is the capital and second largest city in the U.S. state of Delaware. It is also the county seat of Kent County, and the principal city of the Dover, Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Kent County. It is located on the St. Jones River in the Delaware River coastal plain. It was named by William Penn for Dover in Kent, England. As of 2007, the city had an estimated population of 35,811.
Dover was founded as the court town for newly established Kent County in 1683 by William Penn, the Proprietor of the territory generally known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware." Later, in 1717, the city was officially laid out by a special commission of the Delaware General Assembly. The capital of the state of Delaware was moved here from New Castle in 1777 due to its central location and relative safety from British raiders on the Delaware River. The city's central square, known as The Green, was the location of many rallies, troop reviews, and other patriotic events. To this day, The Green remains the heart of Dover's historic district and is the location of the Delaware Supreme Court and the Kent County Courthouse.
Dover was most famously the home of Caesar Rodney, the popular wartime leader of Delaware during the American Revolution. He is known to have been buried outside Dover, but the precise location of his grave is unknown. A cenotaph in his honor is erected in the cemetery of the Christ Episcopal Church on The Green in Dover.
Dover and Kent County were deeply divided over the issue of slavery and was a "stop" on the Underground Railroad, due to its proximity to slave holding Maryland and free Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was also home to a large Quaker community that encouraged a sustained emancipation effort in the early nineteenth century. There were very few slaves in the area, but the institution was supported, if not practiced, by a small majority, who saw to its continuation.