Delaware is the first state to ratify the Constitution of the U.S.A. Hence, the state is lovingly called The First State. With a population of 1,003,384, Delaware is the 6th least populous state in the U.S. However, due to its small land area, it is also the 6th most densely populated state. The state is divided into three counties: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. As Delaware borders the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the U.S., Delaware has a rich culture and history blended from the two regions.
Delaware is known for its status as a corporate haven due to the state’s extensive corporate knowledge. It has been fast to adopt and ratify business-friendly corporate laws, leading to the state becoming a corporate haven. Businesses enjoy favorable tax regimes, with the state collecting no income tax.
The Early Days of Delaware
Delaware was home to many Native American tribes before Europeans settled in the region in the late 1400s. Accessible by ship from the Atlantic, the Delaware watershed was claimed by John Cabot in 1497. This was contested by the Dutch and Swedish, with the countries respectively establishing New Netherland and New Sweden in the 1600s. The English eventually laid claim in Delaware in 1664, until Delaware, as one of the Thirteen colonies revolted against the British in the American Revolution in 1776. Three counties, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, eventually became “The Delaware State.”
The Old Swedes Church
The Swedish settlers came way before English settlers reached Delaware’s shores. Lutheran missionaries from Sweden arrived in what we now know as Wilmington. Here, they built the Holy Trinity Church, more famously known as Old Swedes. It is a historic church and is among the few surviving buildings from the former colony of New Sweden.
The Delaware River
Delaware got its name from the Delaware River, a major river in the United States. It is located towards the center of the northeastern Atlantic coast region. Flowing 419 miles towards the Delaware Bay and finally the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River drains an area of 13,539 square miles in four states. Towards the northern county of New Castle, the state of Delaware has jurisdiction over the entire width of the Delaware River. Delaware shares a border with New Jersey, with Delaware controlling most of the Delaware River’s area.
From Hills to Plains
Delaware is known for hills and rolling surfaces starting from northern counties, which eventually flatten as you move towards the south. As most of Delaware is flat and lies near the coast, the state is prone to coastal and river flooding, especially during large storms. However, this also means that the soil is rich in nutrients transported through the river from other lands. This resulted in Delaware being a prime agricultural location, where large land areas are dedicated to agriculture due to the rich soil.
The Rich Soil of Delaware
Though considered one of the smallest counties, Delaware is one of the most productive in terms of agriculture. With around 40% of the land dedicated to agriculture, Delaware has over 2,300 farms spread across 500,000 acres of farmland. The state consistently ranks No. 1 in the United States in the value of agricultural products sold per farm, while only behind California in terms of total farm sales. Corn continues to be the number one crop of Delaware, and the state harvests more lima beans across the country.
The Blue Hen
The Delaware Blue Hen is the state’s official bird. While not officially recognized as a chicken breed, the Blue Hen has a rich history and is well-known for its fighting prowess as game chickens. Delaware has adopted the Blue Hen as its mascot, with the sports teams of the University of Delaware fiercely cheered on by their official mascot YoUDee.
Beaches and Tourism in Delaware
Delaware has many famous beaches, such as Rehoboth, Bethany, and Dewey. It is best to visit these beaches during the peak summer season between May and August. Delaware’s beaches range from very quaint boardwalks in the beach town of Bethany to beaches such as Dewey Beach where lively parties for younger students and professionals are hosted. If you are not up for beaches, Delaware also offers relaxing moments in the countryside, sprawling with numerous vineyards and gardens. In addition, Delaware is home to 17 state parks offering diverse outdoor activities from camping, hiking, fishing, etc.
Birthplace of Pumpkin Chunkin
Delaware is the state of flying pumpkins. While Delaware has no franchises or professional sports leagues of its own, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) was founded in the state. Punkin Chunkin, a play on the words pumpkin chucking, is a sport of hurling pumpkins through great distances. Competitors used to meet in Delaware to see who could chuck pumpkins the furthest annually. This is an exciting annual tradition in the state where you see pumpkins flying across the land with the help of catapults, trebuchets, slingshots, and even cannons.
Apple Scrapple Festival
Apple orchards abound the state, which is home to the Apple Scrapple Festival. The two-day festival is held annually in Bridgeville, Delaware where the scrapple is celebrated. The scrapple is traditionally a combination of pork scraps and apples that is pan-fried before being served. Besides the food, the festival hosts a variety of events, from car shows to trade shows, and even the Invitational Scrapple Sling, where participants compete to see who can throw the scrapple the furthest.
Home to Top Companies and Those Starting Out
Delaware attracts many companies and is home to over half of New York Stock Exchange listed businesses. It is easy to start your own corporation in Delaware – you simply need to raise money and file for incorporation with the Secretary of State. You can even incorporate in Delaware without being a US citizen and do this anonymously.
Delaware and Education
Students enjoy free education in Delaware, home to 19 school districts and 23 charter schools. Due to the centralized nature of its educational system and the small size of the state, Delaware was the first state that was able to connect every classroom to the internet. As of 2020, 138,414 students are enrolled in more than 200 public schools in Delaware. Besides public K-12 education, Delaware also has numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Delaware (alma mater of Joe Biden), Delaware College of Art and Design, Delaware State University, and many others.
The Firefly Music Festival
Delaware is no stranger to music festivals. Since 2012, the Firefly Music Festival, more popularly known as Firefly, has been held in the state every year. Taking place in the Dover Motor Speedway, Firefly has a total of seven stages, offering different activities. Popular musical acts continue to be the prime attractions of the festival, with The Killers headlining in 2012 and Vampire Weekend in 2019. Unfortunately, the festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the organizers resumed the annual tradition, with Billie Eilish headlining in 2021.
Home of the President
Though born in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden moved to New Castle County, Delaware, back in 1953 at a young age. He went on to pursue his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Delaware before moving on to study Law at a different university. Joe Biden returned to Delaware where he campaigned and won a senate seat in 1972. He continued to live in Delaware and even taught as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law. Joe Biden is known to be the first US President from Delaware.
Bob Marley, the Delawarean
Delaware is home to Bob Marley and his family. At an early age, Marley moved to Delaware with his mother. While he moved out of the state, he eventually moved back to Delaware in 1966, where he worked at DuPont. It is not known how long Marley stayed in Delaware, but it is believed that the song “Night Shift” was inspired by the different jobs he held in the state. In addition, the state annually hosts The People’s Festival: A Tribute to Bob Marley to honor Bob Marley and his contribution to music.
Delaware and Rescue Dogs
Known for its devotion and dedication to rescue dogs, Delaware officially designated the rescue dog as its official state dog in 2019. Following the state’s commitment to rescue dogs, President Joe Biden even brought the first-ever rescue dog to the White House. Originally from Delaware, Major is the first-ever presidential pooch to have been rescued from a shelter.