delaware River in 1682, passing the flourishing community of Christina (now Wilmington) while traveling to Philadelphia, his new capital city. The Delawarea would be controlled from that city until 1704, when it had become a British crown colony.

In 1776, though he was pretty ill, Caesar Rodney, a Continental Congress member, set out on his famous trip from Wilmington to the capital Philadelphia and cast his decisive vote in favor of the American Declaration of Independence.

On  August 27th of that year, the Delaware First Regiment was playing a crucial role in the Battle of Long Island. In 1787, on December 7th, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and gained the distinguished name ‘The First State’.

Captain Thomas Macdonough was from Delaware and his victory in the War of 1812 (the Battle of Lake Champlain) was decisive for that conflict. Another noteworthy year is 1862, when on September 17th, during the Civil War, just about half of all Delaware men that took part in the conflict, were killed in the Battle of Antietam.

In 1951, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was opened. The bridge was built in honor of the more than 800 Delaware residents whose lives were lost during World War II.

In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a permission to use buses for the transportation of children from the suburbs to Wilmington to enhance racial integration. This decision really was a landmark to establish this sort of practices across the nation. In the year 1992, the state of Delaware was carrying out the first execution since the year 1946 when it executed Steve Brian Pennell, a convicted murderer.