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Delaware, abbreviated DE or Del., Is a state in the United
States bordering Maryland and Pennsylvania. Delaware, with 6447 km2
is the second smallest of the United States of America (after Rhode Island), and
has 961,939 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Dover.
Delaware is also known as The First State, since it was the first
state to ratify the US Declaration of Independence.
Geography and climate
Delaware occupies the northeastern part of the Delmarva Peninsula, the
peninsula between Chesapeake Bay in the west and Delaware Bay in the east. The
area belongs to the Atlantic coastal plain, and consists of a fertile, flat
plain that rarely reaches more than 20 meters above sea level. In the northwest,
low ridges rise to 134 meters above sea level. The state has a temperate
The population increase in the decade 1980–1990 was 12.1 per cent, in the
decade 1990–2000 15 per cent, both higher than the national average. 62.3
percent of residents consider themselves white, 22.8 percent black, and 9.3
percent of Hispanic origin (US Census, 2017). The state is among the most
densely populated in the United States: 83.3 percent live in cities or urban
areas. Largest cities are Wilmington and the capital Dover.
Delaware sends two senators and one representative to the Washington Congress
in Washington DC.
The state is primarily an industrial state, but more than half of the land is
used for agriculture. The main products are soybeans, maize and asparagus, and
not least the breeding of poultry (broilers). The industry is concentrated in
and around Wilmington and includes shipyards, automobile factories, chemical
industry (DuPont Company) and cotton industry. The Chesapeake and Delaware
Canal, which cuts through the northern part of the state, is of great economic
Because Delaware largely does not tax corporations, and in addition offers a
high degree of secrecy about ownership, the state is referred to as a tax
haven where it is very popular to create shell companies that can be used, among
other things, to hide ownership and cash flow.
Delaware was first colonized by the Dutch in 1631, but these colonists were
killed by the indigenous people. In 1638, Swedes built New Sweden with Fort
Christina (now Wilmington), but were displaced by the Dutch in 1651, who in turn
took over the colony. In 1664, the English conquered Delaware.
In 1682, Delaware became part of Pennsylvania, but gained its own state
assembly in 1704 and became its own state in 1776. Delaware was the first state
to ratify the Union Constitution - unanimously December 7, 1787 - and was one of
the "frontier states "during the American Civil War; Slavery was allowed, but it
was impossible to opt out of the Union.
The name Delaware is after Virginia Governor Lord De La Warr, who took
possession of the area for England in 1610. The name was originally linked to
the river, later to the indigenous community lenape and finally to the state.