The spirit of the ‘First State’ Delaware has been the same all through the centuries, right from the day it set the ball rolling by signing the ‘Declaration of Independence’ first to the latest establishment of its first national park system.
From the display of rich heritage by the native Indians through their annual powwow festival to the conglomeration of corporate giants, the state is a blend of dignity and abundance.
The crisp Delaware facts below affords a foretaste of this ‘Small Wonder’ state.
Delaware Facts: Prehistory | 1 – 5
01. Paleontology research revealed that Delaware is an active site for study of Cretaceous age (145-66 million years ago) dinosaurs, reptiles and invertebrates.
02. Classified as itty-bitty fossils, the teeth and toes discovered at the Delaware basin belonged to the duck-billed and bird mimic dinosaurs.
03. Delaware was underwater most of the period having marine reptiles in abundance like the lizard-like Mosasaurus, crocodile-like Tylosaurus and giant turtles.
04. Delaware was home to fierce crocodile-like Deinosuchus identified from teeth, jaws, scutes etc. and shelled invertebrate, belemnite (almost squid-like) that served as food to the reptiles.
Just how fierce were the Deinosuchus? Paleontologists found two tyrannosaurs with Deinosuchus bite-marks!
05. The remains of small insects to large vertebrates and molluscs have been unearthed from the rich fossil site of Pollack Farm, Delaware.
Delaware Facts: Quick History | 6 – 10
06. Under the directions of Swedish Queen Christina, the earliest explorers reached Wilmington at the mouth of a river and named it River Christina in 1637.
07. When armed ships of New Netherland’s Governor, Peter Stuyvesant reached this New Sweden colony, they surrendered and became part of New Netherland in 1655.
08. After their earliest discovery in 1498, the British King Charles II recalled their memories and rights in 1664 and annexed New Netherland after Peter Stuyvesant surrendered.
09. King Charles entrusted the southern part of New Netherland with the counties of Delaware and Pennsylvania to William Penn.
William Penn received these American land holdings as part of recompense/debt that King Charles owed his father for his important service to the nation.
10. In 1703, Delaware separated from Pennsylvania and became a distinct assembly under the same colonial authority until the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Delaware Facts: Natives & Settlers | 11 – 15
11. The two tribes of Native Americans that originally inhabited Delaware were the Lenni Lenape and the Nanticoke.
12. Still about 500 Nanticoke Indian tribes with their Indian Mission United Methodist Church of 1881 enrich Delaware through their annual powwow celebrations.
13. Barratt’s Chapel of Frederica, Delaware became the ‘Cradle of Methodism’ in the country when the first Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1784.
14. The Delaware Agricultural Museum houses a log cabin built on the ideas of Finnish settlers (mid 1600s), an enduring symbol of American pioneer.
15. Jewish life in the Delaware state became established and permanent after the establishment of the Moses Montefiore Society in 1879.
Delaware Facts: Spirit of Freedom | 16 – 20
16. Delaware was first among the thirteen states that collectively signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the foremost step to form the United States of America.
17. The earliest Betsy Ross-designed American flag was flown for the first time at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware during a skirmish of Revolutionary War.
18. Abolitionist Thomas Garret helped more than 2,000 fugitive slaves to freedom, working as a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad in Delaware.
19. ‘Our Delaware’ the state song of 1904 honors the three counties in the first three verses and the fourth was added during American Revolution Bicentennial in 1976.
20. The childhood home of founding father John Dickinson, also called ‘Penman of the Revolution’ remains preserved in Dover, Delaware.
Delaware Facts: Us First Railroad | 21 – 25
21. In the 1800s, Delaware, strategically situated in the Mid-Atlantic saw majority of US population concentrated to its North and South.
22. There was heavy traffic from New York and Philadelphia to Baltimore and Washington through Delaware.
23. The first scheduled US steam railroad of sixteen miles was inaugurated in 1831 between New Castle on the Delaware River to Frenchtown, Maryland.
24. Travelers from Philadelphia took the steamboat down River Delaware to New Castle; and then they took the railroad from NewCastle to Frenchtown.
25. Again, a steamboat trip down Chesapeake landed them at Baltimore. However, it discontinued in 1853 when alternate route was established through Wilmington.
Incidentally, the trial of the first successful steamboat by inventor John Fitch on Delaware River happened much earlier in 1787.
Delaware Facts: Nicknames & Stories | 26 – 30
26. On December 7, 1787, Delaware was also the first state to ratify the United States Constitution and hence called the ‘First State.’
Ever wondered why Delaware is given preeminence in congressional votes and national events like Presidential Inaugurations?
27. Delaware is the ‘Diamond State’ as christened by Thomas Jefferson due to its strategic location on the Eastern Seaboard, a jewel among other states.
28. It is referred to as the ‘Blue Hen State’ (also official state bird) that entertained Delaware Revolutionary War Soldiers through cockfights.
Much later in 1911, the University of Delaware adopted ‘Fighting Blue Hen’ as their mascot to honor the Delaware regiment.
29. ‘Small Wonder’ is another sweet name on account of its size (rank 49/50), beauty and recognition of its contributions to the country collectively.
30. Other nicknames are ‘New Sweden,’ ‘New Netherland,’ ‘The Peach State,’ ‘The Corporate Capital,’ ‘The Chemical Capital,’ ‘Home of Tax-Free Shopping’ and ‘Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief.’
Along with the states of Alaska, Oregon, Montana and New Hampshire, Delaware is just one of the five states without sales tax.
Delaware Facts: Emblems | 31 – 35
31. The state colors are ‘colonial blue’ and ‘buff,’ also incorporated in the state flag containing the seal, motto and the date December 7, 1787.
32. The date marks the day when Delaware ratified the constitution and the motto of the state is, ‘Liberty and Independence.’
33. The state seal adopted from 1777 contains the coat of arms with the white sheaf, the ship, the corn, the farmer, the militiaman, the ox and the water.
34. Apart from the motto, it has the inscription ‘Great Seal of the State of Delaware’ and years 1704, 1776 and 1787 along.
35. The above years correspond to the establishment of the General Assembly, the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the US constitution respectively.
Delaware Facts: Symbols | 36 – 40
36. Apart from the state bird Blue Hen, Peach Blossom was adopted as the state flower of Delaware, leading in peach produce since the beginning of the 1800s.
Unfortunately, late in the 1800s, the yellow blights destroyed the orchards.
37. During the twentieth century, many more symbols were added like Butterfly – Tiger Swallowtail (Pterourus glaucus) and Fossil – Belemnitella americana (bullet shaped squid).
38. Sweet GoldenRod (Solidago odora) was adopted as the Herb, Ladybug as the Insect, American Holly (Ilex opaca Aiton)) as the Tree and Weakfish (Cynoscion genus) as the Fish.
39. Like 19 other states, Delaware adopted Milk as the official state beverage.
40. Recently, Peach Pie was designated the state dessert and Strawberry was designated the state fruit in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Delaware Facts: History in Geography | 41 – 45
41. English Adventurer and Naval Officer Sir Samuel Argall named the River and Bay after the English Governor of colonial Virginia, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.
42. The state of Delaware took the name from the River and Bay with its capital in Dover and three counties namely New Castle, Kent and Sussex.
43. By having just three counties, Delaware is the state with the least number of counties.
44. The New Castle County of Delaware is the smallest area-wise and largest population-wise.
45. When King Charles II gave his American land holdings to William Penn, they drew a semicircular border between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Delaware Facts: The Natural Setting | 46 – 50
46. Between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastal plain is the Piedmont plateau, which forms the northern part of Delaware state.
47. With most of Delaware on the Atlantic Coastal plain, the east-west dividing line is found between the cities of Wilmington and Newark.
48. The states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland border Delaware as also the Arctic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
49. With moderate climate year-round ranging from 75.8 to 32.0 degrees, it is almost 57% sunny favoring growing season between 170 to 200 days.
50. The coastal Atlantic region are ten degrees warmer during winter and ten degrees chiller during summer with annual precipitation at 45 inches approx.
By the way, the coastline of Delaware is 117 miles! And during WWII, twelve observation towers were constructed to guard from German U-boat attacks.
Delaware Facts: Numerically Speaking | 51 – 55
51. Delaware is 96 miles long, 39 miles at its widest, 447.85 feet above sea level at its highest and coastal sea level at its lowest.
Anyway, it is the lowest state with an average altitude of 60 feet above sea level.
52. As per Vintage 2018 Population Estimates, the population of Delaware is 967,171 housed on land area of about 1,948.54 square miles.
53. According to American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (2013-2017), the median household income was $63,036 and the median housing value was $238,600.
54. Based on the same survey, the total housing units were 423,489 and the high school graduate or higher educational attainment was 89.3%
55. Also 79.6% households had a broadband internet subscription; and there were 73,418 firms according to 2012 Survey of Business Owners: Company Summary.
Delaware Facts: Corporations & Incorporations | 56 – 60
56. Large corporates like Coca-Cola, Google, Bank of America etc. were incorporated in Delaware instead of nearby New York or Pennsylvania.
57. The Delaware Court of Chancery was established as early as 1792 that resolved business-related issues quickly through judges specialized in corporate laws.
58. The Delaware General Corporation Law requires minimal documentation and identification information for national incorporation of companies, and is considered flexible yet stable.
59. By offering tax shelter and benefits to the corporations, Delaware has managed to draw more corporate filings like Nevada.
60. As many as 60% of Fortune 500 companies, 50% of public companies, more than a million have been incorporated in Delaware.
Delaware Facts: A National Park System at Last | 61 – 65
61. Until quite recently, Delaware remained the only state without any National Park System Units like national parks, memorials, monuments, historic sites, battlefields or seashore.
62. But with significant role of US Sen. Tom Carper, ‘The First State National Historic Park,’ was approved by President Obama under the Antiquities Act (1906).
63. Carper calls Delaware a ‘Terrific State’ with great history and proud colonial heritage, now recognized and exhibited to tourists through the park.
64. Beaver Valley, Fort Christina, Swedes’ Church, John Dickinson Plantation, Ryves Holt House, New Castle Courthouse and the Dover Green are the seven sites of the park.
65. Just as diverse settlers garnered during 1776, with similar spirit, the current locals supported actively for the cause including generous donations that made the park possible.
Delaware Facts: Titbits | 66 – 70
66. Delaware is home to the world’s largest chemical company DuPont, which was also the parent company of General Motors until the 1950s.
67. “Oh, our Delaware! / …. Heres the loyal son that pledges, / Faith to good old Delaware.” is the chorus of the Delaware state song.
68. Approved in 1847, the motto ‘Liberty and Independence’ was derived from the Order of Cincinnati.
69. Delaware is well connected to major metros like Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore, all accessible within a couple of hours drive.
70. The Delaware Department of Education (DEDOE) has ambitious courses for any kind of career including adults who return to learn a trade at school.
Delaware Facts: Fun | 71 – 75
71. The Delawareans were called ‘Muskrats’ due to their huge presence in the early days and also on account of the humorous fact that Delaware’s size afforded only muskrats to gain foothold.
72. The Mumford Sheet Metal Company in Selbyville, Delaware provided the planet’s biggest griddle (to cook 800 chicken quarters) for the second Delmarva Chicken Festival held in 1950.
73. Until 2017, there were no women from Delaware to represent the state in the House of Representatives and a Senator, still not yet.
74. With the invention of the automatic machinery by Oliver Evans of Newport in 1785, Delaware revolutionized the flour milling industry.
75. Originally purchased for summer camps and meetings by Methodists, Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach has become the largest coastal resort town now.
When religious center turned a tourist center, huge visitors were attracted from Washington DC gaining the nickname ‘The Nation’s Summer Capital.’