The Robinson Library
The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Middle Atlantic States >> Delaware
Important Dates in Delaware

Historic Delaware

1609 English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into present-day Delaware Bay.
1610 Captain Samuel Argall of the Virginia colony sailed into the bay, seeking shelter from a storm. It was he who named the bay in honor of Lord De La Warr, then Governor of Virginia.
1631 The Dutch established a settlement at Zwaanendael (present-day Lewes). Within a year, natives massacred the settlers and burned the fort.
1638 Swedish settlers founded New Sweden, the first permanent settlement in Delaware. They also founded Fort Christina at present-day
1651 Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, established Fort Casimir at present-day New Castle.
1654 The Swedish colonists captured Fort Casimir.
1655 The Dutch captured all of New Sweden and made it part of New Netherland.
1664 England captured all of New Netherland, including the Delaware region.
1673 The Dutch recaptured New Sweden.
1674 The Dutch peacefully returned New Sweden to the English.
1682 The Duke of York gave the Delaware region to
William Penn as a territory of his Pennsylvania colony. Penn established representative government for the territory.

1701 Delegates from the Delaware territory petitioned Penn for a separate legislature. The petition was granted.
1704 The first separate legislature of what is now Delaware met. The territory continued to be governed by Pennsylvania until the
Revolutionary War, however.

1776 Delaware became a separate state and adopted its first constitution. New Castle was designated as the state capital.

September 3, 1777 American troops met British troops at Coochs Bridge near Newark. The outnumbered Americans retreated, ending the first and only Revolutionary War battle to be fought in Delaware.
September 12, 1777 The British occupied Wilmington. Soon after, Delaware moved its capital from New Castle to Dover because of the closeness of British troops.

December 7, 1787 Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1792 Delaware officially changed its name from the Delaware State to the State of Delaware.

1802 Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, a French immigrant, established a powder mill on Brandywine Creek near Wilmington.

1865 Slavery was abolished in Delaware.

1897 Delaware's present constitution was adopted.

Henry Hudson
William Penn
Revolutionary War
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Middle Atlantic States >> Delaware

This page was last updated on March 29, 2018.