State: Delaware – DE

Published on July 6th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The Delaware state abbreviation is DE. It is located in the Northeastern region of the United States. To the south and west is Maryland, to the northeast is New Jersey, and Pennsylvania is to the north. The name comes from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr who was Virginia’s first colonial governor.

It is the sixth most densely populated of the 50 U.S. States. It is divided into three counties which consist of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. Two of the three counties are agricultural, while the other is more industrialized. Today we’ll examine the geography, climate, history, and state symbols, but first we’ll look at some key information:

  • Capital: Dover
  • Largest city: Wilmington
  • Highest Point: 447 ft near the Ebright Azimuth
  • Admitted to the Union: December 7, 1787 (1st)
  • Time Zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • Official Website
  • State Flag

Map of Delaware in the United States

The Geography and Climate of DE

The length of DE is 96 miles or 154 kilometers. The width of the state ranges from 9 miles to 35 miles. After Rhode Island, it is the second-smallest state. The northern state boundary is unique in the sense that it was originally set by an arc that extends 12 miles known as the Twelve-Mile Circle.

This is the only circular boundary of its kind in the nation. The topography of the state has the lowest average elevation in the U.S. The highest point is located at Ebright Azimuth and it doesn’t even rise to 450 feet above sea level. It is situated on a level plain with the northernmost portion being part of the Piedmont Plateau.

The majority of the state is within the Atlantic Coastal Plain which results in a climate that is moderated by the ocean. It is part of a transitional zone between a humid subtropical climate and a continental climate. Even given the fact that the state is so small, there is a large difference between the temperature and snowfall between Sussex county and New Castle county.

map of Delaware

The southern area has a longer growing season and a milder climate overall than the northern area. The record high temperature was recorded in 1930 at 110 degrees Fahrenheit and the low was recorded in 1893 at -17 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since the state has a transitional climate there is a wide variety of environmental features. The northern portions of the state are filled with coastal forests and oak forests, while the southern portions are Middle Atlantic coastal forests.

The State’s History

Prior to settlement by European colonists, this area was inhabited by the Eastern Algonquian tribes After the arrival of foreign colonists, the tribes were relocated or baptized to be considered Christian. In the official records, they were grouped with other non-white peoples.

The Dutch were the first people to settle in modern day DE by first creating a trading post at Zwaanendael near the site of Lewes in 1631. Unfortunately, the entire post was killed in a conflict with the local native tribes. This gave way to another Swedish trading post being established later, which lasted for seventeen years.

The Dutch returned with a fort at New Castle which conquered the New Sweden colony in 1655. It was annexed into the Dutch New Netherland afterward. Just nine years later, the English conquered this area and was taken by the James, the Duke of York. The Duke sold this ownership to William Penn in 1682.

In the early years of the territory, the economy was very reliant on labor. Therefore, the state imported more slaves than English immigrants. The northern and southern counties were divided when it came time to join the revolution. Despite this, the state was able to cast a vote for independence once the Colonial Assembly was convinced to do so.

This change of heart came as a result of Thomas McKean and Caesar Rodney who were patriots that helped convinced the assembly. During the American Revolution, DE provided some of the finest regiments in the Continental Army known as the “Blue Hen’s Chicks.”

In the Civil War, the state did not vote for secession and remained part of the Union. It was the only slave state not to secede and join the Confederacy. Shortly after the war, all of the slaves were freed, but the 13th,14th, and 15th amendments were rejected.

Delaware State Symbols

These symbols have all been approved by the General Assembly. Starting with the flag. Looking at it, we see a diamond in the center surrounded by a colonial shade of blue. Inside the diamond is the coat of arms and below is a date: December 7, 1787. This was when DE became a state, the first state actually.

The colors of the flag are representative of George Washington’s uniform. The coat of arms on the flag includes a sheaf of wheat, an ear of corn, and an ox standing on grass. These are all symbols of the state’s agriculture. Above the shield you’ll see a sailing ship. To the left is a farmer and to the right is a soldier.

The state motto “Liberty and Independence” is written beneath the shield.  There are several nicknames attributed to the state as well:

  • The First State – it was the first one to ratify the U.S. Constitution
  • The Diamond State – Thomas Jefferson once referred to it as a jewel among states because of the coastal location.
  • The Blue Hen State – Soldiers carried Blue Hen Cocks for entertainment during the Revolution
  • Small Wonder – Major contributions from one of the smallest places in the U.S.

In addition to these, there are a number of natural symbols recognized by DE:

  • Bird – The Blue Hen
  • Tree- The American Holly
  • Flower – Peach Blossom
  • Insect – Lady Bug
  • Fish – The Weakfish
  • Beverage – Milk
  • Marine animal – Horseshoe Crab
  • Fruit – Strawberry

Final Thoughts

Despite the small size of Delaware, it is a very popular state for a number of reasons. Everything you want or need is within proximity of a five minute drive. The Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuse is one of the most popular attractions in the area.

Tax free shopping and low real estate taxes bring in plenty of plenty of people to the area. Now that you’re finished here, check out our list of Delaware state facts to continue learning more about this place. Don’t forget to share your own opinions and experiences in the comments below!

printable map of Delaware



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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