Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, a British nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor, after whom (what is now called) Cape Henlopen was originally named.
Delaware is located in the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula and is the second smallest state in area (after Rhode Island). Estimates in 2007 rank the population of Delaware as 45th in the nation, but 6th in population density, with more than 60% of the population in New Castle County. Delaware is divided into three counties. From north to south, these three counties are New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. While the southern two counties have historically been predominantly agricultural, the New Castle County has been more industrialized. The state ranks second in civilian scientists and engineers as a percentage of the workforce and number of patents issued to companies or individuals per 1,000 workers. The history of the state's economic and industrial development is closely tied to the impact of the Du Pont family, founders and scions of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, one of the world’s largest chemical companies.
Before its coastline was first explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south. It was initially colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, located near the present town of Lewes, in 1631. Delaware was one of the thirteen colonies participating in the American Revolution and on December 7, 1787, became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, therefore becoming known as The First State.
Map of Delaware
The Twelve-Mile Circle
Diagram of the Twelve-Mile Circle, the Mason-Dixon Line and "The Wedge." All blue and white areas are inside Delaware.Delaware is 96 miles (154 km) long and ranges from 9 miles (14 km) to 35 miles (56 km) across, totaling 1,954 square miles (5,060 km2), making it the second-smallest state in the United States after Rhode Island. Delaware is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania; to the east by the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west and south by Maryland. Small portions of Delaware are also situated on the eastern side of the Delaware River sharing land boundaries with New Jersey. The state of Delaware, together with the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and two counties of Virginia, form the Delmarva Peninsula, which stretches down the Mid-Atlantic Coast.
The definition of the northern boundary of the state is highly unusual. Most of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania was originally defined by an arc extending 12 miles (19.3 km) from the cupola of the courthouse in New Castle. This boundary is often referred to as the Twelve-Mile Circle.This is the only nominally circular state boundary in the United States. This border extends all the way east to the low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore, then continues south along the shoreline until it again reaches the twelve-mile arc in the south; then the boundary continues in a more conventional way in the middle of the main channel (thalweg) of the Delaware River. To the west, a portion of the arc extends past the easternmost edge of Maryland. The remaining western border runs slightly east of due south from its intersection with the arc. The Wedge of land between the northwest part of the arc and the Maryland border was claimed by both Delaware and Pennsylvania until 1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed.
Delaware is subdivided into three counties; from north to south they are New Castle, Kent County and Sussex.
Twelve-Mile Circle, The Wedge, Mason-Dixon line, Transpeninsular Line
Delaware is on a level plain, with the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation. Its highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, near Concord High School, does not rise fully 450 feet (140 m) above sea level. The northernmost part of the state is part of the Appalachian Piedmont with hills and rolling surfaces. The fall line approximately follows the Robert Kirkwood Highway between Newark and Wilmington; south of this road is the Atlantic Coastal Plain with flat, sandy, and, in some parts, swampy ground. A ridge about 75 to 80 feet (23 to 24 m) in elevation extends along the western boundary of the state and separates between the watersheds that feed Delaware River and Bay to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to the west.
Since almost all of Delaware is a part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the effects of the ocean moderate its climate. The state is somewhat of a transitional zone between a humid subtropical climate and a continental climate. Despite its small size (roughly 100 miles (160 km) from its northernmost to southernmost points), there is significant variation in mean temperature and amount of snowfall between Sussex County and New Castle County. The southern portion of the state has a somewhat milder climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the state. The transitional climate of Delaware supports a wide variety of vegetation. At Trap Pond State Park in Sussex County, bald cypress grow in what is thought to be the northernmost stand of such trees. The vegetation in New Castle County, on the other hand, is more typical of that of the northeastern United States. All of Delaware has relatively hot, humid summers. While Sussex and Kent Counties are considered to fall in the humid subtropical climate zone, there is some debate about whether northern New Castle County falls in the humid subtropical climate zone or warm continental climate.
History of Delaware
Before Delaware was settled by European colonists, the area was home to the Eastern Algonquian tribes known as the Unami Lenape or Delaware throughout the Delaware valley, and the Nanticoke along the rivers leading into the Chesapeake Bay. The Unami Lenape in the Delaware Valley were closely related to Munsee Lenape tribes along the Hudson River. They had a settled hunting and agricultural society, and they rapidly became middlemen in an increasingly frantic fur trade with their ancient enemy, the Minqua or Susquehannock. With the loss of their lands on the Delaware River and the destruction of the Minqua by the Iroquois of the Five Nations in the 1670s, the remnants of the Lenape left the region and moved over the Alleghany Mountains by the mid-18th 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. Within a year all the settlers were killed in a dispute with area Indian tribes. In 1638 New Sweden, a Swedish trading post and colony, was established at Fort Christina (now in Wilmington) by Peter Minuit at the head of a group of Swedes, Finns and Dutch. Thirteen years later, the Dutch, reinvigorated by the leadership of Peter Stuyvesant, established a new fort in 1651 at present-day New Castle, and in 1655 they took over the New Sweden colony, incorporating it into the Dutch New Netherland.
Only nine years later, in 1664, the Dutch were themselves forcibly removed by a British expedition under the direction of James, the Duke of York. Fighting off a prior claim by Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, Proprietor of Maryland, the Duke passed his somewhat dubious ownership on to William Penn in 1682. Penn strongly desired access to the sea for his Pennsylvania province and leased what then came to be known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware" from the Duke.
Penn established representative government and briefly combined his two possessions under one General Assembly in 1682. However, by 1704 the Province of Pennsylvania had grown so large that their representatives wanted to make decisions without the assent of the Lower Counties and the two groups of representatives began meeting on their own, one at Philadelphia, and the other at New Castle. Penn and his heirs remained proprietors of both and always appointed the same person Governor for their Province of Pennsylvania and their territory of the Lower Counties. The fact that Delaware and Pennsylvania shared the same governor was not unique. During much of the colonial period, New York and New Jersey shared a governor, as did Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Dependent in early years on indentured labor, Delaware imported more slaves as the number of English immigrants decreased with better economic conditions in England. The colony became a slave society and cultivated tobacco as a cash crop. Before the Revolution, it had begun to shift to mixed agriculture.
Like the other middle colonies, the Lower Counties on the Delaware initially showed little enthusiasm for a break with Britain. The citizenry had a good relationship with the Proprietary government, and generally were allowed more independence of action in their Colonial Assembly than in other colonies. Merchants at the port of Wilmington had trading ties with the British. Nevertheless, there was strong objection to the seemingly arbitrary measures of Parliament, and leaders understood that the territory's existence as a separate entity depended upon its keeping step with its powerful neighbors, especially Pennsylvania.
So it was that New Castle lawyer Thomas McKean denounced the Stamp Act in the strongest terms, and Kent County native John Dickinson became the "Penman of the Revolution." Anticipating the Declaration of Independence, Patriot leaders Thomas McKean and Caesar Rodney convinced the Colonial Assembly to declare itself separated from British and Pennsylvania rule on June 15, 1776. The person best representing Delaware's majority, George Read, could not bring himself to vote for a Declaration of Independence. Only the dramatic overnight ride of Caesar Rodney gave the delegation the votes needed to cast Delaware's vote for independence. Once the Declaration was adopted, however, Read signed the document.
Initially led by John Haslet, Delaware provided one of the premier regiments in the Continental Army, known as the "Delaware Blues" and nicknamed the "Blue Hen Chickens." In August 1777, General Sir William Howe led a British army through Delaware on his way to a victory at the Battle of Brandywine and capture of the city of Philadelphia. The only real engagement on Delaware soil was the Battle of Cooch's Bridge, fought on September 3, 1777, at Cooch's Bridge in New Castle County. It is believed to be the first time that the Stars and Stripes was flown in battle.
Following the Battle of Brandywine, Wilmington was occupied by the British, and State President John McKinly was taken prisoner. The British remained in control of the Delaware River for much of the rest of the war, disrupting commerce and providing encouragement to an active Loyalist portion of the population, particularly in Sussex County. Because the British promised slaves of rebels freedom for fighting with them, escaped slaves flocked north to join their lines.Only the repeated military actions of State President Caesar Rodney were able to harass the British.
Following the American Revolution, statesmen from Delaware were among the leading proponents of a strong central United States with equal representation for each state. Once the Connecticut Compromise was reached—creating a U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives—the leaders in Delaware were able to easily secure ratification of the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787, making Delaware the first state to do so.
Slavery and race
Many colonial settlers came to Delaware from Maryland and Virginia, which had been experiencing a population boom. The economies of these colonies were chiefly based on tobacco culture and were increasingly dependent on slave labor for its intensive cultivation. Most of the English colonists arrived as indentured servants, hiring themselves out as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage. In the early years the line between indentured servants and African slaves or laborers was fluid. Most of the free African-American families in Delaware before the Revolution had migrated from Maryland to find more affordable land. They were descendants chiefly of relationships or marriages between servant women and enslaved, servant or free African or African-American men. As the flow of indentured laborers to the colony decreased with improving economic conditions in England, more slaves were imported for labor.
At the end of the colonial period, the number of enslaved people in Delaware began to decline. Shifts in the agriculture economy from tobacco to mixed farming created less need for slaves' labor. Local Methodists and Quakers encouraged slaveholders to free their slaves following the American Revolution, and many did so in a surge of individual manumissions for idealistic reasons. By 1810 three-quarters of all blacks in Delaware were free. When John Dickinson freed his slaves in 1777, he was Delaware's largest slave owner with 37 slaves. By 1860 the largest slaveholder owned only 16 slaves.
Although attempts to abolish slavery failed by narrow margins in the legislature, in practical terms, the state had mostly ended the practice. By the 1860 census on the verge of the Civil War, 91.7 percent of the black population, or nearly 20,000 people, were free.
The first independent black denomination was chartered by freed slave Peter Spencer in 1813 as the "Union Church of Africans." This followed the 1793 establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, which had ties to the Methodist Episcopal Church until 1816. Spencer built a church in Wilmington for the new denomination.This was renamed the African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church and Connection, more commonly known as the A.U.M.P. Church. Begun by Spencer in 1814, the annual gathering of the Big August Quarterly still draws people together in a religious and cultural festival, the oldest such cultural festival in the nation.
At the onset of the Civil War, Delaware was only nominally a slave state, and it remained in the Union. Delaware voted against secession on January 3, 1861. As the governor said, Delaware had been the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the Constitution and would be the last to leave it. While most Delaware citizens who fought in the war served in the regiments of the state, some served in companies on the Confederate side in Maryland and Virginia Regiments. Delaware is notable for being the only slave state from which no Confederate regiments or militia groups were assembled. It did not free its slaves until forced to by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865.
Census Pop. %±
1790 59,096 —
1800 64,273 8.8%
1810 72,674 13.1%
1820 72,749 0.1%
1830 76,748 5.5%
1840 78,085 1.7%
1850 91,532 17.2%
1860 112,216 22.6%
1870 125,015 11.4%
1880 146,608 17.3%
1890 168,493 14.9%
1900 184,735 9.6%
1910 202,322 9.5%
1920 223,003 10.2%
1930 238,380 6.9%
1940 266,505 11.8%
1950 318,085 19.4%
1960 446,292 40.3%
1970 548,104 22.8%
1980 594,338 8.4%
1990 666,168 12.1%
2000 783,600 17.6%
Est. 2009 885,122 13.0%
Delaware Population Density MapDemographics of Delaware (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 77.65% 20.28% 0.79% 2.43% 0.09%
2000 (Hispanic only) 4.10% 0.59% 0.12% 0.04% 0.02%
2005 (total population) 76.01% 21.51% 0.79% 3.01% 0.09%
2005 (Hispanic only) 5.39% 0.58% 0.14% 0.04% 0.02%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 5.37% 14.20% 7.91% 33.58% 12.73%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 3.36% 14.46% 4.94% 34.00% 15.17%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 41.33% 5.47% 24.81% 8.81% 2.86%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
The five largest ancestries in Delaware are: African American (19.2%), Irish (16.6%), German (14.3%), English (12.1%), Italian (9.3%). Delaware has the highest proportion of African-American residents of any state north of Maryland, and had the largest percentage of free blacks (17% of the state's total population) prior to the Civil War.
Delaware is the sixth most densely populated state, with a population density of 442.6 people per square mile, 356.4 per square mile more than the national average, and ranking 45th in population. Only the states of Delaware, West Virginia, Vermont, Maine, and Wyoming do not have a single city with a population over 100,000 as of the 2007 census.The center of population of Delaware is located in New Castle County, in the town of Townsend.
As of 2000, 90.5% of Delaware residents age 5 and older speak only English at home; 4.7% speak Spanish. French is the third most spoken language at 0.7%, followed by Chinese at 0.5% and German at 0.5%.
Legislation had been proposed in both the House and the Senate in Delaware to designate English as the official language.Neither bill was passed the legislature.
The religious affiliations of the people of Delaware are:
Methodist – 20%
Baptist – 19%
No Religion – 17%
Roman Catholic – 9%
Lutheran – 4%
Presbyterian – 3%
Pentecostal – 3%
Episcopalian/Anglican - 2%
Seventh-day Adventist - 2%
Churches of Christ - 1%
Other Christian – 3%
Muslim - 2%
Jewish - 1%
Other – 5%
Refused - 9%
(source: American Religious Identification Survey, City University of New York)
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware oversee the parishes within their denominations. The A.U.M.P. Church, the oldest African-American denomination in the nation, was founded in Wilmington. It still has a substantial presence in the state. Reflecting new immigrant populations, an Islamic mosque has been built in the Ogletown area, and a Hindu temple in Hockessin.
Delaware's population includes approximately 20,000 Jewish Americans, who are served by the Jewish Community Center in Brandywine (near Wilmington) and by a number of educational, social and cultural agencies supported by the Jewish Federation of Delaware. Synagogues include Congregation Beth Emeth (Reform) in Wilmington, Congregation Beth El (Reconstructionist) in Newark, Congregation Beth Shalom (Conservative) in Wilmington, Congregation Beth Sholom (Conservative) in Dover, and Adas Kodesh Shel Emeth (Traditional) in Wilmington. Seaside Jewish Community in Rehoboth Beach (unaffiliated) There is also a Lubavitcher community center and synagogue in Brandywine Hundred.
"Picking Peaches in Delaware" from an 1878 issue of Harper's WeeklyThe gross state product of Delaware in 2003 was $49 billion. The per capita personal income was $34,199, ranking 9th in the nation. In 2005, the average weekly wage was $937, ranking 7th in the nation.
Delaware's agricultural output consists of poultry, nursery stock, soybeans, dairy products and corn. Its industrial outputs include chemical products, automobiles, processed foods, paper products, and rubber and plastic products. Delaware's economy generally outperforms the national economy of the United States.
The state's largest employers are:
government (State of Delaware, New Castle County)
education (University of Delaware)
banking (Bank of America, Wilmington Trust, First USA / Bank One / JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays plc)
chemical and pharmaceutical companies (E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Syngenta, AstraZeneca, and Hercules, Inc.)
healthcare (Christiana Care Health System, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children)
automotive manufacturing (Fisker Automotive)
farming, specifically chicken farming in Sussex County (Perdue Farms, Mountaire Farms, Allen Family Foods)
The Dover Air Force Base, located next to the state capital of Dover, is one of the largest Air Force bases in the country and is a major employer in Delaware. In addition to its other responsibilities in the USAF Air Mobility Command, this air base serves as the entry point and mortuary for American military personnel, and some U.S. government civilians, who die overseas.
Delaware has six different income tax brackets, ranging from 2.2% to 5.95%. The state does not assess sales tax on consumers. The state does, however, impose a tax on the gross receipts of most businesses. Business and occupational license tax rates range from 0.096% to 1.92%, depending on the category of business activity.
Delaware does not assess a state-level tax on real or personal property. Real estate is subject to county property taxes, school district property taxes, vocational school district taxes, and, if located within an incorporated area, municipal property taxes.
Over 50% of US publicly traded corporations and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware;the state's attractiveness as a corporate haven is largely because of its business-friendly corporation law. Franchise taxes on Delaware corporations supply about one-fifth of its state revenue.Although Delaware is ranked first tax haven in the world by Tax Justice Network, it is not listed on the OECD's 2009 "Black List", despite objections of Luxembourg's and Switzerland's authorities.
Title 4, chapter 7 of the Delaware Code stipulates that alcoholic liquor only be sold in specifically licensed establishments, and only between 9:00 AM and 1:00 AM.
The current state license plate design was introduced in 1959, making it the longest-running license plate design in United States history.The transportation system in Delaware is under the governance and supervision of the Delaware Department of Transportation, also known as "DelDOT". DelDOT manages programs such as a Delaware Adopt-a-Highway program, major road route snow removal, traffic control infrastructure (signs and signals), toll road management, Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, the Delaware Transit Corporation (branded as "DART First State", the state government public transportation organization), among others. Almost ninety percent of the state's public roadway miles are under the direct maintenance of DelDOT which far exceeds the United States national average of twenty percent for state department of transportation maintenance responsibility; the remaining public road miles are under the supervision of individual municipalities.
Further information: List of numbered routes in Delaware
Delaware Route 1, a toll road linking Dover and Wilmington.One major branch of the U.S. Interstate Highway System, Interstate 95, crosses Delaware southwest-to-northeast across New Castle County. In addition to I-95, there are six U.S. highways that serve Delaware: U.S. Route 9, U.S. Route 13, U.S. Route 40, U.S. Route 113, U.S. Route 202, and U.S. Route 301. There are also several state highways that cross the state of Delaware; a few of them include Delaware Route 1, Delaware Route 9, and Delaware Route 404. U.S. 13 and DE Rt 1 are primary north-south highways connecting Wilmington and Pennsylvania with Maryland, with DE 1 serving as the main route between Wilmington and the Delaware beaches. DE Rt. 9 is a north-south highway connecting Dover and Wilmington via a scenic route along the Delaware Bay. U.S. 40, is a primary east-west route, connecting Maryland with New Jersey. DE Rt. 404 is another primary east-west highway connecting the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland with the Delaware beaches. The state also operates two toll highways, the Delaware Turnpike, which is Interstate 95, between Maryland and New Castle and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, which is DE Rt. 1, between Wilmington and Dover.
A bicycle route, Delaware Bicycle Route 1, spans the north-south length of the state from the Maryland border in Fenwick Island to the Pennsylvania border north of Montchanin. It is the first of several signed bike routes planned in Delaware.
Delaware has around 1,450 bridges, ninety-five percent of which are under the supervision of DelDOT. About thirty percent of all Delaware bridges were built prior to 1950 and about sixty percent of the number are included in the National Bridge Inventory. Some bridges not under DelDOT supervision includes the four bridges on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which is under the bi-state Delaware River and Bay Authority.
There are three ferries that operate in the state of Delaware:
Cape May-Lewes Ferry crosses the mouth of the Delaware Bay between Lewes, Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey.
Woodland Ferry is a cable ferry that crosses the Nanticoke River southwest of Seaford.
Three Forts Ferry Crossing connects Delaware City with Fort Delaware and Fort Mott in New Jersey
Rail and bus
A Norfolk Southern locomotive in Dover.Amtrak has two stations in Delaware along the Northeast Corridor; the relatively quiet Newark Rail Station in Newark, and the busier Wilmington Rail Station in Wilmington. The Northeast Corridor is also served by SEPTA's R2 Regional Rail line, which serves Claymont, Wilmington, Churchmans Crossing, and Newark. The major freight railroad in Delaware is the Class 1 Norfolk Southern, which provides service to most of Delaware. It connects with two shortline railroads, the Delaware Coast Line Railway and the Maryland & Delaware Railroad. These two shortlines serve local customers in Sussex County. Another Class 1 railroad, CSX, passes through northern New Castle County parallel to the Amtrak Northeast Corridor.
The public transportation system, DART First State, was named "Most Outstanding Public Transportation System" in 2003 by the American Public Transportation Association. Coverage of the system is broad within northern New Castle County with close association to major highways in Kent and Sussex Counties. The system includes bus, subsidized passenger rail operated by Philadelphia transit agency SEPTA, and subsidized taxi and paratransit modes, the latter consisting of a state-wide door-to-door bus service for the elderly and disabled.
Delaware is the only state in the United States without commercial air service. New Castle Airport near Wilmington has been served by commercial airlines in the past, the last being Skybus Airlines, which provided service to Columbus, Ohio and Greensboro, North Carolina from March 7, 2008 until its bankruptcy on April 5, 2008.
Delaware is centrally situated in the Northeast Corridor region of cities along US Interstate 95 I-95. Therefore, Delaware commercial airline passengers most frequently use Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) for domestic and international transit. Residents of Sussex County will also use Wicomico Regional Airport, as it is located less than 10 miles from the Delaware border. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) are also within a 100 mile radius of New Castle County.
The large Dover Air Force Base of the USAF Air Mobility Command is located in the central part of the state, and it is the home of the 436th Airlift Wing and the 512th Airlift Wing.
Other general aviation airports in Delaware include Summit Airport near Middletown, Delaware Airpark near Cheswold, and Sussex County Airport near Georgetown.
Law and government
Delaware's fourth and current constitution, adopted in 1897, provides for executive, judicial and legislative branches.
The Delaware General Assembly consists of a House of Representatives with 41 members and a Senate with 21 members. It sits in Dover, the state capital. Representatives are elected to two-year terms, while senators are elected to four-year terms. The Senate confirms judicial and other nominees appointed by the governor.
Delaware's U.S. Senators are Edward Kaufman (Democrat) and Thomas R. Carper (Democrat). Delaware's single U.S. Representative is Michael N. Castle (Republican).
The Delaware Constitution establishes a number of courts:
The Delaware Supreme Court is the state's highest court.
The Delaware Superior Court is the state's trial court of general jurisdiction.
The Delaware Court of Chancery deals primarily in corporate disputes.
The Family Court handles domestic and custody matters.
The Delaware Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction over a limited class of civil and criminal matters.
Minor non-constitutional courts include the Justice of the Peace Courts and Aldermen's Courts.
Significantly, Delaware has one of the few remaining Courts of Chancery in the nation, which has jurisdiction over equity cases, the vast majority of which are corporate disputes, many relating to mergers and acquisitions. The Court of Chancery and the Supreme Court have developed a worldwide reputation for rendering concise opinions concerning corporate law which generally (but not always) grant broad discretion to corporate boards of directors and officers. In addition, the Delaware General Corporation Law, which forms the basis of the Courts' opinions, is widely regarded as giving great flexibility to corporations to manage their affairs. For these reasons, Delaware is considered to have the most business-friendly legal system in the United States; therefore a great number of companies are incorporated in Delaware, including 60% of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Delaware was the last US state to use judicial corporal punishment, in 1952.
See also: List of Governors of Delaware
The executive branch is headed by the Governor of Delaware. The present governor is Jack A. Markell (Democrat), who took office January 20, 2009. The lieutenant governor is Matthew P. Denn. The governor presents a "State of the State" speech to a joint session of the Delaware legislature annually.
Delaware has three counties: Kent County, New Castle County, and Sussex County. Each county elects its own legislative body (known in New Castle and Sussex counties as County Council, and in Kent County as Levy Court), which deal primarily in zoning and development issues. Most functions which are handled on a county-by-county basis in other states — such as court and law enforcement — have been centralized in Delaware, leading to a significant concentration of power in the Delaware state government. The counties were historically divided into hundreds, which were used as tax reporting and voting districts until the 1960s, but now serve no administrative role, their only current official legal use being in real-estate title descriptions.
Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic
2008 37.37% 152,356 62.63% 255,394
2004 45.75% 171,660 53.35% 200,152
2000 41.90% 137,288 54.96% 180,068
1996 36.58% 99,062 51.82% 140,955
1992 35.33% 102,313 43.52% 126,054
1988 55.88% 139,639 43.48% 108,647
1984 59.78% 152,190 39.93% 101,656
1980 47.21% 111,252 44.87% 105,754
1976 46.57% 109,831 51.98% 122,596
1972 59.60% 140,357 39.18% 92,283
1968 45.12% 96,714 41.61% 89,194
1964 38.78% 78,078 60.95% 122,704
1960 49.00% 96,373 50.63% 99,590
The Democratic Party holds a plurality of registrations in Delaware. Until the 2000 presidential election, the state tended to be a Presidential bellwether, sending its three electoral votes to the winning candidate for almost 50 years in a row. Bucking that trend, however, in 2000 and again in 2004, Delaware voted for the Democratic candidate. In the 2000 election Delaware voted with the winner of the popular vote, Al Gore, who subsequently lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush. John Kerry won Delaware by eight percentage points with 53.5% of the vote in 2004. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Delaware 62.63% to 37.37%. Obama's running mate was Joe Biden, who had represented Delaware in the United States Senate since 1973.
Historically, the Republican Party had an immense influence on Delaware politics, due in large part to the wealthy du Pont family. Ralph Nader assembled a working group to investigate ties between Delaware's politicians and industrialists, resulting in a book published in 1968 entitled The Company State. As DuPont's political influence has declined, so has that of the Delaware Republican Party. Democrats have won the past four gubernatorial elections and currently hold seven of the nine statewide elected offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General, and two U.S. Senators), while the Republicans hold the remaining two (the state's at-large House seat and the office of Auditor).
The Democratic Party gains most of its votes from developed New Castle County, whereas the less populated Kent and Sussex Counties generally vote Republican.
See also: United States presidential election, 2004, in Delaware and Political party strength in Delaware
Wilmington is the state's largest city and its economic hub. It is located within commuting distance of both Philadelphia and Baltimore. All regions of Delaware are enjoying phenomenal growth, with Dover and the beach resorts expanding at a rapid rate.
Further information: List of Delaware municipalities
Dover Base Housing
Top 10 richest places in Delaware
Ranked by per capita income
Henlopen Acres: $82,091
South Bethany: $53,624
Dewey Beach: $51,958
Fenwick Island: $44,415
Bethany Beach: $41,306
North Star: $39,677
Rehoboth Beach: $38,494
Further information: Delaware locations by per capita income
Delaware was the origin of Belton v. Gebhart, one of the four cases which was combined into Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court of the United States decision that led to the end of segregated public schools. Significantly, Belton was the only case in which the state court found for the plaintiffs, thereby ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.
Unlike many states, Delaware's educational system is centralized in a state Superintendent of Education, with local school boards retaining control over taxation and some curriculum decisions.
A "three-tiered diploma" system fostered by Governor Ruth Ann Minner, which awarded "basic," "standard," and "distinguished" high-school diplomas based on a student's performance in the Delaware Student Testing Program, was discontinued by the General Assembly after many Delawareans questioned its fairness.
Colleges and universities
Delaware College of Art and Design
Delaware State University
Delaware Technical & Community College
Drexel University at Wilmington
University of Delaware
Widener University School of Law
There are no network broadcast-television stations operating solely in Delaware. A local PBS station from Philadelphia (but licensed to Wilmington), WHYY-TV, maintains a studio and broadcasting facility in Wilmington and Dover, while ION Television affiliate WPPX is licensed to Wilmington, but for all intents and purposes, maintains their offices in Philadelphia and their digital transmitter outside of that city and an analog tower in New Jersey. Philadelphia's ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV, maintains a news bureau in downtown Wilmington. The northern part of the state is served by network stations in Philadelphia and the southern part by network stations in Baltimore and Salisbury, Maryland. Salisbury's CBS affiliate, WBOC-TV, maintains bureaus in Dover and Milton.
While Delaware has no places designated as national parks, national seashores, national battlefields, national memorials, or national monuments, it does have several museums, wildlife refuges, parks, houses, lighthouses, and other historic places. Delaware is home to the second longest twin span suspension bridge in the world, the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Rehoboth Beach, together with the towns of Lewes, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island, comprise Delaware's beach resorts. Rehoboth Beach often bills itself as "The Nation's Summer Capital" because it is a frequent summer vacation destination for Washington, D.C., residents as well as visitors from Maryland, Virginia, and in lesser numbers, Pennsylvania. Vacationers are drawn for many reasons, including the town's charm, artistic appeal, nightlife, and tax free shopping.
Delaware is home to several festivals, fairs, and events. Some of the more notable festivals are the Riverfest held in Seaford, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin held at various locations throughout the county since 1986, the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral to mark the end of summer, the Apple Scrapple Festival held in Bridgeville, the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, the Sea Witch Halloween Festival and Parade in Rehoboth Beach, the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival the Nanticoke Indian Pow Wow in Oak Orchard, and the Return Day Parade held after every election in Georgetown.
Club Sport League
Wilmington Blue Rocks Baseball Minor League Baseball
Delaware Griffins Football Women's Professional Football League
Central Delaware SA Future Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League
Delaware Dynasty Soccer USL Premier Development League
Wilmington City Ruff Rollers Roller Derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Delaware Destroyers Basketball Eastern Basketball Alliance
In place of in-state professional sports teams, many Delawareans follow either Philadelphia or Baltimore teams, depending on their location within the state, with Philadelphia teams receiving the largest fan following, though before the Baltimore Ravens entered the NFL, the Washington Redskins had a significant fan base in Sussex County and the Baltimore Colts had a significant fan base in northern counties. In addition, the University of Delaware's football team has a loyal following throughout the state, with Delaware State University's team enjoying popularity on a much lesser scale.
Delaware is home to Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs. DIS, also known as the Monster Mile, hosts two NASCAR races each year. Dover Downs is a popular harness racing facility. In what may be the only co-located horse and car-racing facility in the nation, the Dover Downs track is located inside the DIS track.
Delaware has been home to professional wrestling outfit CZW, particularly the annual Tournament of Death, and ECWA, particularly the annual Super 8 Tournament.
Delaware is home to the Diamond State Games, an amateur Olympic-style sports festival. The event is open to athletes of all ages and is also open to residents beyond the borders of Delaware. The Diamond State Games were created in 2001 and participation levels average roughly 2500 per year in twelve contested sports.
Delaware is home to Michael Stewart, a boxer who was on the second season of The Contender. He is a former USBA Light Welterweight Champion and a former WBU and IBF contender having notable fights with Sharmba Mitchell and Ricky Hatton. Clearance Taylor is a former WBC USNBC Super Welterweight Champion. Larry Marks once fought Cory Spinks on an undercard at an HBO event.
Delaware Native Americans
Delaware is also the name of a Native American group (called in their own language Lenni Lenape) that was influential in the colonial period of the United States. A band of the Nanticoke tribe of American Indians resides in Sussex County.