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Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Delaware flag

Delaware State Information

Capital: Dover

Official Name: Delaware

Organized as a territory/republic: 1683

Entered Union (rank): December 7, 1787 (First of the original 13 states)

Present constitution adopted: June 4th, 1897

State abbreviation/Postal code: Del./DE

State Area Code: 302

Fun Facts About Delaware

State Nickname: “The First State”; also “The Diamond State”, “Blue Hen State”, and “The Small Wonder”

Origin of Name: In 1630, the initial governor and captain-general of Virginia, Lord De La Warr, explored the territory that would go on to be recognized as Delaware. The state's name is a commemoration of his exploration.

Motto: “Liberty and Independence”

Slogan: "Endless Discoveries"

State symbols

Bird: Blue Hen (1939)

Bug: Ladybug (1974)

Colors: Colonial blue and buff

Dessert: Peach Pie (2009)

Drink: Milk (1983)

Herb: Sweet Golden Rod (1996)

Butterfly: Tiger Swallowtail (1999)

Fish: Weakfish (1981)

Fossil: Belemnite (1996)

Flower: Peach Blossom (1895)

Fruit: Strawberry (2010)

Marine Animal: Horseshoe Crab (2002)

Mineral: Sillimanite (1977)

Macroinvertebrate: Stonefly (2005)

Soil: Greenwich Loam (2000)

Song: "Our Delaware" (1925)

Sport: Bicycling (2014)

Star: Delaware Diamond (2000)

Tree: American Holly (1939)

Wildlife Animal: Grey Fox (2010)


Governor:  John Carney, D (from 2017)

Lieut. Governor: Bethany Hall-Long, D (from 2017)

Secretary of State: Jeffrey W. Bullock (from 2009)

General Treasurer: Colleen Davis, D (from 2022)

Attorney General: Kathy Jennings, D (from 2019)

U.S. Representatives: 1

U.S. Senators: Tom Carper, D (2001- ), Christopher Andrew Coons, D (2010- )

Historical biographies of Congressional members

State website:


Residents: Delawareans

Resident population: 1,018,396 (45th Largest State, 2023)

10 Largest Cities (2022): Wilmington, 71,569; Dover, 38,594; Newark, 30,453; Middletown, 24,698; Bear, 21,625; Glasgow, 15,342; Brookside, 14,202; Hockessin, 13,464; Smyrna, 13,294; Milford, 12,981.

Race/Ethnicity: White Alone (68%); Black/African American (23%); Hispanic/Latino (10.3%); Asian Alone (4.4%); Two or More Races (3%); Native American/American Indian (0.7%).

Religion: Evangelical Protestant (15%); Mainline Protestant (21%); Catholic (22%); Non-Christian Affiliations (6%); Jewish (3%); Muslim (1%); Buddhist (<1%); Unaffiliated (Religious None’s) (23%); Atheist (2%); Unaffiliated (18%).

Sex: Male (48.6); Female (51.4%)

Age: Under 18 (25.7%); 18-64 (44.5%); 65 and over (20.8%). Median Age: 41.6.


GDP: $65.6 billion dollars (20th in the U.S., 2022)

Unemployment: 4.6% (2022)


Land Area: 1,982 sq mi, (5,133.36 sq km)

Geographic center: Kent (11 miles south of Dover)

Number of counties: 3

Largest county by population and area: New Castle County, 558,753 (2020); Sussex County, 938 sq mi.

State Parks & Recreation Areas: 17

State Forests: 3

See additional census data

Tourism office


See more on Delaware:

Encyclopedia: Delaware
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

Situated on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the state of Delaware achieved statehood in 1776, a mere two months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In 1777, the capital was relocated from New Castle to Dover. Delaware earned the moniker "First State" because it was the first among the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787. Despite being the second smallest state in the USA, Delaware boasts a remarkable history and captivating facts. It played a significant role in the nation's establishment, as its residents were signatories to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. From its colonial origins to its present-day allure, Delaware has a wealth of history and culture to share.

Delaware Geography

Ranked 49th in the nation, Delaware is one of the nation’s smallest states and has a total area of 1,982 square miles. The length of Delaware is 96 miles, and its width varies between 9 and 35 miles, totaling 2,044 square miles. Primarily situated within the Atlantic Coastal Plain, 60 feet above sea level, Delaware is considered the lowest state in terms of altitude. However, the northern portion lies on the Piedmont plateau, a hilly region positioned between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastal plain. Delaware's highest point, located north of Wilmington on Ebright Road, reaches an elevation of 442 feet above sea level, while its lowest point is at sea level.

The state's sandy beach coastline, spanning 23 miles (37 kilometers), stretches from Fenwick Island, at the border with Maryland, to Cape Henlopen, where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. With a single significant interruption at Indian River Inlet, much of Delaware's coastline consists of a low sandbar separating the ocean from a series of lagoons or shallow bays.

Landscape and Climate

Delaware is situated on a relatively flat plain and is one of the states with the lowest average elevation in the nation. Among the residents of Delaware, an ongoing debate persists regarding the precise location of the state's highest elevation, with opinions divided between Centreville and Ebright Road. The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) conducted at the University of Delaware, in collaboration with the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), has determined that the highest officially marked point in Delaware is located on Ebright Road near the border with Pennsylvania which is 447.85 feet, 2 feet higher than Centerville.

Delaware experiences a moderate climate throughout the year, with monthly average temperatures ranging from 32.0 to 75.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Approximately 57% of the days are sunny, and the state receives an annual precipitation of around 45 inches. Along the Atlantic Coast, temperatures are approximately 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer.


Because Delaware is situated in a transitional zone between four other states — Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and Virginia — it shares plant and animal species commonly found in these areas. In the northern region, the landscape is dominated by hardwood trees, while in the southern part, a mix of pine and hardwood trees can be found. The state is a wildlife refuge, home to various species including deer, foxes, raccoons, opossums, and muskrats, which are frequently encountered. During winter, beaches and marshes provide a sanctuary for numerous species of wildfowl and serve as crucial stopovers for migrating birds, such as sandpipers.

The state proudly boasts an impressive array of over 1,600 native plant species as part of Delaware. These plants can be discovered across a diverse range of over 100 terrestrial and wetland habitats. Over 140 distinct vegetation communities are found statewide, which include indigenous native trees like box elder, eastern red maple, Carolina red maple, slippery elm, and dwarf hawthorn.

Delaware People and Population

In 2021, Delaware reached a significant milestone in its population, surpassing 1 million residents for the first time in its history. As per the government's estimates in July 2021, Delaware's population was reported to be 1,003,384. By 2022, this number had further grown to 1,018,396. During the colonial era, Delaware had a population primarily composed of individuals from the British Isles, Germans, Native Americans, and enslaved individuals. The industrial growth in and around Wilmington in the 19th century resulted in an influx of Irish, Polish, Italian, and German immigrants. Additionally, in the twentieth century, Puerto Rican and Guatemalan immigrants were drawn to the region.


According to the 2022 census, the majority of Delaware’s population (44.5%) falls under the 18-64 age group, with 20.8% over 65 years old.

While Delaware has maintained a consistent overall population growth rate of approximately 1% per year since 2010, the age group of individuals aged 65 and older has experienced the most rapid increase, with a 55% growth over an 11-year period. In contrast, the 35–49 age group has shown the largest decline, dropping by 4.2% during the same timeframe.


Based on the 2022 census data, 51.4% of the population of Delaware is female, while the remaining 48.6% represents the male population.


In 2021, 60.8% of Delaware's population was white alone, while 20.8% of Delaware residents were Black or African American, and 10.1% of Delaware residents were Hispanic or Latino. However, by 2022, the percentage of white residents had increased to 68.8%, the percentage of Black or African American residents had risen to 23.8%, and the percentage of Hispanic or Latino residents remained relatively stable at 10.3%.


Religion in Delaware is predominantly Christian, with a majority of 69% of the population identifying as such. Among Christians, 22% identify as Catholic, and 21% identify as mainline Protestant. The Jewish faith is adhered to by 3% of the population, while Muslims account for 1% of those following non-Christian faiths. Individuals who reported being non-affiliated accounted for 23% of the population, with 18% stating they have "nothing in particular" as their religious affiliation.


"The median household income in Delaware for the period of 2017–2021 was reported at $72,724 in 2022, representing a significant increase compared to the figure reported in 2020, which was $68,687. Additionally, the per capita income for the same period was reported as $38,917."


There are 19 school districts and 23 charter schools spread across the three counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in the state of Delaware. According to the report card released by the Delaware Division of Education, 87.79% of the class of 2022 successfully graduated high school within four years. Additionally, during the 2021-2022 school year, 42.36% of students demonstrated proficiency in English language arts (ELA), while 29.48% showed proficiency in math for grades 3–8.

However, based on the Nation's Report Card (NAEP) processed by the Department of Education, the average score for 8th-grade students in Delaware was 264 in 2022, which was lower than the national average score of 273. It is also worth noting that the average score in 2022 (264) was lower than both the average score in 2019 (277) and the average score in 2003 (277).

Delaware is home to eight colleges and universities that hold regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Among these institutions, five are private, while three are public.


In 2021, Delaware ranked 7th in terms of population growth in the nation, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, surpassing both North Carolina and Arizona. The bureau's estimate indicates that Delaware gained over 13,000 residents between 2021 and 2022. However, neighboring states of Delaware experienced population declines as residents relocated to Sun Belt states and, in some cases, even to Delaware itself. The lower property taxes and absence of sales tax in southern and central Delaware are believed to attract new residents. Additionally, Delaware offers lower tax rates for retirees, resulting in increased migration of individuals from the healthcare and other sectors of the economy. After World War II, Delaware witnessed an influx of residents from West Virginia, and the decline of the coal and chemical industries played a major role in the population decrease in West Virginia.  

Delaware Government

Delaware adopted its current constitution in 1897, which has since undergone multiple amendments. Amendments require approval through a two-thirds vote in two consecutive legislatures, with an intervening election. The governor serves a four-year term, with the possibility of reelection only once, and does not possess veto power over amendments. In 1970, the implementation of a cabinet form of government enhanced and centralized executive authority, reshaping the balance of power between the legislature and the governor, as well as law enforcement and other state agencies. According to the information shared on their main website, (and FAQ), the General Assembly, Delaware's bicameral legislature, consists of a 62-member body. The Senate is composed of 21 members serving four-year terms, while the House of Representatives consists of 41 members serving two-year terms.


The Government of Delaware follows a structure similar to the US federal government, with three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Leading the executive branch is the Governor, while the General Assembly represents the legislature, and the Supreme Court acts as the highest court. Delaware is divided into counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts.

Political Trends

The political landscape in Delaware maintains a balance between the Democratic and Republican parties, with Democrats having more registered voters. However, many voters remain unaffiliated, and swing votes play a significant role. Primaries gained importance in 1978 for all elective offices.

After the Civil War, Delaware Democrats used their control over certain positions to discourage African Americans from voting, while Republicans actively sought their support and gained control in the early 20th century. Democrats abandoned their all-white tradition in 1932, gradually attracting African American residents over the following decades. Major state initiatives often require bipartisan support.

Delaware Economy

In 2022, Delaware's GDP reached $65.6 billion, marking a 1.5% increase from the previous year. Over the five-year period leading up to 2022, Delaware's GDP experienced an average annual growth rate of 2.0%. With three major U.S. cities located within a 150-mile radius (Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, P.A.), Delaware’s location is a key advantage. They are also among the five states that offer tax-free shopping. Delaware's economy is diverse and encompasses agriculture, industry, and commerce. Poultry production serves as a prominent sector within agriculture, alongside significant ancillary crops like corn and soybeans. Northern Delaware is home to major chemical companies such as DuPont, Hercules, and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.  The decline of its motor vehicle manufacturing industry in 2008 was a significant drawback in Delaware leading to the corporate buyout of major banks, the departure of the steel industry, bankruptcy of a fiber mill.


Despite a decline in the number of farms and agricultural land, agriculture remains significant in Delaware, second in the nation behind California in sales per farm. Based on the 2017 census, Delaware was home to 2,302 farms producing $1.5 billion in agricultural sales.  The state was also ranked No. 1 in the nation for the value of agricultural sales per farmland acre. Poultry raising, mainly concentrated in Sussex County, serves as the primary source of cash income in farming. Soybeans are another important crop, along with corn, milk, and vegetables. The coastal and inland waters contribute to the local economy through fishing, clamming, and crabbing. Since the end of WWII, poultry raising has become a primary source of the state’s agricultural revenue.


The three main industrial sectors in Delaware are science and technology, education and healthcare, and business and financial services. Delaware boasts a thriving science and tech industry, known for its strong STEM-based initiatives, which earned the state a ranking of 7th in the Milken Institute's 2018 State Technology and Science Index. In the realm of education and healthcare, Delaware's largest health system, Christiana Care, ranks among the top 2% of all U.S. hospitals, according to Healthgrades. In terms of business and financial services, Delaware takes pride in being home to over one million businesses, including 66% of Fortune 500 companies. The financial services sector accounts for 9% of all jobs in Delaware, the highest share among all states. Additionally, according to the state's Prosperity Partnership website, Delaware boasts the second-lowest business costs in the United States.

Incorporating in Delaware

Delaware has held its position as the top choice for businesses forming entities since the early 1900s. Presently, over one million business entities have chosen Delaware as their legal domicile. A significant majority of publicly traded companies in the United States, including more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, are incorporated in Delaware, earning it the reputation of being the "corporate capital of the world."

Delaware's appeal as a favorable destination for corporations stems primarily from its business-friendly corporation law. The franchise taxes imposed on Delaware corporations contribute around 20% of the state's revenue. Forbes Magazine highlights that Delaware's lenient tax policies have been a major factor in attracting corporations worldwide. Companies registered in Delaware but not conducting business within the state are exempt from paying corporate income tax. Additionally, Delaware does not impose sales tax, investment income tax, inheritance tax, or personal property tax.

Arts & Entertainment

Delaware boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, featuring a diverse range of museums and performance venues. From engaging theater productions to captivating concerts and exquisite art exhibitions, the state offers a dynamic cultural experience that combines the best of big-city entertainment with a warm community atmosphere. Throughout the year, Delaware hosts a variety of music festivals and events, including the renowned Firefly Music Festival held in Dover, which coincides with the Delaware State Fair near Dewey Beach. The Opera Delaware Festival in Wilmington showcases both timeless classics and contemporary opera performances, while the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in downtown Wilmington pays homage to jazz legends.

Just outside of Wilmington, Delaware's outskirts are home to two prominent museums that offer enriching experiences. The Winterthur Museum is internationally recognized for its extensive collection of American decorative arts, thoughtfully presented in authentic period rooms. Meanwhile, the Hagley Museum and Library provides a captivating exploration of American manufacturing history with its preserved mills and structures from the DuPont company, accompanied by engaging indoor exhibits. Additionally, Wilmington itself houses notable museums such as the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville, the Aviation Museum in Georgetown, the Historical Society of Delaware, Old Town Hall, and the Delaware History Museum

Space, Science, and Technology

STEM-based industries in Delaware are recognized as some of the strongest in the nation. Supported by the state’s strong research and development environment, including collaborative universities, research organizations, and available tax credits, Delaware ranks 9th nationally on the State Technology and Science Index.

Delaware's strategic location within the Innovation Corridor, combined with strong intellectual property protection and collaboration among neighboring states, contributes to its appeal for biotech companies. The Delaware Innovation Space, established in 2017 through a partnership between DuPont, the University of Delaware, and the state government, serves as a catalyst for innovation in the biotechnology industry.

Delaware has made unique yet notable contributions to the aerospace industry, particularly through the presence of ILC Dover, LP. Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, which is renowned for its production of space suits for NASA. Having supplied suits to every American astronaut during the Apollo program, ILC Dover LP is known to have supplied space suits for Apollo 11. The company also designed and manufactured the Space Suit Assembly for the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), worn by astronauts during spacewalks on Space Shuttle missions and the International Space Station. 


Delaware's tourism industry has gained increased prominence since 2018, attracting a record-breaking 9.2 million visitors and generating a substantial economic impact of $3.5 billion. The tourism industry in Delaware is a major employer, providing jobs to over 44,000 individuals, including numerous small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Visitors to Delaware engage in popular activities such as tax-free shopping, dining, and enjoying the state's beautiful beaches. The majority of visitors hail from nearby metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, with Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Washington, D.C., being the most popular origins. In fact, Rehoboth Beach is known as "The Nation's Summer Capital" due to the large number of visitors it attracts from the Washington, D.C. (DMV) area.

The Delaware Tourism Office played a significant role in promoting the state as an ideal destination. Through award-winning marketing campaigns, innovative technology such as a 360-degree virtual reality tour of attractions, and participation in national consumer and travel industry trade shows, they shared Delaware's "Endless Discoveries" with out-of-state travelers. These initiatives aimed to create a positive economic impact for the state and showcase what makes Delaware a compelling place to visit.

Wealth and Poverty

As of 2022, the poverty rate in Delaware stands at 11.6%, indicating an improvement compared to the 13.8% rate recorded in 2013 for individuals in the state. The Center of Community Research & Services at the University of Delaware has noted that historically, Delaware's individual poverty rate has been lower than the national rate. However, starting in 2009, the national and state rates began to converge. Additionally, their findings revealed that Delaware's individual poverty rate aligned with rates observed in neighboring states such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Delaware ranked 24th among the states in terms of per capita income in 2022. The state's median household income, based on a five-year estimate, ranked 16th among all states and exceeded the national average of $69,021. Furthermore, Delaware's poverty rate in 2021, based on a five-year estimate, was 11.4%, lower than the national rate of 12.6%.

Delaware Interesting Facts

The state is full of fascinating history and trivia tidbits, including the following interesting facts all about Delaware.

Delaware’s Biggest Industry, Poultry, Started by Accident!

In 2022, Delaware generated approximately $1.3 billion in agricultural cash receipts, with broiler chickens being the most valuable commodity. In fact, the poultry industry in Delaware is so big that the number of chickens surpasses the state's population by 200 times! This thriving industry, however, almost never came into existence. Until the early 1900s, chickens were primarily raised on farms for their egg-laying abilities rather than for their meat.

It wasn’t until 1923, when a woman named Cecilia Steele from Ocean View, Del., originally ordered 50 chicks for her backyard flock. However, due to a miscalculation, the hatchery mistakenly sent 500 chicks instead. Undeterred by the unexpected surplus, Cecilia Steele decided to raise all 500 chicks. 16 weeks later, she successfully sold them for 63 cents per pound as meat. Word spread rapidly, marking the birth of the Delaware and Delmarva poultry industries.

Delawareans Joined World War I Before the Rest of the Country

Prior to the United States' entry into the Great War in 1917, Delawareans were already actively involved in the conflict. They contributed to the British and Canadian armed forces and volunteered as ambulance drivers, nurses, and doctors in medical teams. During WWI, over 10,000 Delawareans served in the armed forces both domestically and internationally. Tragically, 43 individuals were killed, while an additional 188 were wounded.

Bob Marley Made Delaware His Home!

Reggae legend Bob Marley had strong connections to Wilmington, DE! His mother resided there for several years, and Marley himself was a frequent visitor. In recognition of his influence, a playground and park near his mother's home were renamed One Love Park. Additionally, Wilmington hosts the People's Festival annually (now a Delaware tradition!) as a musical tribute to the renowned performer. Marley initially arrived in Wilmington in 1966 to join his mother, Cedella Booker, who had relocated from Jamaica. At the time, Marley was already a young married man and an active member of the Wailers band. While in Wilmington, he held various jobs, including working as a parking lot attendant, a lab assistant at DuPont, and a forklift operator at the Chrysler plant in Newark.

Delaware History

Known for its rich colonial heritage, Delaware has played a pivotal role in shaping America's history. From its early beginnings as a Dutch trading post, through its British colonial era, to its vital role in the formation of the United States, Delaware's history is a captivating tale of resilience, innovation, and evolution.

Pre-Colonial History

Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the land that is now Delaware belonged to indigenous tribes, including the Nanticoke, Susquehanna, and Lenni Lenape. Upon the arrival of the Swedish and Dutch, a trading relationship developed between the native people and the European settlers, lasting for nearly 50 years.

Various European nations contended for sole ownership of the Delaware watershed area. The English asserted that the land had been theirs even before the Swedish and Dutch arrived, although they had not settled there. They based their claim on the explorations of John Cabot in 1497 and the efforts of English soldier and colonial governor Captain John Smith. However, in 1631, the Dutch established the settlement of Zwaanendael, known today as Lewes, Delaware, making them the first Europeans to occupy the Delaware region.

Colonial History

The Dutch established the first European settlement in Delaware in 1631, which was later renamed Lewes. However, conflicts with Native Americans led to its destruction. In 1638, the Swedes established a permanent settlement at Fort Christina (now Wilmington), known for America's first log cabins. The Dutch later defeated the Swedes in 1655, and in 1664, the English took control of the colony. Delaware remained under New York's administration until 1682 when it was ceded to William Penn to provide an outlet to the ocean for Pennsylvania. Delaware gained its own assembly in 1704.

During the ownership of the Penn family, Quakers were drawn to northern Delaware due to its proximity to Philadelphia and fertile land. Wilmington was founded by Quaker merchants in 1739. Scotch-Irish immigrants brought Presbyterianism and an emphasis on education. Francis Alison established a school in 1743, laying the foundation for the University of Delaware.
Southern Delaware attracted English settlers from Maryland, and African slaves were introduced for labor. Itinerant Methodist preachers gained followers among the diverse population. Delaware faced British invasions and threats during the American Revolution, and Caesar Rodney's decisive vote for independence became renowned. Delaware's swift ratification of the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787, earned it the distinction of being recognized as "the first state."

Pre-Civil War History

Northern Delaware quickly embraced the water-powered industry, thanks to its swift-flowing rivers and creeks. Quaker-owned mills in Wilmington produced brandywine superfine flour, highly sought after in Europe and the West Indies. E.I. du Pont, trained in chemistry and powder making by Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, established the country's largest and finest black powder factory along Brandywine Creek in 1802. The region also saw the establishment of textile mills, tobacco production, and the country's first continuous-roll paper mill.

Transportation improvements were driven by Wilmington's merchants and millers. Turnpikes were built into the hinterland, and a railroad connecting Wilmington with Baltimore and Philadelphia was established in 1838. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, constructed by Philadelphia merchants to access products from the Susquehanna River valley, was completed in 1826. By 1856, the Delaware Railroad connected Wilmington to Seaford in western Sussex County. Steamboats on the Delaware River played a significant role in the commercial development of agriculture, particularly the cultivation of peaches for urban markets.

During the first half of the 19th century, Delawareans became increasingly divided over the issue of enslavement. Some slave owners, driven by economic and religious reasons, emancipated their slaves, but others stubbornly held onto their bondspeople. Delaware served as a crossroads, with active abolitionists operating the Underground Railroad to help escaped slaves, while some Delawareans illegally captured free Black individuals to sell into slavery in the South. By 1860, the number of slaves in Delaware had decreased to approximately 1,800, while the population of free Black people had grown to around 20,000.

Although President Abraham Lincoln's policy of not recognizing secession did not receive widespread support among Delawareans, the state never seriously considered joining the Confederacy. Moreover, enslavement continued to be allowed in the state, while Delaware’s abolitionist movement continued as well. Many Delawareans favored the Union cause, and individuals from the state served in both the Union and Confederate armies. Although estimates vary, approximately 13,000 residents (including 954 “colored” troops) served in the Civil War, fighting for the Union. A large number of Delawareans also served in Confederate units.

Post Civil War

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, Democratic governments in the Southern states established regimes that promoted white supremacy, including Delaware. In 1866, the Delaware legislature relegated blacks to a second-class status by imposing restrictions on their voting rights, thereby disregarding the Fifteenth Amendment. This allowed the Democrats to maintain their political dominance in the state throughout the majority of the nineteenth century. To reinforce the racial hierarchy, Delaware lawmakers enacted Jim Crow laws after the 1875 Civil Rights Act was passed. These laws mandated racial segregation in public facilities and solidified the state's commitment to white supremacy. Remarkably, even the state constitution contained provisions for segregation, requiring separate schools for white and colored children, despite including a clause that prohibited racial discrimination. During the period of Reconstruction, black schools were established with a combination of private donations and federal funds. However, in 1875, the state reluctantly assumed responsibility for maintaining these schools. The Democrats, who held the majority, implemented a poll tax to suppress black participation in the government. It wasn't until the 1890s, when Republican factions provided financial support to secure voter allegiance and black individuals gained the right to vote, that the Democrats lost their exclusive control over state politics. Nonetheless, segregation persisted in education, housing, and public accommodations until the groundbreaking Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Modern History

During the early 20th century, the Du Pont family exerted a significant influence on Delaware's development. Through their prominent gunpowder company, the DuPont Company, they held sway over the state's growth. By supplying explosives to the United States and its allies during World War I, the company amassed substantial profits. Various members of the du Pont family used their wealth to contribute to the betterment of the state. T. Coleman du Pont spearheaded the construction of the Du Pont Highway, connecting southern Delaware with Wilmington.

The latter half of the 20th century witnessed profound transformations in Delaware. Landmark rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court facilitated the integration of public schools and established fairer representation in the state legislature. Delaware distinguished itself as a leader in environmentalism by enacting the Coastal Zone Act in 1971, aimed at curbing excessive industrialization along the coast. The credit-card banking industry emerged as the primary private employer, replacing the dominance of the chemical industry. 

In 1952, the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled on Gebhart v. Belton, a case that later became part of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, which deemed racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Delaware gradually achieved full integration, though it required considerable time and effort.

People Also Ask...

If you are interested in more information about the state of Delaware, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common FAQs below. Take our quiz, 'How Small Are These Microstates?', to compare your knowledge of microstates to Delaware and other small U.S. states.

What Is the State of Delaware Known For?

The state of Delaware is known for its diverse history and culture, as well as its iconic beaches. It has the oldest legislation in the United States, dating back to 1776 when it was part of Pennsylvania. The state is also known for its place in American industry; it's home to several major companies such as DuPont, AstraZeneca, and Incyte Corporation.

Is Delaware a USA State?

Yes, Delaware is a state of the United States of America. As the first state to sign the U.S. Constitution in 1787, Delaware is known as the “First State” in American history. It is the second smallest state by land area and the sixth most populous state.

What Are 5 Interesting Facts About Delaware?

1. Delaware is the only state without a national park.

2. Wilmington, Delaware is home to America’s oldest continuously operating theater — The Playhouse on Rodney Square.

3. Delaware was the first U.S. state to ratify the Constitution in 1787 and became “the First State” of the United States of America.

4. Dover, Delaware, is known as the “First State Capital” because it was first given that title in 1777 when it became the state capitol of Delaware.

5. Lewes, Delaware, is considered to be one of America’s oldest towns — some evidence suggests that it may have been founded before Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609.

Famous Wyoming Natives and Residents

Richard Allen founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church;
Valerie Bertinelli actress;
Robert Montgomery Bird writer and artist;
Henry S. Canby editor and author;
Annie Jump Cannon astronomer;
Felix Darley artist;

John Dickinson statesman;
E. I. du Pont industrialist;
Oliver Evans inventor;
Thomas Garrett abolitionist;
William Julius "Judy" Johnson baseball player;
J. P. Marquand novelist;

Howard Pyle artist and author;
George Read jurist, signer of Declaration of Independence;
Caesar Rodney patriot, signer of Declaration of Independence;
Estelle Taylor actress

The 50 States of America | U.S. State Information
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