|Length of highway network||141 km|
Delaware is a state in the northeastern United States. It is the second smallest state by area, after Rhode Island. The state covers an area of 6,452 square kilometers, making it slightly larger than the province of Gelderland. The state has 1 million inhabitants (2021) and the capital is Dover. The largest city is Wilmington.
Delaware is located on the Atlantic Ocean and largely on the Delmarva Peninsula, a large peninsula with Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay to the east. The Delmarva Peninsula is named after the three states that make up it, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Delaware borders only Maryland and Pennsylvania by land, and New Jersey across the mouth of the Delaware River. The state measures a maximum of 150 kilometers from north to south and a maximum of 55 kilometers from west to east. The border with Pennsylvania is formed by the ‘Twelve-Mile Circle’ from New Castle.
The state is mostly flat and urbanized to the north. The state has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay with plenty of sandy beaches, especially in the south of the state. The Delaware River is the largest river, but is only a tidal river in Delaware. The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal bisects the north of the state and has historically been the dividing line between the urbanized north and the rural center, although more residential areas have been built south of the canal in more recent years.
The state has a temperate subtropical climate that is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The average maximum temperature in Dover is 6°C in winter and 30°C in summer. Most extreme weather is in the form of storms, although the state is rarely directly affected by a hurricane.
Delaware’s economy is predominantly service-oriented. The government is an important employer, especially in the capital Dover. Wilmington’s economy is intertwined with that of Philadelphia, which has some heavy industry. The DuPont chemical plant is one of the largest private sector employers. Agriculture is still important in central and southern Delaware.
Population of Delaware had a relatively slow growth in the early years, between 1790 and 1850 the population only grew from 59,000 to 92,000 inhabitants. The population only started to grow numerically faster after the Second World War. In the 1960s, the limit of half a million inhabitants was exceeded. In 2021, Delaware had more than 1 million inhabitants for the first time.
The state has no major cities, although the Wilmington metropolitan area is still quite large. See list of cities in Delaware. The state consists of only three counties, more than half of which live in northern New Castle County.
The first Europeans in Delaware were Dutch who founded the village of Zwaanendael in 1631. It belonged to New Netherlands for some time, but was conquered by the English in 1664. Delaware became the first state of the Union on December 7, 1787, neighboring states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania followed a few days later, and neighboring Maryland the following year.