Delaware is a U.S.
state located on the
in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.[a] 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 located in the northeastern portion of the
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. From north to south, these three counties are
Sussex. While the southern two counties have
historically been predominantly agricultural,
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,
located near the present town of Lewes,
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 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
also derive their name from the same source.
Delaware is 96 miles (154 km) long and ranges from 9
miles (14 km) to 35 miles (56 km) across, totaling 1,954 square miles (5,060
km2), making it the second-smallest state in the
after Rhode Island.
is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania;
to the east by the Delaware River,
Delaware Bay, New
Jersey and the
Atlantic Ocean; and to the west and south by
Maryland. Small portions of
Delaware are also situated on the eastern side of the
sharing land boundaries with New Jersey.
The state of Delaware, together
with the Eastern Shore counties of
and two counties of Virginia, form
the Delmarva Peninsula, which stretches down the
definition of the northern boundary of the state is unusual. Most of the
boundary between Delaware
and Pennsylvania was originally
defined by an arc extending 12 miles (19.3 km) from the cupola of the courthouse
in the city of New Castle. This
boundary is often referred to as the Twelve-Mile Circle.
This is the only nominally circular state boundary in the
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