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Discovery of America

The Explorers

Post Columbian Exploration

Thirteen Original Colonies

Colonization of America

Colonial Life

Colonial Days and Ways

Independence Movement

The Patriots

Prelude to War

Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Battles

Overview of Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Timeline


Civil War

American Flag

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Delaware Map

1639 Map of Delaware Bay and River

State Seal of DelawareDelaware, the first of the thirteen original States that ratified the federal Constitution; takes its name from Lord De la Warr (Delaware), who entered the bay of that name in 1610, when he was governor of Virginia. It had been discovered by Hudson in 1609. 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. The Swedes were conquered by the Dutch of 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 of York 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's favor. A compromise afterwards adjusted all conflicting claims. The tracts which now constitute the State of Delaware, Penn 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. Then Penn 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, Kent, 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. Although Delaware 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 army. In all the wars Delaware patriotically furnished its share of men and money for the public defense. The population in 1890 was 168,493; in 1900, 184,735.

Old Swedish Church


When Howe entered Philadelphia (September, 1777) the Americans still held control of the Delaware River below that city. On Mud Island, near the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware, 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.





Peter Minuit

1638 to 1640

Peter Hollender

1640 " 1642

Johan Printz

1643 " 1652

Johan Pappegoia

1653 " 1654

Johan C. Rising

1654 " 1655


Peter Stuyvesant

1655 to 1664

From 1664 up to 1682, under the government of New

York; and from 1683 up to 1773, under the proprietary

government of Pennsylvania.



John McKinley

Caesar Rodney

John Dickinson

John Cook

Nicholas Van Dyke

Thomas Collins

Joshua Clayton

Gunning Bedford

Daniel Rodgers

Richard Bassett

James Sykes

David Hall

1776 to 1777

1778 " 1781

1782 " 1783


1784 to 1786

1786 " 1789

1789 " 1796

1796 " 1797

1797 " 1798

1798 " 1801

1801 " 1802

1802 " 1805

Nathaniel Mitchell

George Truitt

Joseph Hazlett

Daniel Rodney

1805 " 1808

1808 " 1811

1811 " 1814

1814 " 1817

John Clark

Jacob Stout

John Collins

Caleb Rodney

Joseph Hazlett

Samuel Paynter

Charles Polk

1817 " 1821)

1820 " 1821

1821 " 1822

1822 " 1823

1823 " 1824

1824 " 1827

1827 " 1830

David Hazzard

Caleb P. Bennett

Charles Polk

Cornelius P. Comegys

William B. Cooper

Thomas Stockton

Joseph Maul

William Temple

William Thorp

William H. Ross

Peter F. Cansey

William Burton

William Cannon

Grove Saulsbury

James Ponder

John P. Cochran

John W. Hall

Charles C. Stockley

Benjamin T. Biggs

Robert J. Reynolds

Joshua H. Marvil

William T. Watson

Ebe W. Tunnell

John Hunn

1830 " 1833

1833 " 1836

1836 " 1837

1837 " 1840

1840 " 1844

1844 " 1846



1847 to 1851

1851 " 1855

1855 " 1859

1859 " 1863

1863 " 1867

1867 " 1871

1871 " 1875

1875 " 1879

1879 " 1883

1883 " 1887

1887 " 1891

1891 " 1895


1895 to 1897

1897 " 1901

1901 " 1905


Name                                    Congress


Richard Bassett 1st and 2d

1789 to 1793

George Read 1st " 2d

1789 " 1793

Henry Latimer 3d to 6th

1793 " 1801

John Vining 3d " 5th

1793 " 1798

Joshua Clayton



William Hill Wells 5th to 8th

1799 to 1805

Samuel White 7th " 11th

1801 " 1809

James A. Bayard 8th " 12th

1805 1813

Outerbridge Horsey 11th " 16th

1810 " 1821

William Hill Wells 13th " 14th

1813 " 1817

Nicholas Van Dyke 15th " 19th

1817 " 1827

Caesar A. Rodney


1821 " 1823

Thomas Clayton 18th to 19th

1824 " 1827

Daniel Rodney



Henry M. Ridgely 19th to 20th

1827 to 1829

Louis McLane 20th " 21st

1827 " 1829

John M. Clayton 21st " 23d

1829 " 1835

Arnold Naudain 21st " 23d

1830 " 1836

Richard H. Bayard 24th " 28th

1836 " 1845

Thomas Clayton 24th " 29th

1837 " 1847

John M. Clayton 29th " 30th

1845 " 1849



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