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Capital Dover
Nickname The First State
Official Language None
Governor Jack Markell, D
Senator Thomas R. Carper, D
(202) 224-2441
Senator Chris Coons, D
(302) 573-6345
Population 907,135 (2011 est)
Ratification of Constitution/or statehood December 7, 1787 (1st)
Flag of Delaware Motto: "Liberty and Independence"

Delaware was the first state to sign the Articles of Confederation on February 5, 1778 to enter into the Union. Its capital is Dover, and largest city is Wilmington.


Henry Hudson, under the Dutch flag is credited with Delaware's discovery in 1609. The following year Capt. Samuel Argall of Virginia named Delaware for his colony's governor, Thomas West, Baron De La Warr. An attempted Dutch settlement failed in 1631. Swedish colonization began at Fort Christina (now Wilmington) in 1638, but New Sweden fell to Dutch forces led by New Netherlands' governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1655. England took over the area in 1664.[1] Delaware is the 45th most populous state [2].


Originally founded as the "Three Lower Counties" of Pennsylvania, in 1701 William Penn agreed to allow Delaware to have its own Assembly to meet in New Castle, while Pennsylvania's met in Philadelphia. Delaware was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and is known as the "First State". This motto appears on Delaware's license plates.


Delaware is the second smallest state, with Rhode Island being the smallest. Delaware is bounded by Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware River, New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and Maryland to the west and south.

Delaware's border with Maryland was surveyed by the famous team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. Mason and Dixon also established the border between Pennsylvania and Delaware. To do this, they mapped out a circle with a twelve mile radius from the top of the courthouse in New Castle, DE. The arc extends over to the low-tide mark on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. This border is unique as most boundaries along watercourses split the water at the midpoint of the main flow channel. The location of this border has been the subject of multiple Supreme Court cases as seen here: [3]


Some of Delaware's largest employers are the State of Delaware, New Castle County, the University of Delaware, DuPont, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Citigroup, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Perdue Farms. Delaware is also home to the Dover Air Force Base, which is one of the largest Air Force Bases in the United States. Dover AFB is often in the news as it serves as the entry point and mortuary for American military personnel who die overseas. Delaware has favorable corporate tax laws, which has led to many large corporations using Delaware as their headquarters. Delaware also does not assess sales tax on consumers.

Elected officials




  2. US Census
  3. U.S. Supreme Court - State of New Jersey v. State of Delaware