Delaware Facts and History

Abbreviated as DE on, State of Delaware is one of the thirteen original states of the current North American confederation. It extends for 6138 sq km. (a little less than the province of Perugia), almost all of the peninsula between the bay of the same name and that of Chesapeake. The boundary line to the W and S. cutting this peninsula in half is completely conventional. The territory consists of a small strip of the foothills, formed by crystalline rocks (gneiss, mica schists, granites) and plutonic rocks (gabbro and serpentine), which locally bear Cretaceous and Pleistocene coastal depositions, and, to a much greater extent without comparison, by a strip of the coastal plain, all of recent sedimentation. The maximum heights, which slightly exceed 100 m., Fall in the northern part of the state; from here the land descends with a series of flat and low terraces towards the sea, where the coastal fringe appears low and marshy, especially south of C. Henlopen. There is no large hinterland and for this reason no ports have been developed except in the actual river area, where Wilmington is the only center that exceeds 100,000 inhabitants.

Delaware, the smallest of the states in the Union after Rhode Island by area, is also one of the last in absolute population. This has increased from 59,000 inhab. in 1790 to 92 thousand in 1850, to 147 thousand in 1880, to 202 thousand in 1920. According to the census of 1930 it was 238,380 inhab. The percentage increase, however, is lower than that of the Union as a whole, even in the period 1920-30 (6.9% against 16.1%). The population is constituted in the great majority of Whites; the Negroes are about 30 thousand, increased shortly after 1860. Of the foreigners, about 20 thousand in 1920 (8.9% of the total), the Italians form the largest group (4136, that is 20.9 % ); followed by the Poles (19.4%); the Irish (14.6%); the Russians (11.3%); the Germans (7.6%).


The first attempts at colonization in Delaware Bay were made by the Dutch, who founded Fort Nassau (near present-day Philadelphia) in 1623, and then, in 1631, another establishment near present-day Lewes. The Swedes, who arrived, founded a first establishment in 1638, and subsequently expanded on what they called New Sweden; but in 1655 the Dutch managed to regain the dominion of the whole region, keeping it until 1664, when it passed, with the other Dutch colonies to the English. First granted to the Duke of York (later James II of England), and demoted by him in 1682 to William Penn, the colony of Delaware remained united with Pennsylvania, although it had its own Legislative Council since 1703 and its own Executive Council since 1710. . With the war of independence, to which he contributed men and money, the colony was organized into a state (1776); and as such it was the first to ratify the federal constitution in 1787. In the war of secession, Delaware, in which there were also many sympathizers for the slave cause, nevertheless remained loyal to the Union, placing itself alongside the states of the North.

Delaware Facts and History

Delaware River

River of North America that pours its waters to the Atlantic. It owes its name to Tommaso De La Warr, or Delaware, governor of Virginia (1577-1618), who in 1611, driven by a storm, landed on its shores; the name was then also given to the bay and to the state that develops on the right bank of this. The river is 660 km long. from the source to the outlet in the bay of the same name, 580 not taking this into account, which represents the end of the ancient river valley now sunk and invaded by the sea. The West Branch is considered as its spring branch, which descends from the Catskill Mountains in the state of New York at 575 meters above sea level; and after a tortuous course it flanks to the W the Kittatinny Range, of which it cuts up to the base, with a long epigenetic gorge (D. Water Gap), the hard sandstone wall. In the’ last part of its course the river widens considerably; and it is connected by canals as well with the Lower Bay (at the course of the Raritan at Brunswick, Penn.) at the bottom of which New York rises, as with the Hudson and with the Chesapeake Bay. Nearly at the beginning of the estuary there is Philadelphia, but the river is navigable up to Trenton, NJ Great works were carried out to free the transit of large ships, which in the same bay is often obstructed by ice. If for the modern development of the railways Delaware has lost much of its importance, the valleys of two of its tributaries, the Lehigh and the Schuylkill, allow us to go back to the heart of the anthracitiferous region of Pennsylvania, to which they owe their increase and prosperity, with Philadelphia.


According to, Dover is a city of the USA (34,735 inhabitants in 2006), and capital of Delaware, founded in 1717. It is located in an intensely agricultural region, famous above all for fruit growing, to which industries are linked.


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