What Was the First State Found?
The United States of America is a nation that boasts a rich history, with each state contributing to its unique tapestry. But have you ever wondered which state was the very first to be discovered? The answer to this question may surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, the first state discovered was not one of the original thirteen colonies. Instead, it was the state of Delaware that holds the distinction of being the first state found. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history behind the discovery of Delaware and answer some frequently asked questions about this significant event.
The Discovery of Delaware:
Delaware, known as “The First State,” is a small Mid-Atlantic state located on the eastern coast of the United States. The European discovery of Delaware can be attributed to the Dutch explorer Henry Hudson, who was searching for a Northwest Passage to Asia in the early 17th century. In 1609, Hudson sailed into Delaware Bay and claimed the area for the Dutch East India Company. However, it was not until 1631 that the Dutch established a permanent settlement in the region, which they named “Zwaanendael” or “Valley of the Swans.”
The Dutch colony at Zwaanendael was short-lived, as it was destroyed by local Native American tribes in 1632. Despite this setback, the Dutch continued to maintain a presence in the region and established Fort Casimir in 1651. However, their control over the area was short-lived, as the British seized the fort in 1654 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
In 1664, the British officially took control of the entire Delaware region, including present-day Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, from the Dutch. The area was initially administered as part of the Province of New York. However, in 1682, William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, obtained a royal charter for the land that would become Delaware. From that point on, Delaware operated as a separate colony under Penn’s administration.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why is Delaware known as “The First State”?
A: Delaware is known as “The First State” because it was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787. This act made Delaware the first state to join the newly formed United States of America.
Q: Wasn’t Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement?
A: While Jamestown, Virginia, was indeed the first permanent English settlement in North America, it is important to note that the discovery of Delaware predates Jamestown. Delaware was initially explored and settled by the Dutch before the English established their presence in Jamestown.
Q: What is the significance of Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution?
A: Delaware’s ratification of the United States Constitution played a crucial role in its adoption by the other states. Being the first state to ratify the Constitution helped build momentum and support for its acceptance throughout the country. Furthermore, Delaware’s decision to join the Union set a precedent for the other states to follow.
Q: Is Delaware the smallest state in the United States?
A: Yes, Delaware is the second smallest state in terms of land area, right after Rhode Island. However, despite its small size, Delaware has a rich history and a vibrant economy.
Q: What are some notable landmarks in Delaware?
A: Delaware is home to several notable landmarks, including Cape Henlopen State Park, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Additionally, the state’s capital, Dover, boasts historic sites such as the Old State House and the John Dickinson Plantation.
In conclusion, Delaware holds the distinction of being the first state discovered in the United States. Its history is intertwined with Dutch exploration, British colonization, and its pivotal role in the ratification of the United States Constitution. Despite its small size, Delaware’s significance in American history cannot be understated. It stands as a testament to the diverse and complex story of the nation’s founding.