Delaware History - the history of Delaware
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Delaware   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Delaware History


Delaware History

Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is today the state of Delaware was home to the Unami League (also known as "Delaware") and Nanticoke Native American groups. The Unami League lived in a settled agricultural and hunting society.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to arrive in present day Delaware, and established a trading post near Lewesin 1633. However, all the settlers were wiped out within a year following a dispute with the Native Americans. In 1638, a Swedish colony was established near Wilmington. In 1651, tbe Dutch returned, established a new fort near the site of present day New Castle, and in 1655 absorbed the entire Swedish colony.

In 1664, the Dutch were evicted by the British under James, the Duke of York. William Penn wanted an outlet to the sea for his Pennsylvania province, so leased the " Lower Counties on the Delaware" from the Duke. As a result, from 1682 to 1704, Delaware and Pennsylvania had a combined General Assembly. Even after 1704, Penn and his heirs remained the Proprietors of both Delaware and Pennsylvania, and always appointed the same person as Governor for both colonies.

During the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), Delaware was initially reluctant to break with Britain. Delaware did however provide one of the premier regiments of the Continental Army, known as the "Delaware Blues" and nicknamed the "Blue Hen Chickens". Following the Revolution, Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Delaware was founded as a slave state. Various local attempts were made to abolish slavery in the state, but all failed even though there were relatively few slaves in Delaware. Nevertheless, despite being a slave site, Delaware remained in the Union during the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), and was the only slave state not to assemble Confederate regiments or militia groups (although some of Delaware's citizens did fight on the Confederate side in Maryland or Virginia regiments).

Slavery was finally abolished in Delaware at the same time it was abolished in the country as a whole: when the 13th Amendment took effect in December 1865. After the abolition of slavery, the state legislature adopted a policy of segregation including poll tax and Jim Crow laws. Only in the mid 1950s did these restrictions begin to disappear, with the integration of the school system.

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Revolutionary Delaware: Independence in the First State (Military)

By Kim Rogers Burdick

The History Press
Released: 2016-11-21
Paperback (176 pages)

Revolutionary Delaware: Independence in the First State (Military)
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In 1776, Delaware declared independence from both England and Pennsylvania. Originally known as the Three Lower Counties of Pennsylvania, the First State was instrumental in the fight to form a new republic. The Marquis de Lafayette, Nathanael Greene and George Washington all made trips to the state. Caesar Rodney's ride and the Battle of Cooch's Bridge are legendary, but the state has many unsung heroes. Citizens from every village, town, crossroads and marsh risked their lives to support their beliefs. Author Kim Burdick offers the carefully documented story of ordinary people coping with extraordinary circumstances.

The Delaware Indians: A History

By Professor C. A. Weslager

Rutgers University Press
Paperback (568 pages)

The Delaware Indians: A History
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"One of the best tribal histories . . . the product of decades of study by a layman archeologist-historian. With a rich blend of archeology, anthropology, Indian oral traditions (he gives us one of the best accounts of the Walum Olum, the fascinating hieroglyphics depicting the tribal origins of the Delaware), and documentary research, Weslager writes for the general reader as well as the scholar."--American Historical Review

In the seventeenth century white explorers and settlers encountered a tribe of Indians calling themselves Lenni Lenape along the Delaware River and its tributaries in New Jersey, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York. Today communities of their descendants, known as Delawares, are found in Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Ontario, and individuals of Delaware ancestry are mingled with the white populations in many other states. The Delaware Indians is the first comprehensive account of what happened to the main body of the Delaware Nation over the past three centuries.

C. A. Weslager puts into perspective the important events in United States history in which the Delawares participated and he adds new information about the Delawares. He bridges the gap between history and ethnology by analyzing the reasons why the Delawares were repeatedly victimized by the white man.

They Fought for the Union: A History of the First Delaware Volunteers in the Army of the Potomac

By Jeffrey R. Biggs

Belli Civilis Press
Paperback (526 pages)

They Fought for the Union: A History of the First Delaware Volunteers in the Army of the Potomac
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One of the hardest fighting regiments in the Civil War, the First Delaware Volunteers battled in virtually every engagement with the Army of the Potomac's Second Corps from Antietam to Appomattox. One of only a handful of regiments from a slave state, the First Delaware would pay a higher price than many for the cost of restoring a broken country. The Delawareans seemed destined to always be found at the worst possible position; at the worst possible moment; on the worst of all Civil War battlefields. As if the gods of war themselves had deemed that these slave state volunteers pay a larger price than others for "every drop of blood drawn by the lash." Largely forgotten in post-Civil War memory, The Fought For the Union revisits these border state soldiers through a wealth of untapped sources, personal accounts and soldier's diaries while always placing these conflicted soldiers into the larger context of the Army of the Potomac's struggles in the Eastern Theatre of the war. From the original recruitment as a three-month regiment to the end of the conflict four years later, the author's candid retelling of these extraordinary and oftentimes flawed men is riveting.

The Illustrated Delaware River: The History of a Great American River

By Hal Taylor

Hardcover (288 pages)

The Illustrated Delaware River: The History of a Great American River
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Filled with 140 finely-crafted original drawings and paintings, this book is designed to guide readers as they explore the rich and diverse heritage of the historic Delaware River Valley. This waterway that defines the common borders of the states of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York has hosted some of the most monumental events in the history of the United States. From its discovery by Henry Hudson over 400 years ago, to its crossing by George Washington during the Revolution, and through its course of over 330 miles, the Delaware River offers us much to learn. This entertaining guide introduces the reader to the events, places, and people that make the Delaware one of America’s truly great rivers.

A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Its People, Volume 1

By John Woolf Jordan

Nabu Press
Paperback (430 pages)

A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Its People, Volume 1
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This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Vol. 1 of 2 (Classic Reprint)

By John Thomas Scharf

Forgotten Books
Paperback (428 pages)

History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Vol. 1 of 2 (Classic Reprint)
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Excerpt from History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Vol. 1 of 2

While It is remarkable that so important and intermting a field of historiml investigation should have been neglected in these latter days of keen and deep research into the individu alities, the environment, the motives, the labors and the rewards of the pmple who laid the foundations and elected the superstructures of the American commonwealth, it any be summed that in the use of Delaware, the dificulties of a complete and erulitable work seemed even more insurmountable, than the temptation to enter this almost unexplored domain was attractive. To undertake an exhaustive inquiry and carry it to successful completion has been a task that enlisted patient determination, thorough sympathy with the subject, minute scrutiny and that liberal enterprise which the publishers have generously furnished. Now, after many months of toil, in which the lore of Delaware, the fragmentary records left by its pioneers, the stages of its progress and the collections of European and American writers bearing upon its establishment and growth, have been compelled to yield their 14c or open treasures, this history is put forth with full confidence that no means have been unem. Ployed'to secure its accuracy and completeness in detail or as a whole.

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This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

History of Delaware

By John A. Munroe

Brand: University of Delaware
Hardcover (304 pages)

History of Delaware
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Originally undertaken by the author as a Bicentennial project in 1975, and now the standard history of the state, this volume chronicles the history of Delaware from the early 1600s to the present.

Fenwick Island, Delaware: A Brief History

By Mary Pat Kyle

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2008-07-01
Paperback (128 pages)

Fenwick Island, Delaware: A Brief History
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Though not truly an island, Fenwick fits the stereotype, with its history of swashbuckling pirates anchored offshore, fierce storms pounding the coastline and treasures rumored to be buried beneath its sands. Respected journalist Mary Pat Kyle introduces readers to the legendary sea bandit
Captain Kidd, the elusive beach-dwelling widow Zippy Lewis and other storied characters that have populated this quiet beach community and shaped its history throughout the centuries. Incorporating recollections from local icons
Paul and Dorothy Pepper and clips from Kyle’s extensive storm coverage for the Delmarva News and The Whale, this history of Fenwick Island captures the essence of life in one of Delaware’s quiet beach resorts.

Rehoboth Beach in Vintage Postcards (Postcard History: Delaware)

By Nan Devincent-Hayes

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2002-05-20
Paperback (128 pages)

Rehoboth Beach in Vintage Postcards (Postcard History: Delaware)
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Rehoboth Beach is heralded as the “nation's summer capital.” Located along the Atlantic Coast within 100 miles of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia, Delaware's treasured resort has provided millions of tourists with unforgettable memories along its mile-long boardwalk and white, sandy beach. Vintage postcards and photographs will allow readers to experience the thrill of this renowned beach and see why many have made Rehoboth their choice for vacations, holidays, and getaways time and time again-and why some call it home year-round. This photo album features then-and-now scenes of the beach, documents the rise of other attractions surrounding the area, pays homage to storms that shook the seacoast, and showcases some of the people, festivals, hotels, and motels that make this a special place to visit.

Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)

By David Hackett Fischer

Fischer, David Hackett
Released: 2006-02-01
Paperback (576 pages)

Washington s Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)
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  • ISBN13: 9780195181593
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Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia.

Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, George Washington--and many other Americans--refused to let the Revolution die. On Christmas night, as a howling nor'easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men. A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis's best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night, Washington's men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined.

Fischer's richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events. We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning.

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