Famous as the First State to ratify the Constitution, Delaware was born out of a conflict among three world powers for dominance of the Delaware Valley. From this beginning, the region developed a distinct character that tolerated diversity in religion and national origin and valued independence.
The First State National Historical Park's mission is to convey the crucial role Delaware played in the country's founding, from the first settlement in Lewes to the ratification of the Constitution in December 1787.
Initially, it was the setting for imperial conflicts as the Netherlands, Sweden, and England struggled for control of the Delaware Valley. By the time William Penn arrived in 1682, the spirit of independence had been firmly established in his "Three Lower Counties on the Delaware". In 1704, representatives from the Counties demanded and were granted their own Assembly. In 1776, that separation became complete; the Counties cut all ties with Pennsylvania and Great Britain and declared the State of Delaware.
Today the state-wide First State National Historical Park is comprised of seven locations from the mature forest in which the Indians and early settlers lived north of Wilmington to the oldest standing house in Delaware in the quiet coastal town of Lewes. These seven locations are: The Woodlawn Tract at Beaver Valley, Fort Christina, John Dickinson Plantation, New Castle Court House Museum, Old Sweedes Historic Site, Ryves Holt House, and The Green, Dover.
To learn more about the First State National Historic Park please visit the National Park Service.