In 1608, English explorer Captain John Smith became the first known person to map the waterways of southwest Delaware and meet the Kuskarawaoks, the original name of the Nanticoke Indians,“people of the tidewater,” who had lived here for generations. After a clash when Smith’s party startled the Native Americans, Smith worked to establish trade relations with this very successful group of hunters, fisherman, and farmers. The Nanticoke River became a critical water route in the region and one of the most important trade and shipbuilding centers on the Eastern seaboard. When the railroad arrived in 1856, towns along the river gained access to Baltimore and Philadelphia. The history of this timeless region, appearing in many places as it did to the first English explorers, can be discovered along the nearly 40-mile Nanticoke Heritage Byway, that still gently meanders through the lush agricultural landscapes, natural beauty, and historic architecture on a scenic journey through the evolution of history and culture in rural Delaware. Walk in the steps of the early explorers, traders, ship builders and farmers, as you explore the First State’s first region.