Delmarva Peninsula

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The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia. The peninsula is almost 180 by 60 miles (300 by 100 km), and is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay on the west, and the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, and Atlantic Ocean on the east.

The northern isthmus of the peninsula is transected by the sea-level Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, so the peninsula could be considered to be an island. Several bridges cross the canal, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel join the peninsula to mainland Maryland and Virginia, respectively. Another point of access is Lewes, Delaware, reachable by ferry from Cape May, New Jersey.

Dover, Delaware's capital city, is the peninsula's largest city by population but the main commercial area is Salisbury, Maryland, near its center. Including all offshore islands (the largest of which is Kent Island in Maryland), the total land area south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is 5,454 sq mi (14,127 km²). At the 2000 census the total population was 681,030, giving an average population density of 124.86 persons/sq mi (48.2 persons/km²).

Roughly south of Wilmington, Delaware, is the fall line, a geographic borderland where the Piedmont region transitions into the coastal plain, a flat and sandy area with very few or no hills.


Origin of the name

Delmarva is a portmanteau formed from the names of the states that occupy it: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (abbreviated VA). The earliest uses of the term appear to have been commercial—for example, the Delmarva Heat, Light, and Refrigerating Corp. of Chincoteague, Virginia, was in existence by 1913[1]—but general use of the term did not occur until the 1920s.[2]

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