As a political unit, the history of the state of Delaware stretches back to the dawn of European colonization of North America. The state got its name from the Delaware River that in turn originated its name from Thomas West, the third baron de la Warr who was the governor of Virginia when the Europeans explored the river.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, a British sailing for the Dutch East India Company discovered Delaware Bay and River. This exploration supported the claim of the Netherlands to send colonizers in the area. In 1631, Dutch colonists settle at Zwaanendael, today known as Lewes.
But the Dutch colony did not live long as they were forcibly removed by the English who asserted their claim because Hudson was an Englishman. In 1664, James, the brother of King Charles II and the Duke of York, arranged an expedition to colonize the Hudson Rivers and Delaware, which subjugated the area under the authority of the Duke.
Delaware was also colonized by Sweden. After a breaking out with Dutch East India Company, Peter Minuit with some of his trusted friends established the New Sweden Company and explored the Delaware River in 1638 under the Swedish flag. They took the western part of the Delaware River and started a Swedish colony. The Dutch, the Swedes, and the Native Americans continue to attack each other until they all perished from Delaware and the British succeeded.
Under British rule, Delaware Bay was leased to William Penn who was earlier granted Pennsylvania. He worked on to strengthen the political structure in Delaware.
A lovely street in a historic neighborhood in Dover Delaware
During the American Revolution, Delaware was among the thirteen colonies that revolted against Britain. When the Revolution started, three component counties of Delaware (New Castle, Kent, and Sussex) were united and became the Delaware State. In 1776, the state adopted its own constitution, and its governors were adopted the title of “President”.
During the Civil War, Delaware voted not to secede in 1861 so it remained a slave state and member of the Union. Even though many Delaware citizens took side for the Union, some served on the Confederate side in Virginia and Maryland regiments. In 1865, Delaware voted to reject the US 13th Amendment, and it also rejected the 14th amendment during the era of reconstruction. However, in 1901, Delaware ratified the amendment.
Today, the state of Delaware is one of the most affluent states in the US. It ranks no. 9 when it comes to per capita personal income. The state also has the 9th largest number of millionaires per capita in the US. The economy of Delaware is primarily driven by banking, finance, pharmaceuticals, and technology.