What is Delaware famous for?

Small but the first, Nascar and low taxes are a few things we instantly correlate with Delaware, but besides these, what is Delaware famous for?

In the USA‘s mid-Atlantic region, Delaware borders only three states: Maryland to the south and west, Pennsylvania to the north; and New Jersey to the east. It takes the name of the Delaware River, which in turn was named after Baron de la Warr, the governor of Virginia when the river was first explored.

For obvious reasons, Delaware has the official nickname of “the first state,” but on occasion, it is also called “the diamond state” and “the small wonder.” It’s the diamond state, in reference to Thomas Jefferson’s calling Delaware a “jewel” among the states. On the other hand, it’s “the small wonder” because of its considerable contributions to America, despite its small size.

But, without further delays, let’s explain what is Delaware famous for!

7 things Delaware is famous for

The first state

As we mentioned above, Delaware is known as “the first state,” and the reason is pretty simple: it was the first state to enter the Union. Delaware was one of the thirteen original colonies to sign the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July of 1776. In June of the same year, Delaware had already adopted a resolution declaring the end of the colony status of Delaware.

Delaware took an active part in the American Revolution, which officially ended in 1783 after the treaty of Paris was signed. The treaty of Paris confirmed the United States’ victory in the American revolutionary war, thus confirming the new independent status of the USA and, consequently, of Delaware.

On the 7th of December of 1787, Delaware took the lead in approving the fundamental law of the USA. All 30 delegates to the Delaware Constitutional Convention ratified the newly written U.S. Constitution, making Delaware the first of the 13 original colonies to approve the U.S. Constitution.

However, the constitution would only take effect when 9 of the 13 states ratified it, which only happened on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire did it.

What is Delaware famous for?
Delaware State Capitol | What is Delaware famous for

Small size

What is Delaware known for? Being small, very small… Delaware is the second smallest state in the USA, only after tiny Rhode Island. Connecticut, the third smallest state, is more than two times larger than Delaware.

So, how small is Delaware? Quite small – tiny, really. Delaware is only 96 miles (154 km) long, and its widest point is only 35 miles (56km), covering 5,130 km2, of which 5,047 km2 is land. The state is divided into only three counties, which is the lowest number of any state. From North to South, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex.

Delaware also has a low population. With almost 1,000,000 inhabitants, Delaware is the 6th least populous state. On the other hand, it is the sixth most densely populated state, which is also explained by its small size. Delaware doesn’t have any large cities. In fact, it doesn’t have any city larger than 100,000 people – Wilmington is the largest, with roughly 75,000 people.

Being a tax-free state

Delaware is one of the few tax-free states in the USA. Sales tax-free, we mean, Delaware obviously collects taxes in other ways. Besides Delaware, also Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and New Hampshire don’t have a sales tax. This means that Delaware is the only state on the central and southern-eastern coast without a sales tax.

Being the only state in a vast region where millions of people live without a sales tax, it attracts many visitors looking for tax-free shopping. People from DC, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Carolina, New Jersey, and so on come to Delaware to shop in style while finding great deals. There are huge malls in Northern Delaware, but you can also find funky beach boutiques down south.

Delaware has the exact opposite tax strategy as Nevada. While Nevada built a considerable tourism industry to attract people and charges a relatively high sales tax, Delaware attracts travelers by not charging a sales tax.

However, we should note that the state imposes a tax on the gross revenue of most businesses, with the percentage depending on the activity category.

Famous things about Delaware
Delaware Water Gap | Famous things about Delaware

Incorporated companies

As someone who majored in Economics, when someone asks me what Delaware is famous for, I immediately think of all the incorporated companies. Delaware may be known for alluring people to the state by not assessing a sales tax, but it is even more famous and successful in attracting businesses.

How successful? A few numbers will suffice to clarify…

  • There are about 1.3 million companies in Delaware… that’s more companies than people (1M)
  • More than half of the businesses listed in the NYSE are domiciled in Delaware;
  • 66% of the Fortune 500 companies are “from Delaware”;
  • Almost every startup company in the last years has incorporated in Delaware:

Why does everyone want to go to Delaware? It’s quite simple when you are a de facto onshore corporate haven with extremely business-friendly corporate laws.

This is not the article to explain the technicalities. Still, in simple terms, Delaware created a tax system that allows businesses numerous ways to legally minimize their tax bills, even if they are generated elsewhere.

They also don’t charge taxes on profits on royalty payments, trademarks, copyrights, inheritance, VATs, capital shares, or stock transfers. Finally, it is also straightforward, flexible, and fast to create companies in Delaware.

In other words, if you make things easy, people come to you… Delaware seems to have taken this to the extreme.

What is Delaware known for
Delaware Memorial Bridge

Chemical manufacturing

Many of the biggest companies in America are incorporated in Delaware, but only a few are really from Delaware. And out of those, almost all of them are chemical companies, which explains why Delaware is known for chemical manufacturing and research.

Delaware, and Wilmington in particular, is known as the chemical capital of the world. It is the administrative and/or research center of several companies like Hercules, AstraZeneca, and, most importantly, DuPont. Delaware’s Chemical industry cluster provides one of the most prosperous research environments for chemical innovation. 

In the chemical industry, we need to mention DuPont, as it has had its headquarters in Wilmington since 1802. The company has been crucial for the state’s development and the development of the chemical cluster. DuPont merged with Dow in 2017, creating DowDupont, which in 2019 ranked as the 35th largest United States public corporation.


Delaware is home to Dover International Speedway, a famous race track in Dover that hosts two Nascar races every year. It is considered the fastest concrete oval track and has the reputation of being very tough on drivers and gear, earning the name “Monster Mile.”

Built in 1969, it has hosted more than 50 years of Nascar racing, making it one of the most important destinations for Nascar lovers. It is the largest concrete-only NASCAR venue in history, with an increased capacity of 95 000 seats (it used to be 135 000).

The Speedway has a 1-mile (1.6 km) concrete oval, with 24° banking in the turns and 9° banking on the straights. Besides the famous NASCAR races, it also receives Indy races. Almost as renowned as the track is the 46-foot (14 m) Monster Monument – a statue of Miles, the Monster. the Speedway’s mascot.

Everything about Delaware
Dover International Speedway- Nascar | What is Delaware known for

Records and fun facts about Delaware

Finally, besides being very small and the first state, Delaware is appreciated for a series of other records and quirky fun facts. Let’s explore some of the most popular and entertaining:

  • The Dutch tried settling in Delaware in 1631 but were killed by the native Americans.
  • In 1638, the Swedish were successful and created Fort Christia, which is now Wilmington.
  • Built in 1698, the Holy Trinity Church is the oldest Protestant church in the US is in Delaware;
  • Joe Biden, the 46th US president, is from Pennsylvania, but he was a US senator for Delaware between 1973-2009;
  • The Delaware Memorial Bridge between Delaware and New Jersey is the longest tween-span suspension bridge in the world;
  • In 2013, Delaware was the last US state to receive a National Monument or Park. It was First State National Historic Park.
  • Delaware is the lowest US state, with an average elevation of only 60 feet.
  • The Delaware Bay is home to the largest colony of horseshoe crabs in the World – these animals are older than the dinosaurs;
  • Delaware has the fastest internet of all 50 states;
what is Delaware famous for - The Delaware bay
Delaware Bay | What is Delaware famous for

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