What was the first state in the USA?

This is a tricky question. Here’s a clue: the first colony differs from the first official state. What was the first U.S. state? Delaware! Read on to learn more about the first state in the union and the first American colony.

American flag waving in the sky
American flag (Photo credit: Frankljunior, Depositphotos.com)

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First State in the USA

Most sources, including the 50 State Quarters program, recognize statehood according to the dates on which the states accepted the current U.S. Constitution. According to this method, Delaware holds the title of the first official U.S. state.

It ratified the Constitution on December 7, 1787 when all 30 delegates to the Delaware Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution and declared an end to Delaware’s status as a colony of Great Britain. Next up was Delaware’s neighbor, Pennsylvania, five days later.

Delaware's State Flag
Delaware’s State Flag (Photo credit: fckncg, Depositphotos.com)

History of Delaware

Delaware is so proud of it premier status that its official State Nickname is “The First State.” Despite this distinction, Delaware is the only state without any National Park System units such as national parks, seashores, historic sites, battlefields, memorials, and monuments.

In terms of geographic size, Delaware is the 49th largest in the nation, outranking only Rhode Island. Delaware is named after Lord de la Warr, the first governor of Virginia.

Want to visit first state in the USA? Take a look at popular attractions in Delaware!

Flag of the original Thirteen Colonies
Flag of the original Thirteen Colonies (Photo credit: tab62, Depositphotos.com)

First Colony

Jamestown in Virginia was the first U.S. colony. It was established in 1607. English settlers had settled at Jamestown 11 years before any white people set foot in Delaware. In spite of this, Virginia was tenth to become an official state.

The 13 colonies, located along the Atlantic Coast of North America, declared independence from the British Empire in 1776. This baker’s dozen of colonies were considered members of the United Colonies after the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Continental Congress changed the country’s name officially to the United States of America in September of that same year.

Delaware State Capital
Delaware State Capital (Photo credit: sframe, Depositphotos.com)

Learn More

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What was the first state in the USA?

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  1. Just found your site looking through geography and leopard seals (got there because of my curiosity in Antarctica lol). Love what you do! A question though, I do think it’s extremely important to highlight the dangers of differing weather disasters that may occur traveling to a new geographical location but I most often fear for the threat of the crime by natives. Being a foreigner to these new locations, do you offer trivia for this or just information on what risks you are susceptible to as a foreigner? Scams, gang violence, kidnapping, burglary?
    Sorry this is so long, I just have known too many die abroad by native people and it keeps me from wanting to travel altogether. Thanks!

  2. Hello
    Was wondering what happened to the Travel Trivia site. Played for quite some time, but it stopped showing up after the 1st of Jan.