Delaware, the “First State” of the United States, often flies under the radar compared to its larger and more populous neighbors. While Delaware may be small in size, it has a big reputation as its impact on American history, business, and culture is profound. From being the first state to ratify the United States Constitution to pioneering business-friendly regulations, Delaware has left an indelible mark on the country’s legal, economic, and political landscape. Join us on this journey as we unravel the mysteries and explore what Delaware is known for to pique curiosity in those seeking to discover the hidden gems within its borders.
History of Delaware
Delaware’s Early History as a Dutch Colony and it’s Role in the Fur Trade
Delaware’s early history traces back to its time as a Dutch colony known as New Netherland. In 1631, Dutch traders established a settlement called Zwaanendael (now present-day Lewes) along the Delaware Bay. Their primary objective was to engage in the lucrative fur trade, which thrived in the region due to the abundance of beavers and other fur-bearing animals.
The Dutch sought to exploit the region’s natural resources, establishing relationships with Native American tribes to acquire furs, especially beaver pelts. These furs were highly sought after in Europe for their use in fashionable garments and hats. The Dutch West India Company, which governed the colony, encouraged trade and settlement in the area.
English Takeover and Delaware’s Role in the Ratification of the US Constitution
In 1664, the English seized control of New Netherland, including Delaware, from the Dutch. The region came under the governance of the Duke of York, who later became King James II. With the English takeover, the area’s name was changed to Delaware in honor of the governor of Virginia, Sir Thomas West, Lord De La Warr.
During the American Revolution, Delaware played a crucial role in the formation of the United States. It was the first state to ratify the US Constitution on December 7, 1787, earning its nickname, the “First State.” Delaware’s ratification was a pivotal moment in the establishment of the new nation, demonstrating its commitment to the principles and ideals outlined in the Constitution.
Notable Historical Events and Figures from Delaware’s Past
Delaware has witnessed several significant historical events and been home to notable figures throughout its history. The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, fought in 1777, was the only battle of the Revolutionary War to take place in Delaware. It marked an early engagement between American and British forces and highlighted the state’s involvement in the fight for independence.
Another important figure from Delaware’s past is Caesar Rodney, a Founding Father and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rodney famously rode through the night from Delaware to Philadelphia to cast his vote in favor of independence.
Other prominent Delawareans include John Dickinson, a Founding Father and influential political writer, and Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver.
What is Delaware Known For?
Chemical Capital: Delaware is often referred to as the “Chemical Capital of the World.” The state’s economy relies heavily on chemical manufacturing, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and plastics. Companies such as DuPont have a significant presence in Delaware and have played a crucial role in its industrial development.
Business-Friendly Environment: Delaware is renowned for its business-friendly climate. The state’s Court of Chancery has a long history of handling corporate disputes, making Delaware a center for corporate litigation and establishing legal precedents. The state is home to many major corporations, including Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase.
Tax Haven: Delaware is famous for its favorable tax laws. It is considered a tax haven for businesses, attracting many large corporations to establish their legal headquarters in the state. The absence of sales tax and low corporate tax rates are some of the factors that contribute to Delaware’s appeal.
Beaches and Outdoor Recreation: Delaware’s eastern coast is home to beautiful beaches, such as Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Bethany Beach. These coastal towns attract visitors with their sandy shores, lively boardwalks, and recreational activities like fishing, boating, and water sports.
Cultural Significance: The state is home to several notable museums, including the Delaware Art Museum and the Winterthur Museum. The state has also produced many famous artists such as musician George Thorogood, country music singer and songwriter Jimmie Allen and Stephen Marley, son of reggae superstar Bob Marley. Delaware has a rich culinary tradition, with dishes like scrapple, salt water taffy, peach pie, slippery dumplings, and Delaware Bay oysters that are beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Joe Biden: Delaware is the home state of President Joe Biden. He served as a U.S. Senator from Delaware for over three decades before becoming Vice President and later the 46th President of the United States.
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