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Delaware /ˈdɛləwɛər/, named after Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. The state, located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, ranks 49th in land area, and 45th in population, but 7th in population density. The highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, in the Brandywine Hundred, does not even rise 450 feet above sea level. Delaware's largest city and economic hub, Wilmington, is located about halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C., within commuting distance of both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.

Delaware quarter, reverse side, 1999.jpg

Before the Dutch established a trading post at Zwaanendael in 1631, the area was home to a number of Eastern Algonquian tribes of Native Americans. Prior to the American Revolution, the territory became known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware", under the control of William Penn and his heirs. Delaware declared its independence from the colony of Pennsylvania and the Kingdom of Great Britain on June 15, 1776. The all night ride of Caesar Rodney to cast the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence is commemorated in the state quarter issued in 1999.

Delaware's largest private employers include Bank of America, DuPont, Christiana Care Health System, JPMorgan Chase, AstraZeneca, Wal-Mart, Mountaire Farms, Dover Downs, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Perdue Farms, Wilmington Trust, and Pepco Holdings. The state's Congressional Delegation includes Democratic Senators Thomas R. Carper and Chris Coons, and Democratic Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Delaware has several National Historic Landmarks and National Wildlife Refuges, along with other botanical gardens, museums, festivals, parks, houses, lighthouses, and historic places.

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Satellite image of Hurricane Isabel

The effects of Hurricane Isabel in Delaware resulted in one of only twelve presidential disaster declarations for the state of Delaware. Hurricane Isabel formed from a tropical wave on September 6, 2003 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved northwestward, and within an environment of light wind shear and warm waters it steadily strengthened to reach peak winds of 165 mph (265 km/h) on September 11. After fluctuating in intensity for four days, Isabel gradually weakened and made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) on September 18. It quickly weakened over land and became extratropical over Pennsylvania the next day. The storm's center remained to the south and west of Delaware, and was about 175 miles (280 km) from Delaware at its closest approach. At that time, Isabel was a strong tropical storm located in central Virginia.

The effects of the hurricane were compounded by flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Henri days before. Moderate winds of up to 62 mph (100 km/h) downed numerous trees, tree limbs, and power lines across the state, leaving at least 15,300 without power. Numerous low-lying areas were flooded due to high surf, strong storm surge, or run-off from flooding further inland. The passage of Hurricane Isabel resulted in $40 million in damage (2003 USD, $44 million 2006 USD) and no casualties in the state.

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On this day...

Did you know?

  • ...that American Indian poet and Delaware-native James Dillet Freeman is referred to as the "poet laureate to the moon"? His 1941 "Prayer for Protection" was taken aboard Apollo 11 in July 1969 by Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and a microfilm of his 1947 "I Am There" was left on the moon by James B. Irwin on Apollo 15.
  • ...that according to a survey by the National Science Foundation, Delaware has more doctoral-level (Ph.D.) scientists and engineers, as a percentage of the population, than any other state? Delaware also has a higher rate of patent awards, per person, than any other state.


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Selected biography

George Read from the Delaware Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery.

George Read (September 18, 1733–September 21, 1798) was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Continental Congressman from Delaware, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, President of Delaware, and a member of the Federalist Party, who served as U.S. Senator from Delaware and Chief Justice of Delaware.

Read was born in 1733 in Cecil County, Maryland, near North East, the son of John and Mary Howell Read. John Read was a wealthy English resident of Dublin, Ireland who came to Maryland as a young man and was one of the founders of Charlestown in Cecil County. When George Read was an infant the family moved to New Castle County, Delaware, settling near the village of Christiana. As he grew up, Read joined Thomas McKean at the Rev. Francis Alison's Academy at New London, Pennsylvania and then studied law in Philadelphia with John Moland. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1753 and a year later he returned home to establish a practice at New Castle.

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Peach delaware.jpg
"Picking Peaches in Delaware" from an 1878 issue of Harper's Weekly.

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