Delaware //, named after Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. The state, located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, ranks 49th in land area, and 45th in population, but 7th in population density. The highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, in the Brandywine Hundred, does not even rise 450 feet above sea level. Delaware's largest city and economic hub, Wilmington, is located about halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C., within commuting distance of both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.
Before the Dutch established a trading post at Zwaanendael in 1631, the area was home to a number of Eastern Algonquian tribes of Native Americans. Prior to the American Revolution, the territory became known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware", under the control of William Penn and his heirs. Delaware declared its independence from the colony of Pennsylvania and the Kingdom of Great Britain on June 15, 1776. The all night ride of Caesar Rodney to cast the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence is commemorated in the state quarter issued in 1999.
Delaware's largest private employers include Bank of America, DuPont, Christiana Care Health System, JPMorgan Chase, AstraZeneca, Wal-Mart, Mountaire Farms, Dover Downs, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Perdue Farms, Wilmington Trust, and Pepco Holdings. The state's Congressional Delegation includes Democratic Senators Thomas R. Carper and Chris Coons, and Democratic Representative John C. Carney, Jr..
Delaware has several National Historic Landmarks and National Wildlife Refuges, along with other botanical gardens, museums, festivals, parks, houses, lighthouses, and historic places.
The Delaware Memorial Bridge is the world's longest twin suspension bridge, connecting New Castle, Delaware and Pennsville, New Jersey over the Delaware River. The toll bridge, which is operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, is approximately two and one-half miles long, with the main span measuring 2,150 feet. The bridge was designed with consulting help from famous engineer Othmar Ammann, whose other designs include the Walt Whitman Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Construction of the first span began on June 15, 1948, and it was dedicated on August 16, 1951 in honor of the Delaware and New Jersey soldiers who lost their lives in World War II. The American Institute of Steel Construction named it the most beautiful large steel span of its time. Construction of the second span began on April 15, 1964, and it was dedicated on September 12, 1968, in honor of the Delaware and New Jersey soldiers who lost their lives in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
- ...that American Indian poet and Delaware-native James Dillet Freeman is referred to as the "poet laureate to the moon"? His 1941 "Prayer for Protection" was taken aboard Apollo 11 in July 1969 by Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and a microfilm of his 1947 "I Am There" was left on the moon by James B. Irwin on Apollo 15.
- ...that according to a survey by the National Science Foundation, Delaware has more doctoral-level (Ph.D.) scientists and engineers, as a percentage of the population, than any other state? Delaware also has a higher rate of patent awards, per person, than any other state.