DELAWARE (/ˈdɛləwɛər/ ( listen )) is a state located in the
Mid-Atlantic or Northeastern regions of the
United States . It is
bordered to the south and west by
Maryland , to the northeast by New
Jersey , and to the north by
Pennsylvania . The state takes its name
Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr , an English nobleman and
Virginia 's first colonial governor.
Delaware occupies the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula
and is the second smallest , the sixth least populous , but the sixth
most densely populated of the 50 United States.
Delaware is divided
into three counties , the lowest number of counties of any state. From
north to south, the three counties are New Castle , Kent , and Sussex
. While the southern two counties have historically been predominantly
agricultural, New Castle County has been more industrialized.
Before its coastline was explored by
Europeans in the 16th century,
Delaware was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans,
Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south. It was
initially colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael , near the present
town of Lewes , in 1631.
Delaware was one of the 13 colonies
participating in the
American Revolution . On December 7, 1787,
Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the
United States , and has since promoted itself as "The First State".
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Geography
* 2.1 Topography
* 2.2 Climate
* 2.3 Environment
* 2.4 Environmental management
* 3 History
* 3.1 Native
* 3.2 Colonial
* 3.4 Slavery and race
* 4 Demographics
* 4.1 Ancestry
* 4.2 Languages
* 4.3 Religion
* 4.4 Sexual orientation
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Affluence
* 5.2 Agriculture
* 5.3 Industries
* 5.3.1 Recent departures
* 5.4 Incorporation in
* 5.5 Food and drink
* 6 Transportation
* 6.1 Roads
* 6.2 Ferries
* 6.3 Rail and bus
* 6.4 Air
* 7 Law and government
* 7.1 Legislative branch
* 7.2 Judicial branch
* 7.3 Executive branch
* 7.4 Counties
* 7.5 Politics
* 7.6 Freedom of information
* 7.7 Government revenue
* 7.8 Voter Registration
* 8 Municipalities
* 8.1 Counties
* 8.2 Cities
* 8.3 Towns
* 8.4 Towns (cont.)
* 8.5 Villages
* 8.6 Unincorporated places
* 8.7 Ten wealthiest places in
* 9 Education
* 9.1 Colleges and universities
* 10 Sister cities and states
* 11 Media
* 11.1 Television
* 12 Tourism
* 13 Culture and entertainment
* 13.1 Festivals
* 13.2 Sports
* 15 Namesakes
* 16 Delawareans
* 17 See also
* 18 Notes
* 19 References
* 20 Bibliography
* 21 External links
The state was named after the
Delaware River , which in turn derived
its name from
Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1577–1618) who was
the ruling governor of the Colony of
Virginia at the time Europeans
first explored the river. The
Delaware Indians , a name used by
Lenape people indigenous to the
Delaware Valley, also
derive their name from the same source.
The surname de La Warr comes from
Sussex and is of Anglo-Norman
origin. It came probably from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre. This
toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern
or from the
Late Latin varectum (fallow ). The toponyms Gara, Gare,
Gaire (the sound often mutated in ) also appear in old texts cited
Lucien Musset , where the word ga(i)ra means gore . It could also
be linked with a patronymic from the Old Norse verr.
Twelve-Mile Circle ,
Wedge (border) , Mason–Dixon
Line , and
Transpeninsular Line See also: "Counties" section below
Twelve-Mile Circle Diagram of the
Twelve-Mile Circle, the Mason–Dixon line and "The Wedge ". All blue
and white areas are inside Delaware. The Blackbird Pond on the
Blackbird State Forest Meadows Tract in
New Castle County, Delaware
A field north of Fox Den Rd., along the
Lenape Trail in Middle Run
Valley Natural Area . Sunset in Woodbrook, New Castle County,
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
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
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
Virginia , form the
Delmarva Peninsula , which stretches down the
The definition of the northern boundary of the state is unusual. Most
of the boundary between
Pennsylvania was originally
defined by an arc extending 12 miles (19.3 km) from the cupola of the
courthouse in the city of 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 12-mile (19 km) 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
1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed.
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 , doesn't quite reach 450 feet (140
m) above sea level. The northernmost part of the state is part of the
Piedmont Plateau with hills and rolling surfaces. The Atlantic
Seaboard 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 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 lies in the
humid subtropical climate zone. 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
Sussex County and New Castle County. Moderated by the Atlantic
Delaware Bay, the southern portion of the state has a milder
climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the
state. Delaware's all-time record high of 110 °F (43 °C) was
recorded at Millsboro on July 21, 1930. The all-time record low of
−17 °F (−27 °C) was also recorded at Millsboro on January 17,
The transitional climate of
Delaware supports a wide variety of
vegetation. In the northern third of the state are found Northeastern
coastal forests and mixed oak forests typical of the northeastern
United States. In the southern two-thirds of the state are found
Middle Atlantic coastal forests .
Trap Pond State Park , along with
areas in other parts of
Sussex County, for example, support the
northernmost stands of bald cypress trees in
North America .
Delaware provides government subsidy support for the clean-up of
property "lightly contaminated" by hazardous waste , the proceeds for
which come from a tax on wholesale petroleum sales.
History of Delaware
Delaware was settled by European colonists, the area was home
to the Eastern Algonquian tribes known as the Unami
Lenape or Delaware
Delaware valley, and the Nanticoke along the rivers
leading into the
Chesapeake Bay . The Unami
Lenape in the Delaware
Valley were closely related to
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
Iroquois of the Five Nations in the 1670s, the remnants of the
Lenape who wished to remain identified as such left the region and
moved over the
Alleghany Mountains by the mid-18th century. Generally,
those who did not relocate out of the state of
Delaware were baptized,
became Christian and were grouped together with other persons of color
in official records and in the minds of their non-Native American
New Sweden – encounter between Swedish colonists and the
natives of Delaware.
The Dutch were the first
Europeans to settle in present-day Delaware
in the middle region 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 Native American 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. The colony of
New Sweden lasted for 17
years. In 1651 the Dutch, reinvigorated by the leadership of Peter
Stuyvesant , established a fort at present-day New Castle , and in
1655 they conquered the
New Sweden colony, annexing it into the Dutch
New Netherland . Only nine years later, in 1664, the Dutch were
conquered by a fleet of English ships by Sir Robert Carr under the
direction of James, the Duke of York . Fighting off a prior claim by
Cecil 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
the same governor was not unique. From 1703 to 1738 New York and New
Jersey shared a governor.
New Hampshire also shared
a governor for some time.
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, although English immigrants
continued to arrive.
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.
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
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.
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\'s Chicks ." In August 1777 General Sir
William Howe led a British army through
Delaware on his way to a
victory at the
Battle of Brandywine
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.
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.
American Revolution , statesmen from
among the leading proponents of a strong central
United States with
equal representation for each state.
SLAVERY AND RACE
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Many colonial settlers came to
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 , under contracts to
work 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, and the working classes often lived closely
together. 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 white 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 and the caste lines hardened.
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 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% of
the black population were free; 1,798 were slaves, as compared to
19,829 "free colored persons".
The 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
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.
Delaware voted against secession on January 3, 1861, and so remained
in the Union. 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
notable for being the only slave state from which no Confederate
regiments or militia groups were assembled.
Delaware essentially freed
the few slaves that were still in bondage shortly after the Civil War,
but rejected the 13th , 14th , and 15th Amendments to the
Constitution; the 13th Amendment was rejected on February 8, 1865, the
14th Amendment was rejected on February 8, 1867, and the 15th
Amendment was rejected on March 18, 1869.
Delaware officially ratified
the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments on February 12, 1901.
Delaware population density map
United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of
Delaware was 952,065 people on July 1, 2016, a 6.0% increase since the
United States Census .
According to the 2010
United States Census,
Delaware had a population
of 897,934 people. The racial composition of the state was:
White American (65.3%
Non-Hispanic White , 3.6% White
* 21.4% Black or African American
* 0.5% American Indian and
Native Hawaiian and other
* 3.4% some other race
Ethnically, Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 8.2% of the
DELAWARE RACIAL BREAKDOWN OF POPULATION
Native Hawaiian and
Pacific Islander –
Two or more races
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.
one of five states that do not have a single city with a population
over 100,000 as of the 2010 census, the other four being West
Maine and Wyoming. The center of population of
Delaware is located in New Castle County, in the town of Townsend .
As of 2011, 49.7% of Delaware's population younger than one year of
age belonged to minority groups (i.e., did not have two parents of
non-Hispanic white ancestry). In 2000 approximately 19% of the
population were African-American and 5% of the population is Hispanic
(mostly of Puerto Rican or Mexican ancestry).
The largest European ancestry groups in
Delaware are, according to
2012 Census Bureau estimates:
* Irish 18.1%
* German 15.6%
* English 11.7%
* Italian 10.0%
* Polish 4.8%
* American 4.5%
* French 2.5%
* Scottish 1.8%
Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted
both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall
Live Births by Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Hispanic (of any race)
As of 2000 91% of
Delaware residents age 5 and older speak only
English at home; 5% 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 in the legislature.
The religious affiliations of the people of
Methodist – 20%
Baptist – 19%
* No religion – 17%
* Roman Catholic – 9%
* Lutheran – 4%
* Presbyterian – 5%
* Pentecostal – 3%
* Episcopalian/Anglican – 2%
* Seventh-day Adventist – 2%
Churches of Christ – 1%
* Other Christian – 3%
* Muslim – 2%
* Jewish – 1%
* Other – 5%
* Refused – 9%
As of the year 2010, The Association of Religion Data Archives
reported that the three largest denominational groups in
number of adherents are the
Catholic Church at 182,532 adherents, the
Methodist Church with 53,656 members reported, and
Evangelical Protestant with 22,973 adherents
reported. The religious body with the largest number of congregations
is the United
Methodist Church (with 158 congregations) followed by
Evangelical Protestant (with 106 congregations),
Catholic Church (with 45 congregations).
Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
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 is home to an
Amish community that resides to the west of
Dover in Kent County .
A 2012 survey of religious attitudes in the
United States found that
Delaware residents considered themselves "moderately
religious," 33% "very religious," and 33% as "non-religious."
A 2012 Gallup poll found that Delaware's proportion of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender adults stood at 3.4 percent of the
population. This constitutes a total LGBT adult population estimate of
23,698 people. The number of same-sex couple households in 2010 stood
at 2,646. This grew by 41.65% from a decade earlier. On July 1,
2013, same-sex marriage was legalized, and all civil unions would be
converted into marriages.
Delaware locations by per capita income For taxes, see §
Government revenue .
Average sale price for new "> "Picking Peaches in Delaware" from
an 1878 issue of Harper\'s Weekly
Delaware's agricultural output consists of poultry, nursery stock,
soybeans , dairy products and corn .
As of October 2015, the state's unemployment rate was 5.1%.
The state's largest employers are:
* government (State of Delaware, New Castle County)
* education (
University of Delaware ,
Delaware Technical & Community
* banking (
Bank of America
Bank of America ,
M&T Bank ,
JPMorgan Chase ,
Deutsche Bank )
* chemical, pharmaceutical, technology (E.I. du Pont de Nemours &
Agilent Technologies )
* healthcare (
Christiana Care Health System , Bayhealth Medical
Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children )
* farming, specifically chicken farming in
Sussex County (Perdue
Farms , Mountaire Farms,
Allen Family Foods )
* retail (
Acme Markets )
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
United States Air Force
Air Mobility Command
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.
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The recent merger of E.I. du Pont de Nemours "> 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". Funding for DelDOT projects is drawn, in part, from the
Delaware Transportation Trust Fund, established in 1987 to help
stabilize transportation funding; the availability of the Trust led to
a gradual separation of DelDOT operations from other
operations. 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,
Division of Motor Vehicles , the
Delaware Transit Corporation
(branded as "
DART First State ", the state government public
transportation organization), among others. In 2009, DelDOT maintained
13,507 lane miles of roads, totaling 89 percent of the state's public
roadway system; the remaining public road miles are under the
supervision of individual municipalities. This far exceeds the United
States national average of 20 percent for state department of
transportation maintenance responsibility.
The "DART First State" public transportation system 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 paratransit
system, consisting of a statewide door-to-door bus service for the
elderly and disabled, has been described by a
Delaware state report as
"the most generous paratransit system in the United States." As of
2012 , fees for the paratransit service have not changed since 1988.
Delaware State Route System
1 (DE 1), a partial toll road linking Fenwick Island and Wilmington .
One major branch of the U.S.
Interstate Highway System , Interstate
95 (I-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 (US 9), US 13 , US 40 , US 113 , US 202 , and
US 301 . There are also several state highways that cross the state of
Delaware; a few of them include
Delaware Route 1 (DE 1), DE 9 , and DE
404 . US 13 and DE 1 are primary north-south highways connecting
Pennsylvania with Maryland, with DE 1 serving as the
main route between Wilmington and the
Delaware beaches . DE 9 is a
north-south highway connecting Dover and Wilmington via a scenic route
Delaware Bay . US 40, is a primary east-west route,
Maryland with New Jersey. DE 404 is another primary
east-west highway connecting the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland
Delaware beaches. The state also operates two toll highways,
Delaware Turnpike , which is I-95, between
Maryland and New Castle
and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, which is DE 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, 95 percent of which are under the
supervision of DelDOT. About 30 percent of all
Delaware bridges were
built before 1950, and about 60 percent of the number are included in
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
Delaware River and Bay Authority .
It has been noted that the tar and chip composition of secondary
Sussex County make them more prone to deterioration than
asphalt roadways found in almost the rest of the state. Among these
Sussex (county road) 236 is among the most problematic.
Cape May-Lewes Ferry
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 .
Forts Ferry Crossing connects
Delaware City with
Fort Delaware and
Fort Mott , New Jersey
RAIL AND BUS
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
Wilmington/Newark Line of Regional Rail , which
serves Claymont , Wilmington, Churchmans Crossing , and Newark.
Two Class I railroads ,
Norfolk Southern and
CSX , provide freight
rail service in northern New Castle County.
Norfolk Southern provides
freight service along the
Northeast Corridor and to industrial areas
in Edgemoor , New Castle , and
Delaware City . CSX's Philadelphia
Subdivision passes through northern New Castle County parallel to the
Amtrak Northeast Corridor. Multiple short-line railroads provide
freight service in Delaware. The
Delmarva Central Railroad operates
the most trackage of the short-line railroads, running from an
Norfolk Southern in Porter south through Dover ,
Harrington , and Seaford to Delmar , with another line running from
Harrington to Frankford . The
Delmarva Central Railroad connects with
two shortline railroads, the
Delaware Coast Line Railroad and the
Delaware Railroad , which serve local customers in Sussex
CSX connects with the freight/heritage operation, the
Wilmington and Western Railroad , based in Wilmington and the East
Penn Railroad , which operates a line from Wilmington to Coatesville,
The last north-south passenger train through the main part of
Delaware was the
Pennsylvania Railroad 's The Cavalier, which ended
Philadelphia through the state's interior in 1951.
Aviation in Delaware
As of 2016 , there is no scheduled air service from any Delaware
airport, as has been the case in various years since 1991. Various
airlines had served Wilmington Airport , with the latest departure
Frontier Airlines in April 2015.
Delaware is centrally situated in the
Northeast megalopolis region of
cities along I-95 . Therefore,
Delaware commercial airline passengers
most frequently use
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL),
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) for domestic and
international transit. Residents of
Sussex County will also use
Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY), as it is located less than 10 miles
(16 km) from the
Delaware border. Atlantic City International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Ronald Reagan
Washington National Airport (DCA) are also within a 100-mile (160 km)
radius of New Castle County.
Dover Air Force Base of the
Air Mobility Command
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 Delaware
Coastal Airport near Georgetown .
LAW AND GOVERNMENT
Delaware's fourth and current constitution, adopted in 1897, provides
for executive, judicial and legislative branches.
Delaware General Assembly meets in the Legislative Hall in
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
Tom Carper (Democrat) and Chris Coons
(Democrat). Delaware's single U.S. Representative is Lisa Blunt
Delaware Constitution establishes a number of courts:
Delaware Supreme Court is the state's highest court.
Delaware Superior Court is the state's trial court of general
Delaware Court of Chancery deals primarily in corporate
* The Family Court handles domestic and custody matters.
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.
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 Delaware
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
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
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
New York Stock Exchange .
Delaware was the
last US state to use judicial corporal punishment , in 1952.
List of Governors of Delaware
The executive branch is headed by the
Governor of Delaware . The
present governor is John Carney (Democrat), who took office January
20, 2009. The lieutenant governor is
Bethany Hall-Long . The governor
presents a "
State of the State " speech to a joint session of the
Delaware legislature annually.
Delaware is subdivided into three counties ; from north to south they
are New Castle , Kent and
Sussex . This is the fewest among all
states. Each county elects its own legislative body (known in New
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.
United States presidential election in Delaware, 2016 and
Political party strength in Delaware
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS RESULTS
Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential
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 since 1952. This trend ended in 2000 when Delaware's
electoral votes went to
Al Gore . In 2004
John Kerry won
eight percentage points. In 2008 Democrat
Barack Obama defeated
John McCain in
Delaware 62.63% to 37.37%. Obama's running
Joe Biden , who had represented
Delaware in the United States
Senate since 1973. Obama carried
Delaware again in 2012. In 2016,
Delaware's electoral votes went to
Hillary Clinton .
Delaware's swing to the Democrats is in part due to a strong
Democratic trend in New Castle County, home to 55 percent of
Delaware's population (the two smaller counties have only 359,000
people between them to New Castle's 535,000). New Castle has not voted
Republican in a presidential election since 1988. In 1992, 2000, 2004,
and 2016, the Republican presidential candidate carried both Kent and
Sussex but lost by double-digits each time in New Castle, which was a
large enough margin to swing the state to the Democrats. New Castle
also elects a substantial majority of the legislature; 27 of the 41
state house districts and 14 of the 21 state senate districts are
based in New Castle.
The Democrats have held the governorship since 1993, having won the
last six gubernatorial elections in a row. Democrats presently hold
seven of the nine statewide elected offices, while the Republicans
hold only two statewide offices,
State Auditor and
State Treasurer .
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
See also: Freedom of information in the
United States § State
Each of the 50 states of the
United States has passed some form of
freedom of information legislation, which provides a mechanism for the
general public to request information of the government. In 2011
Delaware passed legislation placing a 15 business day time limit on
addressing freedom-of-information requests, to either produce
information or an explanation of why such information would take
longer than this time to produce.
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.
Gambling provides significant revenue to the state. For instance, the
Delaware Park Racetrack provided more than $100 million USD
to the state in 2010.
VOTER REGISTRATION AND PARTY ENROLLMENT AS OF MARCH 2017
NUMBER OF VOTERS
Independent Party of Delaware
American Delta Party
American Independent Party
Working Families Party
Blue Enigma Party
Socialist Workers Party
Natural Law Party
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
* New Castle
* New Castle
* Rehoboth Beach
* Bethany Beach
* Dewey Beach
* Fenwick Island
* Henlopen Acres
* Little Creek
* Ocean View
* Slaughter Beach
* South Bethany
* Dover Base Housing
* Highland Acres
* Kent Acres
* Lincoln City
* Long Neck
* Mount Pleasant
* North Star
* Oak Orchard
* Pike Creek
* Rising Sun-Lebanon
* Rodney Village
* Saint Georges
* Wilmington Manor
* Woodside East
Dover Newark Seaford Wilmington
TEN WEALTHIEST PLACES IN DELAWARE
RANKED BY PER CAPITA INCOME
* Greenville : $83,223
* Henlopen Acres : $82,091
* South Bethany : $53,624
* Dewey Beach : $51,958
* Fenwick Island : $44,415
* Bethany Beach : $41,306
* Hockessin : $40,516
* North Star : $39,677
* Rehoboth Beach : $38,494
* Ardentown : $35,577
Delaware locations by per capita income
University of Delaware
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
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.
As of 2011 , the
Delaware Department of Education had authorized the
founding of 25 charter schools in the state, one of them being
All teachers in the State's public school districts are unionized.
As of January 2012 , none of the State's charter schools are members
of a teachers union . One of the State's teachers' unions is Delaware
State Education Association (DSEA), whose President as of January 2012
is Frederika Jenner.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Delaware College of Art and Design
Delaware State University
Delaware Technical vertical-align: top;">
University of Delaware
* Wesley College
Widener University School of Law
SISTER CITIES AND STATES
Delaware's sister state in Japan is
Miyagi Prefecture .
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (March
See also: Category:
The northern part of the state is served by network stations in
Philadelphia and the southern part by network stations in Baltimore
Maryland . Philadelphia's ABC affiliate,
maintains a news bureau in downtown Wilmington. Salisbury's ABC
Sussex and lower Kent County; while CBS
WBOC-TV , maintains bureaus in Dover and Milton.
Few television stations are based solely in Delaware; the local PBS
Philadelphia (but licensed to Wilmington),
maintains a studio and broadcasting facility in Wilmington and Dover,
Ion Television affiliate
WPPX is licensed to Wilmington but maintains
their offices in
Philadelphia and their digital transmitter outside of
that city and an analog tower in New Jersey, and
MeTV affiliate KJWP
is licensed to Wilmington but maintains their offices in New Jersey
and their transmitter is located at the antenna farm in Philadelphia.
In April 2014, it was revealed that Rehoboth Beach 's
NBC , becoming the first major network-affiliated
station in Delaware.
This section MAY CONTAIN INDISCRIMINATE , EXCESSIVE , OR IRRELEVANT
EXAMPLES. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text
and removing less pertinent examples . See's guide to
writing better articles for further suggestions. (June 2014)
Rehoboth Beach is a popular vacation spot during the summer
Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island is a
popular spot during the spring and summer. A ferry takes visitors to
the fort from nearby
Delaware City .
In addition to
First State National Historical Park ,
several museums , wildlife refuges , parks , houses , lighthouses ,
and other historic places .
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
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. According to SeaGrant
Delaware Beaches generate $6.9 billion annually and over
$711 million in tax revenue.
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
state 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
Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in
Wilmington, 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 , Firefly
Music Festival , and the Return Day Parade held after every election
in Georgetown .
CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Wilmington Blue Rocks
Diamond State Roller Girls
Women\'s Flat Track Derby Association
NBA G League
Delaware Black Foxes
USA Rugby League
NASCAR racing at
Dover International Speedway
Delaware has no franchises in the major American professional
sports leagues, many Delawareans follow either
Baltimore teams. The University of Delaware\'s football team has a
large following throughout the state with the
University and Wesley College teams also enjoying a smaller degree of
Delaware is home to
Dover International Speedway and
Dover Downs .
DIS, also known as the Monster Mile, hosts two
NASCAR race weekends
each year, one in the late spring and one in the early fall. Dover
Downs is a popular harness racing facility. It is the only co-located
horse and car-racing facility in the nation, with the Dover Downs
track located inside the DIS track.
Delaware is represented in
USA Rugby League by 2015 expansion club,
Delaware Black Foxes .
Delaware has been home to professional wrestling outfit Combat Zone
Wrestling (CZW). CZW has been affiliated with the annual Tournament of
Death and ECWA with its annual Super 8 Tournament .
Delaware's official state sport is bicycling .
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 and is today headquartered in Cheswold,
Kent County, Delaware. A band of the Nanticoke tribe of American
Indians today resides in
Sussex County and is headquartered in
Sussex County, Delaware.
* Several ships have been named
USS Delaware in honor of this state.
List of people from Delaware
List of places in Delaware
National Register of Historic Places listings in Delaware
* List of tallest buildings in
* ^ While the
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau designates
Delaware as one of the
South Atlantic States , it is usually grouped with the Mid-Atlantic
States or the
Northeastern United States .
* ^ Because of surveying errors, the actual line is several
compound arcs with centers at different points in New Castle.
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until September 20, 1776 . According to Delaware's own website,
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state. Additionally, the
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the historic vote for independence. And with regard to the original
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