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Lewes ( not 'lose') is an incorporated city in Sussex Countymarker, Delawaremarker, United Statesmarker, on the Delmarva Peninsulamarker. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 3,116. It is part of the Seaford, Delawaremarker, Micropolitan Statistical Areamarker.

Because Lewes was the earliest town founded in the state, and because Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, the town refers to itself as "The first town in the first state." Lewes is named after the town of Lewesmarker in England, which also is situated in a county named Sussex (from which Sussex County, Delaware, takes its name). Lewes, Sussex, England, also has the same seal.

Lewes and the towns of Rehoboth Beachmarker, Dewey Beachmarker, Bethany Beachmarker, South Bethanymarker, and Fenwick Islandmarker constitute Delaware's beach resort area, Sussex County's most densely populated and fastest-growing area.


Lewes is located at (38.775939, -75.142101) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land, and (14.69%) is water.


Lewes was the site of the first European settlement in Delawaremarker, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on 3 June 1631 and named Zwaanendael (Swan Valley).Munroe, John A.: Colonial Delaware: A History: Millwood, New Yorkmarker: KTO Press; 1978; P.9-12.</<>ref>. The colony had a short existence, as a local tribe of Lenni Lenape Indians wiped out the 32 Dutch settlers in 1632.

On 5 and 6 April 1813, during the War of 1812, British naval vessels led by HMS Poictiers under the command of Captain Sir John Poo Beresford briefly and ineffectually bombarded the town. A cannonball from the bombardment is lodged in the foundation of Cannonball House, which now serves as the town's maritime museum.

In 1941, the US built Fort Milesmarker on Cape Henlopenmarker, near Lewes, to defend Delaware Baymarker and the Delaware River and the oil refineries and factories on their shores, as well as the city of Philadelphiamarker. It was one of the largest and most heavily armed coastal fortifications ever built. Fort Miles never saw any major action; it only fired its guns once between its establishment and the end of World War II. Fort Miles ceased operation altogether in 1991.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,932 people, 1,338 households, and 797 families residing in the city. The population density was 801.5 people per square mile (309.3/km²). There were 2,368 housing units at an average density of 647.3/sq mi (249.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.31% White, 9.89% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.02% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

There were 1,338 households out of which 15.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.99 and the average family size was 2.53.

In the city the population was spread out with 13.6% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 31.5% from 45 to 64, and 33.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 55 years. For every 100 females there were 78.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,707, and the median income for a family was $59,605. Males had a median income of $35,500 versus $35,227 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,685. About 3.4% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.


Lewes Beach
is the southern terminus of the Cape May – Lewes Ferrymarker.

Lewes is adjacent to Cape Henlopen State Parkmarker and is close to the outlet malls of Rehoboth Beachmarker. Lewes is served by a branch of the Delaware Coast Line Railway that originates in Georgetownmarker.

It serves as a vacation and resort spot popular with residents of Washington, D.C., and the surrounding suburbs. Even though the city technically sits on the lower reach of the Delaware Baymarker, it is nonetheless considered an ocean resort, particularly as the ocean is nearby at Cape Henlopenmarker.

In addition to being a tourist destination, Lewes is also the home of the Zwaanendael Museummarker, which features exhibits about Delaware's history. Second Street is the town's main street and has many shops, restaurants, and historical venues. Fisherman's Wharf is a dock that stretches along the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. It features multiple restaurants and bait shops, and in season the dock hosts hundreds of boats from all over. Also, United States Lightship Overfalls is moored there. It is owned by the Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation (OMMF) and is one of seven surviving lightships at museums in the United States.


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