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Sometimes it's Hard to Find Little Delaware

  • Ted Landphair

The Du Pont chemical corporation and several insurance companies, banks, and credit-card firms are among those with corporate headquarters on or near Wilmington's Rodney Square.

The Du Pont chemical corporation and several insurance companies, banks, and credit-card firms are among those with corporate headquarters on or near Wilmington's Rodney Square.

But big corporations know exactly where it is

Unless they live there or quite nearby, most people would be hard-pressed to tell you 10 things - or even 5 - about Delaware, America's second-smallest state and the sixth-smallest in population.

Delaware is dwarfed by the larger, surrounding states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. It has a couple of nice Atlantic Ocean beaches, tasty beans and corn and berries, and millions of chickens.

And Delaware gets at least one mention in history books, because it was the first state to approve the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Delaware also makes the news every once in awhile because the U.S. military returns the remains of service men and women killed in combat to a mortuary in the tiny capital city of Dover. This is an aspect of Delaware life that is most appealing. Its Rehoboth Bay and Atlantic Ocean beaches along Cape Henlopen are family destinations.

This is an aspect of Delaware life that is most appealing. Its Rehoboth Bay and Atlantic Ocean beaches along Cape Henlopen are family destinations.

But Delaware - which was founded by Swedes and is named for a British earl, Lord de la Warr - is a really big deal in financial circles. In fact, it's America's corporate capital.

More than half of the top 500 corporations, and thousands of smaller ones, are incorporated there. They keep their official, if not actual, headquarters in Wilmington - Delaware's largest city. Most are only token offices. Some are strictly on paper. Still, Delaware makes 22 percent of its annual revenue from them by charging incorporation, annual and legal fees. Little Delaware: first in the nation, literally and corporately.

Little Delaware: first in the nation, literally and corporately.

And what does a corporation get? It saves a lot of money because Delaware has no state income tax. And the special court that handles corporate disputes and transactions has been friendly to business interests.

So companies are quite comfortable planting their corporate flags in Delaware.

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