Delaware is often called the Small Wonder - here are some interesting facts about the First State!

How big is Delaware:
2,044 square miles
Most of Delaware is on the Atlantic Coastal plain.  The northern part of the state is on the Piedmont plateau, a hilly area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastal plain.  The dividing line runs east-west between the cities of Wilmington and Newark.

Delaware is 96 miles long and 39 miles at it's widest.

Elevation:
Highest - 442 feet above sea level (Ebright Road, north Wilmington); lowest - sea level

Statehood:
Delaware declared its independence from Great Britain on June 15, 1776.  It thereby also became independent of Pennsylvania with which it had been connected since 1682.  It is known as the "First State" because on December 7, 1787, it became the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

State Capital: Dover

Delaware has 3 counties:
New Castle (northern Delaware)
Kent (center of Delaware, is 11 miles south of Dover)
Sussex (downstate, the largest county, measuring 950 square miles)

How did Delaware get its name?
In 1610 explorer Samuel Argall named the Delaware River and Bay for the governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Lord De La Warr.  The state of Delaware takes its name from the river and bay.

Delaware's Government:
Delaware's government consists of the General Assembly,  comprised of a Senate and House of Representatives, the Governor, and the judiciary.

Delaware State flag
Delaware adopted the current state flag on July 24, 1913.  The state seal is enclosed in a buff diamond on a colonial blue background.  Below the diamond is printed "December 7, 1787," the date that Delaware ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the first state.

Delaware's State Bird: Blue Hen (named February 1939 after the "Fighting Blue Hens" the mascot of Delaware Revolutionary War soldiers

Butterfly: Tiger Swallowtail (Pterourus glaucus) Adopted June 10, 1999

Flower: Peach Blossom
Adopted on May 9, 1895, after farmers and schoolchildren petitioned the General Assembly.  Beginning in the early 1800s, Delaware became a leading producer of peaches until a blight called "the yellows" destroyed the orchards in the late 1800s.

Fossil:  Belemnitella americana (ancestors of the modern squid).

Herb: Sweet Golden Rod (Solidago odora)
Adopted June 24, 1996 and indigenous to Delaware;  found throughout the state along coastal areas and by marshes.

Insect: Ladybug.
Adopted April 25, 1974, after state schoolchildren petitioned the General Assembly.

Tree: Holly American holly (Ilex opaca Aiton)
Adopted by Act of the General Assembly and Governor on May 1,1939.  During the late nineteenth century until the 1930s, Sussex County became the leading supplier of holly, used for Christmas decorations and wreaths.

Fish: weakfish (Cynoscion genus)
Also known as the sea trout, yellow fin trout, squeteague and tide runner, the weak fish was adopted by the state legislature as state fish in 1981, in recognition of sport fishing's recreational and economic standing in the state of Delaware.

Beverage: Milk, adopted 1983

Colors: colonial buff and blue

Shell: shell of the channeled whelk, officially declared May, 2014.

State Song: Our Delaware
Written by George B. Hynson (words) and William M.S. Brown (music), published 1906.
It became the state song in 1925 by an act of the General Assembly.  The fourth verse was written by Donn Devine in a 1960 competition authorized by the by the General Assembly to add a fourth statewide verse to the ones for each county.

Motto: "Liberty and Independence"

Nicknames:

First State - first to ratify the Constitution.

Diamond State - Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson called Delaware a "jewel" among the states because of it's strategic location along the East Coast.

Blue Hen State - One form of entertainment during the Revolutionary War for Delaware soldiers was cock fighting.  It was so popular, Delaware Soldiers brought their own Blue Hens with them during their stay in the army.  The Blue Hen was noted for its fighting ability, and because of their bravery, the men of Captain Jonathan Caldwell's company was soon compared to this breed.

Small Wonder

Home of Tax Free Shopping

Peach State -the first state to produce peaches commercially.

Corporate Capital

Chemical Capital

Weather: Delawareans (and our visitors!) enjoy all four seasons - click here to see today's weather!

Delawareans
The first known inhabitants of Delaware were two tribes of Native Americans, the Lenni Lenape and the Nanticoke.

Something you need to know and can't find here? Ask Caesar or contact us at deinfo@dehistory.org

 

Learn more about history in person - visit our calendar for special Delaware Historical Society programs throughout the year!

Delaware History Museum   |  Mitchell Center for African American Heritage   |   Old Town Hall   |   Research Library   |   Willingtown Square    |   Read House & Gardens  

(302) 655-7161  deinfo@dehistory.org
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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.