Famous Firsts

  • In 1682, William Penn set foot on the shores of the New World for the first time in what is today New Castle, Delaware. The purpose of the visit was to lay claim to a vast land grant from King Charles II which would eventually become the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania. New Castle, the colonial capital of Delaware, is now a popular destination for visitors.
  • The original Stars and Stripes - the 13-star flag sewn by Betsy Ross - was first flown during the 1777 Battle of Cooch's Bridge in Delaware. It was the only Revolutionary War battle fought in the state. The battlefield, featuring a monument, cannon and plaque, is on Route 4, east of Route 896, in Newark.
  • Delaware was the first state to ratify the new U.S. Constitution (December 7, 1787) and, thus earned its title, the "First State."
  • As a hub of transportation, Delaware was the first to complete a concrete highway running the entire length of the state, now part of U.S 13.
  • Wilmington, Delaware was a major iron-and-steel-working center; here, the first iron ship-building began, the first iron steamship was launched, and the steel for the entire suspended superstructure of the Brooklyn Bridge was made.
  • Dr. Wallace Carothers, working at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware, discovers Fiber 66, the first synthetic fiber (nylon) in 1935.