Delaware: The Diamond State
Geography and Industry
Delaware occupies the northern and eastern portion of what many Marylanders call the Eastern Shore, and what still others call the Delmarva peninsula (short for Delaware-Maryland-Virginia). It is one of the smallest peninsulas of the United States.
Have you ever heard of the DuPont Corporation? It's a company that makes lots of things, especially all kinds of plastic, plastic tools, and paint. The DuPont Corporation is a big business with its headquarters in Delaware, where a man named Pierre DuPont started it. His great-grandson, Pierre “Pete” DuPont IV, eventually became a congressman from Delaware, as well as a governor of the state.
ALL ABOUT Delaware
LARGEST CITY: Wilmington
POPULATION: 783,600 (2000 Census)
STATE BIRD: Blue Hen Chicken
STATE TREE: American Holly
STATE FLOWER: Peach Blossom
STATE MOTTO: “Liberty and Independence”
STATEHOOD: December 7, 1787
POSTAL ABBREVIATION: DE
THE FIRST STATE!
Did you know that Delaware was the first of the original thirteen colonies (later the first thirteen states) that won their independence from England to ratify the U.S. Constitution? It's true! The people of Delaware are to this day very proud to call theirs the “first state,” because of this!
Before European settlement, most of what is now Delaware was occupied by members of the Delaware tribe of Native Americans. In 1610 an English explorer named one of Delaware's capes “La Warre,” in honor of Virginia Colony's governor, Baron de La Warr. This is where the name “Delaware” comes from.
As you learned in reading about New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the first Europeans to settle in the Delaware River Valley 21 were the Swedes and the Dutch. In fact, Peter Min-uit, who had once been the governor of New Netherlands (modern New York), was hired by Sweden to establish a colony in the New World. He established Fort Christina (named for Sweden's queen) on the present site of the city of Wilmington, Delaware, in 1631.
This brought the Swedish traders who came to settle around the colony into conflict with the Dutch, who had already claimed the entire Delaware Valley as their own. They fought a war with the Swedes that ended in 1654. The Swedes lost. Ten years later, the Dutch lost all of their possessions in North America to the English. England's king gave all of these lands, which included all of what is now Delaware, to the Duke of York.
For most of the rest of the colonial era, Delaware was a semi-independent part of the Pennsylvania colony. A few years later, Delaware became an English crown colony.
During the American Revolution, Delaware contributed many brave soldiers to the Continental Army. They became known as the Blue Hen's Chickens, because they fought with the ferocity of gamecocks.
State to State
Choose the state names that complete the silly riddles.
HINT: The pictures are a clue.
WORDS TO KNOW
A gamecock is a rooster (male) chicken, usually bred to be an aggressive fighter. Before such things were outlawed, gamecocks were used in rooster fights (called cock fights), which people would bet money on.