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Facts about Delaware History: 7 Things You Might Not Know

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

Known as the First State, or merely the second smallest state, Delaware has an eclectic history. How much of it do you know? Here are seven facts about the state that you might not know.

1. Sussex County has no shortage of fried chicken

Well, sort of … the county does produce more broiler chickens than any other location in the U.S. Any Henny Penny brings big cash for her cousins. Sussex County Online reports broiler chickens make up nearly 70 percent of the state’s farm revenue.

According to Uncooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken, it was a delivery error that launched the "meat bird industry." Wilmer and Celia Steele received a flock of 500 chicks in 1923. The new broiler business was created to make use of the 450 extra chicks above the 50 they ordered for their egg-laying venture.

2. Corporate capital

Delaware started out as one of original colonies' primary economic systems. Even before the American Revolution, Britain favored the state for its lush farmlands and inventive minds.

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During early colonization, Delaware was the hub for sea trade, grain mills, mining and, of course, livestock. And the tradition continues today. More than 50 percent of the nation’s public companies call Delaware home, including 64 percent of Fortune 500 Companies, according to the state.

3. Beauty is in eyes of Delaware

Many Americans join in each year to see who will be crowned the next Miss America. But many don’t realize this contest has roots in Delaware.

America’s first bathing beauty pageant competed at Rehoboth Beach for the 1880 title of Miss United States. And inventor Thomas Edison got an eye full as one of the contest’s judges, according to History.com.

4. Fertilizer comes from all sorts of weird places

Everyone knows manure and garbage is easily converted into fertilizer. But who would have thought crabs could help harvest the crops

Home to the largest horseshoe crab population in the world, Delaware began harvesting these little creatures to fertilize their farmland after colonizing the region in the early 1700s.

Now the hard-shelled sea creatures are used to study the human eye and in biomedical research to detect bacteria in drugs, according to History.com.

5. Ring the church bells

Many of America’s early settlers were devout Christians. In fact, early Swedish colonists built the Old Swedes Church.

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Standing as a place of worship since the 1690s, the Holy Trinity Church is one of the oldest houses of worship in America still being used.

The church sits on land originally purchased from the Lenni-Lenape Indians, and is the oldest surviving buildings in the region.

6. Old Glory

According to the state library, legend has it that the Stars and Stripes was flown for the first time in battle during a Revolutionary War battle at Cooch's Bridge in 1777. Patriot Gen. William Maxwell ordered the flag displayed as motivator to the troops.

However, the rebel troops lost the fight and retreated to Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania to join Gen. George Washington's main force.

7. The little giant

According to World Atlas, Delaware is the second smallest state in the nation with a total land area of 1,955 square miles. But it is the fifth most densely populated state with nearly 450 people for every square mile.

Being a coastal state, Delaware has an above average altitude, about 60 feet above sea level, making it the lowest average altitude of any state.

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Known as either the First State or merely the second smallest state, Delaware has an eclectic history. How much of it do you know? Here are seven facts about the state that you might not know.
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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