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Delaware (DE): State Guide and Fun Facts

When was Delaware Founded? 1638

Who Founded Delaware? Peter Minuit

First settlers: Lenapi Native Americans

Square Miles: 1,954

US Rank: 49th

State Flower: Peach Blossom

State BirdBlue Hen Chicken

State Motto: Liberty and Independence

Capital City

Dover –Dover was named by William Penn after a town in Kent, England when the town was established in 1683. Almost 100 years later, in 1777, the city became the capital of the state of Delaware. The state government is responsible for the largest share of the city’s revenue, while Dover Air Force Base, Kraft Foods and Procter and Gamble contribute as well.


What is Delaware famous for?

1. First state to ratify the US Constitution – Delaware is known countrywide as the first state to ratify the US Constitution on December 7, 1787. Other states were soon to follow; Pennsylvania ratified on December 11, and New Jersey approved on December 18. The first 13 states had all agreed to the US Constitution by May 29, 1790, when Rhode Island joined the colonies by a slim 34-32 vote margin.

2. No sales tax – Delaware is one of only a small number of states in the US that does not impose a sales tax on consumers. The state charges taxpayers in other categories, however it is beneficial for those jumping over the state line to shop in Delaware and returning to their home state.

3. Dover International Speedway – The Dover International Speedway was opened in 1969 under the name Dover Downs, and was constructed as a facility for horse races and motor races. Only two years later, the speedway decided to cease all races, excluding two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. In 1995, the track became the first in NASCAR to be paved with concrete, which increased competition and speed in the races.

What is Delaware’s economy?

1. Finance, Insurance, Real Estate – These service jobs have surpassed previous leaders to claim Delaware’s highest grossing current industries. These categories include businesses such as law firms, health care, hospitality services, auto sales, food sales and restaurants.

2. Manufacturing – Delaware is a leader in the production and manufacture of drugs, chemicals and synthetics. Their operations also include processing of food items such as gelatin, pudding, canned goods, poultry, bakery items, fish and sodas. Automobile production is the third highest grossing manufacturing industry in the state.

3. Agriculture – Delaware produces a small amount of revenue from agricultural products. Their top crops include livestock such as chickens and pigs. Cows are farmed, particularly for their milk. Soybeans, corn, barley, wheat and potatoes are the main vegetable crops, while apples are the state’s largest fruit crop.


Delaware Historical Landmarks

1. Fort Christina – Located in the northern top of Delaware, Fort Christina was the area at which the first Swedish settlers landed in North America. The fort itself was built in 1638 and was located at the junction of the Brandywine Creek and Christina River. The Dutch settled nearby around the same time, and the two groups of settlers were at constant odds until the Dutch ultimately took control of the Swedish settlement in 1655.

2. Holy Trinity Church (Old Swedes Church) – The Holy Trinity Church was built by the Swedish settlers that built Fort Christina, in present day Wilmington, Delaware. It has been used as a place of worship continuously since that time. Today the church is part of the Episcopal Church in Delaware. The building today stands as it did when it was built almost 400 years ago, and historians claim it is the oldest standing church in the United States that has remain unchanged.

3. Howard High School of Technology – Also located in Wilmington, Delaware, Howard High School is one of the oldest secondary schools in Delaware, dating back to 1867. It was an all-black school that found itself in the middle of a Supreme Court desegregation case (Gebhart versus Belton) in 1954. During that time, students were bussed to nearby all-white Claymont High School. Four other schools joined in the battle, which grew to be known as the Brown versus the Board of Education case.

4. New Castle Historic District – One of the oldest settlements of Delaware, the New Castle Historic District was founded in 1655. Many of the town’s original buildings from the 1600s through the 1800s remain, protected with National Landmark status for visitors to explore and learn about the rich past of settlers journeying to the first of the original 13 colonies. In total, the historic district is comprised of 461 buildings, the most noted of which include the Amstel House (the location was originally called New Amstel by its founder, Peter Stuyvesant) and the Old Courthouse.