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Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
is the estuary outlet of the Delaware River
Delaware River
on the Northeast seaboard of the United States. Approximately 782 square miles (2,030 km2) in area,[2] the bay's fresh water mixes for many miles with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay is bordered inland by the States of New Jersey
New Jersey
and Delaware, and the Delaware
Delaware
Capes, Cape Henlopen
Cape Henlopen
and Cape May, on the Atlantic. The Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
is bordered by six counties: Sussex, Kent, and New Castle in Delaware, along with Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem in New Jersey. The Cape May–Lewes Ferry
Cape May–Lewes Ferry
crosses the Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
from Cape May, New Jersey, to Lewes, Delaware. Management of ports along the bay is the responsibility of the Delaware River
Delaware River
and Bay
Bay
Authority. The shores of the bay are largely composed of salt marshes and mudflats, with only small communities inhabiting the shore of the lower bay. Besides the Delaware, it is fed by numerous smaller rivers and streams, including (from north to south) the Christina River, Appoquinimink River, Leipsic River, Smyrna River, St. Jones River, and Murderkill Rivers on the Delaware
Delaware
side, and the Salem River, Cohansey River, and Maurice Rivers on the New Jersey
New Jersey
side. Several of the rivers hold protected status for their unique salt marsh wetlands bordering the bay, which serves as a breeding ground for many aquatic species, including horseshoe crabs. The bay is also a prime oystering ground. The Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance on May 20, 1992. It was the first site classified in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Today

2 See also 3 References 4 Additional reading 5 External links

History[edit] At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in the early 17th century, the area around the bay was inhabited by the Native American Lenape people. They called the Delaware River
Delaware River
" Lenape
Lenape
Wihittuck", which means "the rapid stream of the Lenape". The Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
was called "Poutaxat", which means "near the falls".[3] [4] In 1523 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón had received from Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor a grant for the land explored in 1521 by Francisco Gordillo and slave trader Captain Pedro de Quejo (de Quexo). In 1525 Ayllón sent Quejo northward and received reports of the coastline from as far north as the Delaware
Delaware
Bay. In 1525 De Ayllon and Captain Quejo called Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
by the name Saint Christopher's Bay.

Beginning of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, at the Roosevelt inlet

In the 1600s the bay was known as "Niew Port May" after Captain Cornelius May.[4] Another recorded European visit to the bay was by Henry Hudson, who claimed it for the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
in 1609. The Dutch called the estuary "Godyns Bay", or "Godins Bay" after a director of the company, Samuel Godijn.[4][5] As part of the New Netherland
New Netherland
colony, the Dutch established several settlements (the most famous being Zwaanendael) on the shores of the bay and explored its coast extensively. The thin nature of the corporate colony's presence in the bay and along what was called the South River (now the Delaware) made it possible for Peter Minuit, the former director of New Netherland, to establish a competing Swedish sponsored settlement, New Sweden
Sweden
in 1638. The resulting dispute with the Dutch colonial authorities in New Amsterdam (New York City) was settled when Petrus Stuyvesant
Petrus Stuyvesant
led a Dutch military force into the area in 1655. After the English took title to the New Netherland
New Netherland
colony in 1667 at the Treaty of Breda the bay came into their possession and was renamed, by Samuel Argall, the river Delaware, after the first Governor of Virginia Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.[4] The Native American tribe living along the bay and river were later called the Delaware
Delaware
by the Europeans due to their location. The U.S. state
U.S. state
also takes its name from the bay and the river.

Nautical chart of the Dutch colony Zwaanendael
Zwaanendael
and Godyn's Bay ( Delaware
Delaware
Bay), 1639

Conflicting crown grants were made to the James, Duke of York and William Penn
William Penn
on the west bank of the bay and river. Settlement grew rapidly, leading Philadelphia, upriver on the Delaware, to become the largest city in North America
North America
in the 18th century. Penn viewed access to the Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
as being so critical to Pennsylvania's survival that he engaged in an eighty-year long legal boundary dispute with the Calvert family to secure it. In 1782 during the American Revolutionary War, Continental Navy
Continental Navy
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney
fought with a British squadron within the bay. Barney's force of three sloops defeated a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
frigate, a sloop-of-war and a Loyalist
Loyalist
privateer. The strategic importance of the bay was noticed by the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War, who proposed the use of Pea Patch Island
Pea Patch Island
at the head of the bay for a defensive fortification to protect the important ports Philadelphia
Philadelphia
and New Castle, Delaware. Fort Delaware
Delaware
was later constructed on Pea Patch Island. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
it was used as a Union prison camp. In 1855, the United States
United States
government systematically undertook the formation of a 26 ft (7.9 m) channel 600 ft (180 m) wide from Philadelphia
Philadelphia
to deep water in Delaware
Delaware
Bay. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 provided for a 30-foot (9.1 m) channel 600 feet (180 m) wide from Philadelphia
Philadelphia
to the deep water of the bay.

The shore on Cape May, near the Atlantic Ocean

Other names for the bay have been "South Bay" and "Zuyt Baye".[4] Today[edit] The bay is one of the most important navigational channels in the United States, its second busiest waterway after the Mississippi River. Its lower course forms part of the Intracoastal Waterway. The need for direct navigation around the two capes into the ocean is circumvented by the Cape May
Cape May
Canal and the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal
Lewes and Rehoboth Canal
at the north and south capes respectively. The upper bay is connected directly to the north end of Chesapeake Bay
Bay
by the Chesapeake and Delaware
Delaware
Canal. The bay offers several challenges to mariners: a significant current of up to three knots, which quickly builds a nasty chop when the wind is in opposition; mainly shallow water, with its channel often occupied with ocean-going vessels; and relatively few places to take shelter. See also[edit]

Partnership for the Delaware
Delaware
Estuary Lewes and Rehoboth Canal Chesapeake and Delaware
Delaware
Canal Broadkill River St. Jones River

References[edit]

^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Delaware
Delaware
Bay ^ a b Overview of the Delaware River
Delaware River
Watershed Archived 2005-01-10 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson
claims the Delaware River
Delaware River
for the Dutch philly.com ^ a b c d e DELAWARE PLACE NAMES United States
United States
Geological Survey ^ Historic Background Delaware
Delaware
Department of Transportation

Additional reading[edit]

Myers, Albert Cook, ed. Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey, and Delaware, 1630 -1707. (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912) Ward, Christopher. Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware, 1609 – 1664 (University of Pennsylvania Press. 1930) Leiby, A. C. The Early Dutch and Swedish Settlers of New Jersey (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Co. 1964)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Delaware
Delaware
Bay.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Delaware
Delaware
Bay.

Delaware
Delaware
Riverkeeper Network Discover Delaware
Delaware
Bay
Bay
New Jersey  " Delaware
Delaware
Bay". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.   " Delaware
Delaware
Bay". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914. 

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Delaware
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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 247819

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