Lewes, Delaware

A s the town that is known as “The First Town in the First State,”Lewes, Delaware, has a long and storied history. Lewes was the site of the first European settlement in Delaware, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on June 3, 1631 and named Zwaanendael (Swan Valley). Unfortu- nately, the colony had a very short existence, as the local tribe of Lenape Native Americans wiped out its 32 members the follow- ing year. In 1663, a group of Mennonites established a new settlement at Hoernkills, the area around Cape Henlopen, near the current town of Lewes, but their colony was quickly destroyed by British troops,who also attacked and burned down yet another Dutch settlement in 1673. In 1682, the Delaware colonies were given toWilliam Penn by English King Charles II, in payment of a fam- ily debt.When Penn arrived in the NewWorld later that year, he renamed the county as Sussex and the Hoernkills settlement as Lewes, in commemoration of sites back in England. THE FIRST TOWN AT A GLANCE LEWES, DELAWARE WHAT: A city of approximately 3,000 WHERE: Where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean WEBSITE: www.ci.lewes.de.us PHOTO BY ERIC DAVISON