The first of the thirteen original States that ratified the federal Constitution; takes its name from Lord De la Warr
), who entered the bay of that name in 1610, when he was governor of Virginia
It had been discovered by Hudson
In 1629 Samuel Godyn
, a director of the Dutch West India Company, bought of the Indians a tract of land near the mouth of the Delaware
; and the next year De Vries
, with twenty colonists from Holland
, settled near the site of Lewes
The colony was destroyed by the natives three years afterwards, and the Indians had sole possession of that district until 1638, when a colony of Swedes and Finns
landed on Cape Henlopen
, and purchased the lands along the bay and river as far north as the falls at Trenton
(see New Sweden
). They built Fort Christiana near the site of Wilmington
Their settlements were mostly planted within the present limits of Pennsylvania
were conquered by the Dutch
New Netherland in 1655, and from that time until 1664, when New Netherland was conquered by the English
, the territory was claimed by the Dutch
, and controlled by them.
Then Lord Baltimore, proprietor of Maryland
, claimed all the territory on the west side of Delaware Bay
, and even to lat. 40°; and settlers from Maryland
attempted to drive away the settlers from the present State of Delaware
When William Penn
obtained a grant of Pennsylvania
, he was very desirous of owning the land on Delaware Bay
to the sea, and procured from the Duke
a release of all his title and claim to New Castle
and 12 miles around it, and to the land between that tract and the sea; and in the presence of all the settlers he produced his deeds (October, 1682), and formally accepted the surrender of the territory.
Lord Baltimore pressed his claim, but in 1685 the Lords
of Trade and Plantations made a decision in Penn
A compromise afterwards adjusted all conflicting claims.
The tracts which now constitute the State of Delaware
called “The Territories
,” or “Three Lower counties on the Delaware
They were governed as a part of Pennsylvania
for about twenty
years afterwards, and each county had six delegates in the legislature.
allowed them a separate legislature; but the colony was under the governor of Pennsylvania
until 1776, when the inhabitants declared it an independent State.
A constitution was adopted by a convention of the people of the three counties—New Castle
, and Sussex
—Sept. 20, 1776.
A State government was organized, and John McKinley
was elected its first governor.
In 1792 a second constitution was framed and adopted.
was a slave State, it refused to secede at the outbreak of the Civil War
; and, though it assumed a sort of neutrality, it furnished several regiments of volunteers for the Union
In all the wars Delaware
patriotically furnished its share of men and money for the public defence.
In 1897 the State
had an assessed property valuation of $77,632,079; and in 1899 had assets of $164,993 in excess of all liabilities.
The population in 1890 was 168,493; in 1900, 184,735.
(September, 1777) the Americans
still held control of the Delaware River
below that city.
On Mud Island
, near the confluence of the Schuylkill
, was built Fort Mifflin.
On the New Jersey
shore, opposite, at Red Bank, was Fort Mercer, a strong redoubt, well furnished with heavy artillery.
At Billingsport, on the same shore, 3 miles lower down, were extensive but unfinished works designed to guard some obstructions in the river there.
Other formidable obstructions were placed in the river below forts Mifflin and Mercer, in the form of chevaux-de-frise—sunken crates of stones, with heavy spears of iron-pointed timber, to receive and pierce the bows of vessels.
Besides these, there were floating batteries on the river.
See Mercer, Fort
; Mifflin, Fort.
governors of Delaware
: English colonial.
From 1664 up to 1682, under the government of New
; and from 1683 up to 1773, under the proprietary government of Pennsylvania