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Delaware

"The Small Wonder" made big history on December 7, 1787, when it became the first of Britain's thirteen American colonies to ratify the United States Constitution, and thus the first of the country's 50 current states. The second-smallest U.S. state by land area, Delaware is situated on the East Coast alongside its namesake Delaware River and Bay as well as a small portion of the Atlantic Ocean. It borders Maryland to the south and west along the Mason-Dixon Line, Pennsylvania to the north on a curved land border known as the Twelve-Mile Circle, and, over the River, Bay and two very small portions of land across the water, New Jersey. The state's capital is Dover, and its largest city is Wilmington, a satellite of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Delaware's population at the 2020 Census was approximately 990,000; about 60 percent of this figure resides in New Castle County, which benefits from its location along the immediate Northeast corridor. Delaware's three counties are the fewest of any U.S. state, including Alaska's census areas and boroughs.


Up north, Newark in New Castle County is a college town which hosts the University of Delaware. Brandywine Park, a designated historic property, lies west of Wilmington on the banks of the Brandywine River and contains a zoo. Wilmington emerged with the help of the DuPont chemical company, now branded as Axalta. Middletown, on the south side of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, has been a sprawling bedroom community since the dawn of the 21st century. Mid-state, Dover is home to the Delaware Legislative Hall, the Dover Air Force Base and NASCAR's Dover Motor Speedway, Dover Downs horse track and Bally's casino; it is also the site of a dead mall, the Blue Hen Corporate Center. To the south in Sussex County lies the state's beach towns: Lewes, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach, as well as the barrier Fenwick Island which extends into Maryland toward Ocean City.


Delaware's three Interstate highways all lie within New Castle County. Interstate 95 runs 23 miles between the areas of Newark and Wilmington, on its path between Baltimore, Maryland and Philadelphia. Interstate 295 heads east from I-95 south of Wilmington and provides a connection with the New Jersey Tunrpike via the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Interstate 495 is a bypass of downtown Wilmington better suited for long-distance traffic. The main north-south highway serving all three counties is U.S. Route 13, serving Seaford, Bridgeville, Harrington, downtown Dover and Smyrna before bearing northeast through New Castle and Wilmington and subsequently dipping into Pennsylvania. U.S. Route 113 is southern Delaware's secondary inland corridor, serving Sussex County seat Georgetown and reaching Milford in very-lower Kent County. U.S. Route 40 parallels I-95 to east of Bear, overlaps with US 13 for a few miles, then hops onto I-295 for a trip over the Delaware River. U.S. Route 9 runs horizontally through Sussex County to the Lewes-Cape May ferry, and U.S. Route 202 has its start just southwest of Wilmington.