The Delmarva Peninsula embraces the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and Virginia. Bounded on the west by Chesapeake Bay and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, it comprises a discrete geographical region. The peninsula has been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years and was one of the first places in North America colonized by European and African immigrants.
Although predominantly rural, its landscape also supports numerous urban and suburban pockets. Its diverse economy includes agricultural, fisheries, lumbering, tourism, and industrial sectors. Centrally located on the Atlantic littoral, penetrated by a myriad of rivers and creeks, and its flat terrain easily traversed by highways and railroads, the Delmarva Peninsula has long been integrated into the national market.
Its distinct borders, its long history, its rich ethnic mix, its varied landscape, and its diverse and integrated economy combine with an abundance of primary materials collected in the region's archives and libraries to make the Delmarva Peninsula an inviting subject for historical research. Here, change over time can be plotted in a geographically discrete yet economically, racially, and socially varied region.