First State, Delaware

With "Liberty and Independence" as its motto, it's no surprise that Delaware was the first of the original 13 states to ratify the United States Constitution.

Delaware Postcard

The State of Delaware, with Best Wishes, Postcard To be purchased from the General Store of Legends

Delaware, with its motto of "Liberty and Independence," was the first of the original 13 states to join the Union and is thus known as the "First" or "Diamond State." Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, the first governor of Virginia, is credited with providing the state with its namesake. To prevent his Pennsylvania colony from becoming isolated, William Penn purchased the land that is now Delaware. Delaware is now a leading industrial state and center for chemical research. The state capital is Dover, and the peach blossom is the official flower.

Delaware's flag features a colonial blue background and a buff diamond in which the state's coat of arms was officially adopted on July 24, 1913. Delaware was the first state to ratify the federal Constitution, which is commemorated by the date written below the diamond: "December 7, 1787." As a result, Delaware is given primacy in national ceremonies like the inauguration of the president because it was the first state to join the Union. Members of the original flag-design commission claimed that the flag's colors, buff and colonial blue, were chosen to reflect those of General George Washington's uniform, as depicted in a single plate from an official United States publication. S Military journal

Liberty and Independence: The State Motto

We're Proud to Sing Our Delaware State Song

Hens that are blue in color are the official state bird.

Peach blossoms are the official state flower.

Tree of State: the American Holly


War of Independence

Timeline of the American Revolution

Conflicts That Sparked Independence

A National Park in the Heart of the Chesapeake Bay

Colonial Era Indian Wars

Stunning Images of Delaware

Time Period of the Founding of the United States of America

Location of Fort Delaware1

The New England Area

Phantom Dracon of the Delaware

New England's Role in the American Frontier

In 1812, the American Revolutionary War ensured the nation's independence.

Delaware State Capitol

Photo of Dover, Delaware's capital, courtesy of Wikipedia

Aw, the lovely New Castle hills, as well as the happy valleys in between Once the ears of corn have gone into tassel,

In addition, the grassy areas are a vibrant shade of green.

Where there is grazing, there is clover.
And the air reeks with the sound of its lungs.
While the stars are out in force
Delaware, you will always be in our hearts

From the State Anthem, "Our Delaware"

The First State, Delaware

Mill on the Brandywine, Delaware,by John Rubens Smith, 1818

John Rubens Smith's 1818 painting of a mill on the Brandywine in Delaware

This state in the middle of the country boasts that it is "not far from where you are" because of its convenient accessibility by air, rail, and road. Historic mansions dot the rolling landscape of the Brandywine Valley, and the state's southern beaches are a popular escape for city dwellers seeking relief from the summer heat. The smallest state in terms of land area is only Rhode Island.

Several Native American tribes, including the Lenape in the north and the Nanticoke in the south, called Delaware home before Europeans discovered its coast in the 16th century. The state was given its name from the Delaware River, which was named after the English governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, who discovered Delaware Bay in 1611. Although the Lenape referred to themselves as "the people," the Europeans began referring to them as Delaware Indians, a term derived from the same root.

Dutch Colonists

Colonists from the Dutch Indies

Dutch colonists were the state's initial inhabitants. New Amsterdam Colony, which would become New York, was founded in 1611. A colony of Swedes and some Finns followed the Dutch a few years later. They established themselves in what is now Wilmington. Until 1655, when the Dutch conquered Swedish settlements, the two countries fought repeatedly. Nine years later, in order to prevent the Pennsylvania colony from becoming landlocked, William Penn and other English colonists conquered the Dutch and Swedish settlements.

In 1704 the town of New Castle, a port on the Delaware River, was designated as the colonial capital of the "Three Lower Counties" (Delaware). Until 1776, the "Three Lower Counties" were a part of Pennsylvania. However, economic, cultural, and political differences eventually led to their separation. In 1777, the government relocated the capital from New Castle to Dover. Many Scots, Irish, and English Quakers later settled in Delaware, and in neighboring Kent, you can still find living descendants of a group of Moors whose ship went down off the Delaware coast.

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze 1851

Emanuel Leutze's 1851 depiction of Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

In the American Revolution, Delaware was one of the original 13 colonies. Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, earning it the nickname "The First State" after the date of its ratification on December 7, 1787. The "Diamond State" is yet another of its common names.

Delaware's growth and prosperity are inextricably intertwined with the great bay that provides the state with convenient transportation, a pleasant climate, and an abundance of delicious seafood. The state is mostly flat, with an average elevation of only 60 feet above bay level. Land that was once submerged in the bay but was reclaimed by dikes now hosts some of the most prosperous farms.

The state capital, Wilmington, was once a major hub for industry and shipbuilding in North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, a French family named the Dupon de Nemours moved to Wilmington and started producing explosives for the American army. Many American victories in war have been attributed to explosives produced in Wilmington. The company, now known as DuPont, is a behemoth in the chemical industry. Many companies still use Wilmington as their primary financial and service hub.

Cape Henlopen, Delaware Bay, courtesy Wikipedia.

Wikipedia user-contributed image of Cape Henlopen on Delaware Bay.

You could call the entire state of Delaware a giant garden. There is hardly an uncultivated acre in the entire state, and farmers have even pushed back the tidelands of the bay to reclaim thousands of acres that were once submerged. Fruits, vegetables, corn, wheat, hay, and dairy products are just some of what Delaware's farms produce.

Since colonial times, Delaware Bay has brought prosperity to the people of the state. Oysters can be found in some of the best beds in the Bay. Many fish species thrive in its waters, but the shad and sturgeon are among the most valuable. A ship canal, 13 miles in length, was dug across the state to link Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay.

Although most towns in Delaware are relatively small, they experience a flurry of activity during the summer months when canneries are in operation. Canned goods, especially tomatoes, peas, corn, and peaches, have made Delaware famous.

Delaware is now a leading industrial state and a center for the chemical industry. Most of Delaware is located on a low, flat coastal plain along the Atlantic coast. The northern part of the state is covered by the hilly, valley-filled Piedmont region. Swimming, boating, and fishing can all be enjoyed to the fullest in Delaware's many freshwater lakes and ponds, ocean beaches, and rivers and streams. Vacationers are drawn to the state in large part because of its cultural and historical sites.

Rehoboth Beach Delaware William Folsom-noaa

By William Folsom: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Delaware Facts:

Dover, Delaware; it's the state capital.

Delaware is home to over 945,000 people.

This small, level U.S. state is only 48 kilometers across and 154 kilometers long, covering a total area of 6,452 square kilometers. S coastlines in the east

Both the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are accredited institutions of higher learning and confer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Wesley College, founded in 1873 and associated with the United Methodist Church, is the oldest private university in the state.

The chemical industry (which includes the city of E I one of the world's largest chemical companies (e.g., du Pont de Nemours and Company), maker of scientific instruments, and publisher

Delaware is home to many well-known people, such as Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Henry Heimlich, and Valeria Bertinelli.

The Japanese prefecture of Miyagi is like a twin to Delaware.

In reference to its status as the first jurisdiction in the country to formally adopt a written constitution, Massachusetts is often referred to simply as "The First State." Thomas Jefferson called Delaware a "jewel" among the states because of its advantageous position on the Atlantic coast, inspiring the state's nickname, "Diamond State." The name "Blue Hen State" was bestowed upon Delaware because of the cockfighting Blue Hen Cocks that were popular among Delaware Revolutionary War soldiers. For its small size, significant contributions to the United States as a whole, and stunning natural beauty, Delaware has earned the nickname "Small Wonder."

Fun facts:

  • Thomas West, the third Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and the first colonial governor of Virginia, is commemorated in the state's name.
  • More than half of all Americans S sixty percent of the Fortune 500 are publicly traded companies, and the majority of these are incorporated in Delaware.
  • Because there is no sales tax in the state of Delaware, shopping is a popular activity for both locals and tourists.
Fort Delaware, Delaware City, Delaware by Seth Eastman, 1870s.

Image by Seth Eastman from the 1870s depicting Fort Delaware in Delaware City, Delaware

Updated in June 2021 by Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of America

Also See:

Colonies #13

War of Independence

A Brief Overview of the Origins of the United States

Colonial Brits to Revolutionary Yanks


The History of the United States of America
Authorities in Delaware Mr. Frank J. Taylor Our U.S.A., by (Author) and Ruth Taylor (Drawings) S A Little, Brown and Company, 1935. A Gay Geography.

Consulate of the United States of America

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