Delaware was originally inhabited by an Algonquin tribe calling themselves the Lenape1. The first recorded European to see the coast of Delaware was Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch in 1609. It was visited and named a year later by Samuel Argall, actually from Virginia, who called the region Delaware after the governor of his home colony, Lord De La Warr.
The Dutch were the first to attempt colonization in the state, but they failed. The Swedes founded a colony in present day Wilmington. They called it Fort Christina. The area would successively come into the hands of the Dutch, then the English under William Penn. Delaware fought for the side of liberty in the Revolution and became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, making it the first state in the union in 1787.
There are many historic and natural sites in Delaware to help visitors get a flavor of the state. Fort Delaware State Park is a civil war era fort that boasts of period re-enactors and displays. For travelers there are excellent accommodations as Delaware hotels are well-situated and moderately priced.
In 1802 the Du Pont Chemical Company was founded in Wilmington and originally made gunpowder. This was a spark for industry in the state that has been exploding ever since. There are several Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Delaware, but more than half of all Fortune 500 companies are incorporated there. This is because the state takes an enlightened approach to incorporation, making it less expensive than in most other states, with flexible laws. The Delaware Court of Chancery also plays a large part by fairly adjudicating business law to the corporations within its jurisdiction. Another advantage held by Delaware is that it does not have a sales tax.
Dover, the capital of Delaware, was founded by William Penn in 1683. It is a cozy town as state capitals go, with a population of about 35,000. Yet it is situated on the Du pont Highway, giving it easy access to larger metropolitan areas. It is also home of a U.S. Air Force base that serves as a hub for much of the activity of the Military Airlift Command. Dover, Delaware attractions are many and varied, including a NASCAR track, shopping centers, malls, historic sites, and the Schwartz Center (which used to be an opera house). There are a number of towns worth visiting including Seaford, Newark, and Lewes.
The only state smaller than Delaware is Rhode Island. Delaware is comprised of 3 counties, and has a land area of 1995 square miles. For its size, it has considerable shoreline, 381 miles. It is actually the Eastern half of a peninsula sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. The peninsula is commonly called "Delmarva" representing the three states that have territory there. The other two are Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, built in 1834, connects the two bays. It was originally constructed to transport coal and other commodities. It is still in operation thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, much of its length is historic and often used for recreational activities.
Delaware has a moderate climate especially in winter where it is protected somewhat by the mountains in Pennsylvania2. In summer the average temperature is 81° and it is said to be mildly humid. Most of the area is made up of a coastal plain and averages about 60 feet above sea level.
Gaming is licensed in some areas of Delaware. Dover Downs even offers the excitement of horse racing for fans of this kingly sport. Hotels in Delaware and other accommodations at these locations are both luxurious and affordable.
Delaware has had a long history of pragmatic capitalism. From its beginning it was a place where goods were traded, and people worked hard to advance themselves and their fellows. Today the economy in Delaware continues to be robust. Even when the rest of the country saw a downturn in 2000, Delaware continued to grow3. This economic engine comes from the positive attitude of the people, an excellent infrastructure, and intelligent, minimal government. As it moves into the future, Delaware is likely to continue to benefit from its advantageous position geographically, economically, and demographically.
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