Delaware is a state located in the Northeast megalopolis region and the Northeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, to the northeast by New Jersey, and to the north by Pennsylvania. The state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor, after whom what is now called Cape Henlopen was originally named.
Delaware is in the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula and is the second smallest, the sixth least populous, but the sixth most densely populated of the 50 United States. Delaware is divided into three counties, the lowest number of counties of any state. From north to south, the three counties are New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. While the southern two counties have historically been predominantly agricultural, New Castle County has been more industrialized.
Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of American Indians, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south. It was initially colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, near the present town ofLewes, in 1631. Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution and on December 7, 1787, became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby becoming known as The First State.
State of Delaware
|Nickname(s): The First State; The Small Wonder; Blue Hen State; The Diamond State|
|Motto(s): Liberty and Independence|
The state was named after the Delaware River which in turn derived its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1577–1618), the governor of the Colony of Virginia at the time the river was first explored by Europeans. The Delaware Indians, a name used by Europeans for Lenape people indigenous to the Delaware Valley, also derive their name from the same source.
The surname de La Warr comes from Sussex and is of Anglo-Norman origin. It came probably from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre. This toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern or from the Late Latin warectum (fallow). The toponyms Gara, Gare, Gaire (the sound ä often mutated in æ) also appear in old texts cited by Lucien Musset, where the word ga(i)ra means gore. It could also be linked with a patronymic from the Old Norse verr.
Delaware was the origin of Belton v. Gebhart, one of the four cases which was combined into Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court of the United States decision that led to the end of segregated public schools. Significantly, Belton was the only case in which the state court found for the plaintiffs, thereby ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.
Unlike many states, Delaware's educational system is centralized in a state Superintendent of Education, with local school boards retaining control over taxation and some curriculum decisions.
All teachers in the State's public school districts are unionized. As of January 2012, none of the State's charter schools are members of a teachers union. One of the State's teachers' unions is Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), which President as of January 2012 is Frederika Jenner.
As Delaware has no franchises in the major American professional sports leagues, many Delawareans follow either Philadelphia or Baltimore teams. The University of Delaware's football team has a large following throughout the state with the Delaware State University and Wesley College teams also enjoying a smaller degree of support.
Delaware is home to Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs. DIS, also known as the Monster Mile, hosts two NASCAR races each year. Dover Downs is a popular harness racing facility. It is the only co-located horse and car-racing facility in the nation, with the Dover Downs track located inside the DIS track.
Delaware's official state sport is bicycling.
Rehoboth Beach, together with the towns of Lewes, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island, comprise Delaware's beach resorts. Rehoboth Beach often bills itself as "The Nation's Summer Capital" because it is a frequent summer vacation destination for Washington, D.C. residents as well as visitors from Maryland, Virginia, and in lesser numbers, Pennsylvania. Vacationers are drawn for many reasons, including the town's charm, artistic appeal, nightlife, and tax free shopping.
Delaware is home to several festivals, fairs, and events. Some of the more notable festivals are the Riverfest held in Seaford, the World ChampionshipPunkin Chunkin held at various locations throughout the state since 1986, the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral to mark the end of summer, the Apple Scrapple Festival held in Bridgeville, the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Wilmington, the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, the Sea Witch Halloween Festival and Parade in Rehoboth Beach, the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, the Nanticoke Indian Pow Wow in Oak Orchard, Firefly Music Festival, and the Return Day Parade held after every election in Georgetown.