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History of Newark, DE

Newark is a mid-sized city in the waterfront county of New Castle, DE. The city is a designated bedroom community for the city of Wilmington which is located just a few minutes’ drive away and also the site of Delaware State’s largest education institution-University of Delaware. The city has a slowly growing population which was estimated to be around 34,000 residents by mid-2019.

Newark was not permanently settled prior to the 1694 arrival Welsh and Scots-Irish settlers. However, history has it that the area was settled by numerous Native American tribes who came and went as they pleased for several hundred decades. Following the arrival of the new settlers, the area started to grow gradually as a farming community. Further development was sparked by the incorporation of the settlement as a town in 1758 through a grant issued by King George II, the then leader of Great Britain. This charter allowed the town to host annual fairs and weekly markets. This marked a new dimension in the town’s development.

Newark’s development was also largely driven by the fact that it was one of the earliest education centers in the region. Newark Academy, established in 1765, was the first school in the town (relocated from Pennsylvania). The school contributed to significant growth in population as new settlers arrived in the town in search of education. Three of the first graduates from this simple school went on to become renowned lawyers and signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

During the historic American Revolution, a major skirmish between American and British troops is said to have taken place just outside modern-day Newark city. This battle which is popularly known as the “Battle of Cooch’s Bridge” is said to have been the first battle incident where the U.S. Stars and Stripes were flown.

The town continued to grow after independence through the establishment of a public college which joined with the existing Newark Academy in 1834. Though the school was faced by several setbacks through the course of the town’s development, it evolved gradually to become what is now known as the University of Delaware.

Although Newark had an industrial side to it since its first paper mill in 1798, the town’s most notable industrial plant was the Chrysler Newark Assembly which specialized in manufacturing tanks for the army. The plant was one of the main employers in the region from the ’50s and remained active until 2008. During his time in Delaware, Legendary reggae musician Bob Marley worked as a Lab assistant in the facility under an alias.