Delaware Timeline

Events

Delaware is the first state to ratify the new U.S. Constitution.

1787

A gunpowder mill is established that becomes Wilmington’s famous Du Pont Company.

1802

Currently, the Du Pont Company is the world's third largest chemical company.

Peter Spencer founds the African Union Methodist Protestant Church.

1812

AUMP is the first denomination in the nation controlled entirely by African-Americans.

Delaware legislature votes against the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1865

The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, and its failure in Delaware was representative of the divide slavery created in Delaware. Delaware is the only slave state from which no Confederate regiments or militia groups were assembled

Property qualifications for voter registration abolished in Delaware. .

1897

Removing property qualifications was essential to expanding universal suffrage

Nearly 10,000 Delawareans serve in World War I.

1917

The regiment's federal duty was to defend vital utility and communications points against possible German sabotage. The regiment won high praise at camp Dix for its excellent training, and Company E was commended for its part in field testing the new model Army gas mask.

DuPont Company opens first nylon plant in Seaford

1939

Nylon is the first industrially-produced synthetic fabric, and it is toughest, strongest and most elastic substances we have today.

Riots break out in Wilmington

1968

Riots broke out after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. These race riots prompted the 10-month occupation of city by National Guard, the longest occupation in the country. This is representative of the tumultuous state of race relations in the urban North and white flight.

Delaware passes the Coastal Zone Act

1971

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act prohibits construction of industrial plants on coastal areas. It was one of the first acts of environmental legislation and paved the way for many others.

Delaware passes Civil Unions Bill

2011

Delaware passes the Civil Unions Bill, which recognizes marriages between same-sex Delaware couples as legal relationships. Civil unions established in other states have the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities as married persons under Delaware law. This was a watershed for the gay rights movement in Delaware.

People

Tamanend

1625 - 1701

Tamanend, leader of the Delaware Nation, signed an agreement with William Penn in 1683 to have European settlers and Native Americans live alongside in peace. See insert, Lenape brochure

Thomas Garrett

1789 - 1871

Thomas Garrett was responsible for assisting nearly 2,700 escaping slaves by means of the Underground Railroad. Found guilty of violating the Fugitive Slave Law in 1848, he was fined heavily and lost all of his property.

Henry Seidel Canby

1878 - 1961

Henry Seidel Canby was a prominent Delawarean author who wrote many books that were character studies of middle class life in Wilmington in 1919. He was responsible for advocating for worker's rights and the rights of the lower class.

Louis Lorenzo Redding

1902 - 1998

Louis Lorenzo Redding, the first African American to be admitted to the Delaware Bar, is part of NAACP legal team that challenged school segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Henry Heimlich

1920 - Present day

Henry Heimlich, a physician from Delaware, invents the Heimlich Maneuver to prevent deaths from choking in 1974. Since its invention, the Heimlich Maneuver has saved over 50,000 people.

Stephanie Kwolek

1923 - 2014

Stephanie Kwolek invents Kevlar in Du Pont, in 1964. Kevlar was the first of a family of synthetic fibers with exceptional strength and stiffness. It is commonly used today fragmentation-resistant (bullet proof) vests as well as in boats, airplanes, ropes, cables, tires, tennis racquets, skis —in total about 200 applications.