Monday, May 30, 2016

6 Unforgettable Facts about Delaware, with bonus information about chickens!

1. Delaware has at least four nicknames: The Diamond State (because, according to legend, Thomas Jefferson called it a "jewel among the states"); The First State (beause the state declared its independence from Great Britain even before the Declaration was signed and was the first state to ratify the Constitution); The Small Wonder (because it's very small); and Blue Hen State.*

2. It's 49th in area and has the fewest counties of any state. It's only 96 miles long and ranges from 9 to 35 miles in width. 

3. The state was named for the Delaware River, which was named for Thomas West, the 3rd Baron De la Warr (1577 - 1618). He was ruling governor of Virginia when Europeans first explored that river.

4. Due to the 12-mile arc said to be drawn from the cupola of the New Castle courthouse, Delaware has the only "circular" state boundary in the United States. Another part of the border, called "the wedge," was contested with Pennsylvania until 1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed.

5. The first Europeans to settle in the area were Dutch, in 1631. Within a year those settlers were killed by the previous residents. In 1638, New Sweden was established near what's now Wilmington. However, Dutch settlers under Peter Stuyvesant established a fort nearby, at New Castle, and annexed New Sweden. Nine years later, a fleet of British ships conquered the Dutch, and almost 20 years after that, the Duke of York passed his proprietorship of the area to William Penn (so Penn could have water access to Pennsylvania to the north). The three counties which are now Delaware were called "the Lower Counties on the Delaware."

6. In 2012, 34% of the population considered themselves "moderately religious," 33% considered themselves "very religious," and 33%  considered themselves "non-religious."

*The Delaware Blue Hen is the name of a breed of chicken not recognized by the American Poultry Association and can be either male or female, and it's silvery grey with darker shading on the feather tips. (The APA recognized breed of Delaware chicken is white with dark wing tips.) The University of Delaware's mascot is YoUDee, which is a fighting Delaware Blue Hen.