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Delaware State Guide

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Located in the northeastern region of the United States, Delaware is the second smallest and the sixth least populous of the 50 United States. Nicknamed "The First State”, the state of Delaware is bordered to the west and south by Maryland, to the north by Pennsylvania and to the northeast by New Jersey. Dover is the capital and Wilmington is the largest city of Delaware. Delaware attained statehood on December 7, 1787[1].

Delaware Fast Facts:

  • Capital: Doverseal
  • State Bird: Blue Hen
  • State Fish: Weakfish
  • State Marine Animal: Horseshoe Crab
  • State Wildlife Animal: Grey Fox
  • State Mineral: Sillimanite
  • State Butterfly: Tiger Swallowtail
  • State Flower: Peach Blossom
  • State Herb: Sweet Golden Rod
  • State Tree: American Holly
  • State Fruit: Strawberry

History of Delaware

The early inhabitants of Delaware were the American Indians. The coastline of Delaware was explored by Europeans in the 16th century. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in present-day Delaware by establishing a trading post at Zwaanendael, near the site of Lewes in 1631. By 1644, Finnish and Swedish settlers were living along both sides of the Delaware River from Fort Christina to the Schuylkill River. Later the Dutch were forcibly removed by the English, who asserted its earlier claim of the land.

Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States and became to be known as "The First State." Delaware voted against secession on January 3, 1861 and so remained in the Union. During the American Civil War, Delaware was a slave state remaining in the Union. Slavery ended in Delaware when the Thirteenth Amendment took effect in December 1865. Delaware was not included in Reconstruction and so its post-Civil War transition went smoothly. Delaware officially ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments on February 12, 1901.

In 1963 the Delaware General Assembly outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations. In 2000 Ruth Ann Minner was elected as Delaware's first woman governor. In 2008 Joe Biden became the first Delaware senator elected to the vice presidency of the United States. The Civil Unions Bill gets passed in Delaware in 2011.

Delaware History Timeline

1609: Englishman Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay, River.
1631: Dutch colonists established Zwaanendael.
1638: Dutch settlers established Fort Christina, now Wilmington.
1701: Delaware region became known as Three Lower Counties, a separate legislature from Pennsylvania.
1731: Willington founded by Thomas Willing.
1776: Delaware Assembly declared independence from England.
1777: John McKinley became first governor of Delaware.
1787: Delaware ratified U. S. Constitution; became nation's first state.
1788: 1789: Abolitionist societies established in Wilmington, Dover.
1855: State-wide prohibition law enacted.
1865: 13th Amendment to U. S. Constitution abolished slavery
1868: Delaware legislature voted against 14th Amendment to U. S. Constitution guarantying equal protection for all races
1963: Delaware General Assembly outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations.
2000: Ruth Ann Minner elected Delaware's first woman governor.
2008: Joe Biden became first Delaware senator elected to vice presidency of United States.
2011: Delaware passes Civil Unions Bill.

Geography of Delaware

Delaware ranks 49th in the nation and has a total area of 1,982 square miles[2]. The New Castle County has a total area of 438 square miles, Kent County 594 square miles and Sussex County has 950 square miles. The state of Delaware is 96 miles long and varies from 9 to 35 miles in width. Delaware is bordered to the west and south by Maryland, to the north by Pennsylvania and to the northeast by New Jersey. Dover is the capital and Wilmington is the largest city of Delaware. Delaware is sometimes called the Diamond State, a reference to its small size.

Delaware Geography Facts

  • Total area: 1,982 square miles
  • Latitude: 38o 27' N to 39o 50' N
  • Longitude: 75o 2' W to 75o 47' W
  • Geographic center: Kent County
  • Highest Elevation: Ebright Azimuth (447.85 ft. above sea level)
  • Lowest Elevation: Sea level along the coast
  • Mean Elevation: 60 feet above sea level

Topography of Delaware

Most of the land of Delaware is very flat with the only significant exceptions of rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau. The highest point of the state is located there, rising to 447 ft.

The state of Delaware lies within two major geographic regions--Piedmont Plateau and Atlantic Coastal Plain.Atlantic Coastal The northern tip of the state is part of the Piedmont Plateau that is an upland area within the vast Appalachian region. The rest of the state is part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, that occupies most of the nation's eastern seaboard. The coastal plain is a generally flat, sandy area, with scattered marshes along the coast. The Coastal Plain covers much of Delaware and borders the Atlantic Ocean. The Piedmont is gently rolling with some hills and steep ridges around the fall line.

The eastern shorelines of the state contain a number of bays, marshes and tidal creeks. Sandy beach fronts large stretches of the southern Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Delaware shares the Delmarva Peninsula with parts of Maryland and Virginia. The Delmarva Peninsula is about 180 long and nearly 71 miles wide. The peninsula's land is flat, with a few low-lying hills in the north.

The most significant river is the Delaware. Other rivers include the Mispillion, Muderkill, Nantocke and St. Jones.

Climate of Delaware

Delaware experiences moderate climate all year round. The Average monthly temperatures range from 75.8 to 32.0 degrees. The average temperature in summer is 74.3 degrees and about 57% of the days remain sunny. The annual precipitation in the state is approximately 45 inches. Temperatures along the Atlantic Coast are about 10 degrees cooler in summer and 10 degrees warmer in winter. The average growing season varies from 170 to 200 days.

Forests in Delaware

The Delaware Forest Service under Delaware's department of Agriculture, looks after the forests of the state of Delaware. The forestDelaware Forest Service strives to conserve, protect, and enhance the forest and its resources for the public through management, education, demonstration, promotion, and providing technical services. The Delaware Forest Service provides a wide range of services to help Delawareans manage and improve their forest resources by conservation, protection, and education.

Delaware State Forests

The Forest Service manages three state forests: Blackbird Forest near Smyrna, Redden Forest near Georgetown and Taber Forest near Harrington. The forests are managed for a variety of objectives including wildlife habitat enhancement, forest management demonstration, timber production, and recreational opportunities. The state forests are open to the public for a variety of recreational activities, including horseback riding, hiking, and in-season hunting.

For more on Delaware State Forests click

Redden State Forest

Located in central Sussex County just north of Georgetown, Redden State Forest is Delaware's largest state forest totaling over 12,400 acres. The primary tree species on the forest is Loblolly pine. The forest also has stands of mixed hardwoods, including oaks, gum and maple.

Read more on Radden State Forest

Blackbird State Forest

Blackbird State Forest, Delaware's northernmost state forest, is located on the border of New Castle and Kent Counties. It contains a mixture of oaks, maple, yellow-poplar, gums, and hickories.

Read more on Blackbird State Forest

Taber State Forest

Taber State Forest, lying in southwestern Kent County, is the smallest State Forest of Delaware at 1,273 acres. The forest is managed primarily for timber production and wildlife habitat. It is also a very popular hunting site. Loblolly pine and mixed upland hardwoods are the major timber types of the forest.

Read more on Taber State Forest

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Delaware Flora and Fauna

Some of the major plants and animals found in the state are:

  • Common trees include hickory, black walnut, sweetgum, tulip poplar, Shadbush and sassafras.
  • Mammals include red and gray foxes, the white-tailed deer, eastern gray squirrel, raccoon, muskrat, woodcock and common cottontail.
  • Birds include the quail, wood thrush, robin, cardinal, Canada geese and eastern meadowlark.
  • Threatened or endangered animal species include the bald eagle, five species of sea turtle, puma, three species of whale, and the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel.

Economy of Delaware

The economy of Delaware is supported by industrial and agricultural sectors alike. Finance and insurance sectors economycontribute significantly to employment and income of the state. Manufacturing and agriculture are also significant contributors to the economy of the state. Delaware generates most of its revenue through service industries.

Economy Fast Facts

Gross domestic product (GDP) in millions of current dollars (2013)[3]

  • All industry total: 62,703
  • Private industries: 56,194
  • Manufacturing: 4,548
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing: 26,679
  • Finance and insurance: 18,311
  • Real estate and rental and leasing: 8,368
  • Professional and business services: 7,278
  • Government: 6,509
  • Private services-providing industries: 49,330
  • Private goods-producing industries: 6,864

Agriculture in Delaware

  • Top five agricultural products of the state are broilers, corn for grain, soybeans, greenhouse and nursery products and dairy products.
  • Livestock and livestock products are broilers, milk and hogs.
  • Delaware's most important crop is soybeans followed by corn.
  • The state's largest vegetable crops are potatoes and peas.
  • Delaware's largest fruit crops are Apples.

Industry in Delaware

  • Delaware's primary manufacture products are chemicals.
  • Magnesium is the primary mineral product followed by sand and gravel.
  • The finance, insurance and real estate industry contributes more to the gross state product.
  • Community, business and personal services, wholesale and and retail industry are other service industries.

Tourism in Delaware

Tourism also forms a principal part of the economy of Delaware. Many plans and programs are implemented to improve Delaware's transportation network and accordingly enhance the tourism sector. Some of the topmost tourist destinations of Delaware are:

Demographics of Delaware

Delaware had an estimated population of 935,614 as of 2014 estimation by the U.S Census Bureau, which reflected an increase of 4.2% since the year 2010[4]. The population density of the state is 442.6 persons per square mile. Delaware's center of population is situated in New Castle County. Some of the major ancestral groups in Delaware include Irish, German, English, Italian, Polish and American.

Major racial ethnic groups in Delaware

  • White alone: 71.1%
  • Black or African American: 22.1%
  • Asian: 3.6%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.7%
  • Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Two or More Races: 2.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 8.7%

The common languages spoken in the state are English, Spanish, French, Chinese and German. The common religious groups in Delaware are Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Presbyterian.

Delaware Population Quick Facts

  • Population, 2014: 935,614
  • Population, 2013: 925,240
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 4.2%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.1%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 22.0%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 15.9%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 51.6%

Education in Delaware

Delaware has a very well functioning education system. The Delaware Department of Education supervises and manages the workings of all schools, and higher education systems in the state. The department aims at providing world class education and best values to the students to ensure overall progress and success.

Contact Details
Delaware Department of Education
The Townsend Building
401 Federal Street, Suite 2
Dover, DE 19901-3639
Phone: 1-302-735-4000

To read more on Delaware Education Department click

For Delaware K-12 education click

Government of Delaware

The Constitution of Delaware is the guardian of the Government of Delaware as the government is structured and legislatureestablished by the State Constitution of Delaware. The State Constitution of Delaware divides the powers of the government into three distinct departments— the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The Delaware Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the state government. Several state government departments work under the executive branch for the smooth functioning of the government. The Governor of Delaware leads the executive branch of the government as the supreme executive head.

The Delaware Legislature is the law making and supervising body of the state government of Delaware. The Legislative power is vested in the General Assembly consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The General Assembly sits in Dover.

According to the Constitution of the state the judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Court of Chancery, Court of Common Pleas, Family Court, Register's Court and such other courts.

Read more on Government of Delaware

Healthcare in Delaware

The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services provides health care and social service support to the citizens of the state. The department strives to improve the quality of life for Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, protecting vulnerable populations and fostering self-sufficiency. The Department protects the lives of the people, strives to control and prevent disease and provides oversight to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care entities in the state. The health department also has divisions which provide all vital records and health statistics of the state.

Hospitals in Delaware provide quality health care to the citizens of the state. The Delaware hospitals provide emergency, inpatient, outpatient care and diagnostic every day to those in need. The hospitals in Delaware are well equipped with state of art technology and provide committed services to the patients. The topmost hospitals in Delaware known for giving outstanding services to the people of the state are Christiana Hospital, Bayhealth Medical Center, Beebe Healthcare, Wilmington Hospital, Dover Behavioral Health System.

Read more on Delaware Healthcare

Transportation in Delaware

The Delaware Department of Transportation overviews the entire transportation network of the state and ensure safe portsand easy commuting of people and goods. The DelDOT provides safe, reliable and convenient travel options for the residents of the state. The department strives to achieve transportation excellence in the state and develops plans and programs relating to the system of roads, buses, airways, rails, waterways, bike trails, and walking paths in Delaware.

The road transportation in Delaware comprises of interstate highways, state routes and bridges. DelDOT is committed to ensure safe, convenient and reliable road transportation in Delaware so as to provide easy connectivity to various cities and states.

Air transport is an essential gateway of Delaware serving the locals and tourists from all over the world. The DelDOT Office of Aeronautics is responsible for planning, coordination and implementation of improvements to the Delaware's public use airport system.

Railways are one of the main transportation modes in Delaware serving people with full dedication. Railways are important for cargo transfer also. The Delaware department of Transportation overviews all rail services and its proper functioning across the state.

Water Transportation plays a major role in Delaware's transportation system. Other than serving as an enjoyable mode of transportation with many scenic sites to explore along the way, water transportation also serves as a major mode for freight movement to various cities, states and worldwide through seaports.

Read more on Delaware Transportation

Interesting Facts about Delaware

  • Delaware was the first state to ratify the US constitution on December 7, 1787.
  • Delaware shares a semi-circular border with Pennsylvania.
  • Delaware is the only state without any National Parks.
  • John Dickinson was called the Penman of the Revolution for his writings on independence. His boyhood home is preserved in Dover.
  • Delaware State Nickname are "The First State", "The Diamond State", "Blue Hen State", "Small Wonder".
  • Rehoboth Beach is the state's largest coastal resort town.
  • Delaware is one of the smallest states in US. It is also one of the smallest states in terms of population.
  • Delaware's average altitude is about 60 feet above sea level, making it the lowest average altitude of any state.
  • Delaware is one of the states having no sales tax.
  • Delaware State Bug is Lady Bug.
  • Delaware State Motto is Liberty and Independence.
  • Delaware State Colors are "Colonial Blue" and "Buff".
  • Delaware State Song is "Our Delaware".
  • Delaware State Beverage is Milk.


  1. Delaware Statehood
  2. Delaware Area
  3. Economy fast facts
  4. Delaware Population
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