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Tags: US State Facts | Delaware History | Henry Hudson | Delaware Bay

Delaware History: 7 Events That Shaped the State

Delaware History: 7 Events That Shaped the State
Delaware Capital Building in the city of Dover, State Map and Flag. (Dollarphotoclub)

By    |   Monday, 23 February 2015 11:31 PM

Explored by numerous countries throughout the United State’s early history and one of the pivotal areas for English settlements, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Here are seven significant points and interesting facts from Delaware's history:

1. The Spanish and Portuguese are believed to have explored the Delaware area in the 16th century, but it is English explorer, Henry Hudson who is credited with the area's "discovery," according to Delaware Living. He identified the Delaware River and the bay, which would eventually become the New Netherlands for the Dutch. The first settlers came to the area around 1629, buying land from the Indians. The forces in charge of the territory that is now Delaware shifted over the years, among the Swedish, Dutch, and English. The state's boundaries were blurred with Pennsylvania.

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2. One of the most recognized signs of the pioneer era was the log cabin and they originated in the Delaware area, built by Swedish and Finnish settlers, according to the National Park Service. Germans arriving later also were familiar with the log technique for building homes and others like the Scots and the Irish, who were not soon adopted it.

3. After the Revolutionary War, during which Delaware not only separated itself from Britain, but also Pennsylvania, the state became the first of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution.

4. Delaware's Thomas Garrett is considered one of the most prominent men associated with the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves to escape during the Civil War time period. It is estimated he helped more than 2,700 slaves escape. He was tried and convicted in 1848 for helping a slave family and the fines levied against him almost bankrupt his family. "Following the Civil War, Garrett continued his work for minority groups in America and in 1870, when blacks were given the right to vote by the establishment of the 15th Amendment, Garrett was carried on the shoulders of black supporters through the streets of Wilmington as they hailed him ‘our Moses,'" says Whispers of Angel.

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5. In 1802, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. was launched by Frenchman Eleuthere Irenee du Pont. It would become a critical part of Delaware's economy and one of the largest companies in the world. When it was started, the focus was on producing explosives like black powder, but today its interests and businesses are widely varied.

6. Delaware hosted one of the earliest known resort bathing beauty pageants in 1880, designed as a way to bring business to Rehoboth Beach's summer festival. Thomas Edison was one of the contest judges for Miss United States. According to PBS, a bridal trousseau was the prize. "Contestants must be under 25, not married, at least 5 feet 4 inches tall, and weigh no more than 130 pounds."

7. If you're looking for a horseshoe crab, Delaware Bay is the place to go. It is home to horseshoe crab more than anywhere else in the world and they have been an integral part of the state's history. Indians used them for food and for fertilizer, which early settlers continued. Today, they are used in biomedical research.

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FastFeatures
Explored by numerous countries throughout the United State's early history and one of the pivotal areas for English settlements, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Delaware History, Henry Hudson, Delaware Bay
584
2015-31-23
Monday, 23 February 2015 11:31 PM
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