Cape Henlopen

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Cape Henlopen from space, October 1994

Cape Henlopen is the southern cape of the Delaware Bay along the Atlantic coast of the United States. It lies in the state of Delaware, near the town of Lewes. Off the coast on the bay side are two lighthouses, called the Harbor of Refuge Light and the Delaware Breakwater East End Light.

Early history[edit source | edit]

Originally spelled Cape Hinlopen, Cape Henlopen is named after Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen who was a prominent Dutch trader. Cape Hinlopen was New Netherland's most southern border on the 37th parallel north.

In 1620, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen became Cornelis Jacobsen Mey's (the now washed out Cape Cornelius and the incorrectly spelled Cape May) business partner in the ships Blijde Boodschap (en. "Joyful Message") and Bever which focused on exploration and trade with the Indians in the Zuidt Rivier (Delaware River) in 1620.

The area between the 38th and 40th parallels (i.e., the Delaware Bay area) as well as the Delaware River from north to south had previously been surveyed and charted by Cornelis Hendricksz from Monnikendam on the ship "Onrust" in 1614, 1615 and 1616. From August until November 1616, the New Netherland Company, which had an exclusive trading patent for the New Netherland territory between 40° and 45° latitude, had tried unsuccessfully to obtain an exclusive patent from the States General of the Dutch Republic for the territory between 38° and 40° latitude.

Cornelis Jacobsz Mey was also unable to trade in the South River (Delaware River) at the exclusion of competing Dutch companies. Those Dutch companies came in conflict with one another but were eventually able to reach agreement in New Netherland. Discord arose again which was settled, finally, by a judgment of arbitrators at Amsterdam on December 23, 1623. The 38th and 39th parallels region came under the final jurisdiction of the Dutch West India Company on behalf of the States General with the delivery of the first settlers to Governors Island in New Netherland in 1624. Those settlers were subsequently spread out onto Verhulsten Island (Burlington Island) in the Delaware, at Fort Orange (now Albany) in the Hudson River and at the mouth of the Connecticut River in order to finalize the claim to New Netherland as a North American province according to the Law of Nations (Hugo Grotius).

In 1782 during the American Revolutionary War, the young Continental Navy Lieutenant Joshua Barney fought with a British squadron near Cape Henlopen at the Battle of Delaware Bay. Barney's force of three sloops defeated a Royal Navy frigate, sloop-of-war and a Loyalist privateer. The battle ended with the loss of two British vessels and one American.

State Park[edit source | edit]

Cape Henlopen seen from Cape Henlopen State Park
Looking north from Herring Point

Cape Henlopen State Park is a 5,193 acre (21 km²) Delaware state park on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware, in the United States. William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands established in what has become the United States in 1682 with the declaration that Cape Henlopen would be for "the usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County." Cape Henlopen State Park has a 24-hour and year-round fishing pier as well as campgrounds. The remainder of the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, and includes a bathhouse on the Atlantic Ocean, an area for surf-fishing, a disc golf course, and bicycle lanes, walking paths, and a World War II-era watchtower which is open to the public. The beach at Herring Point is also a popular surfing spot.

As with all Delaware state beaches, entrance is free during the off-season but costs $4 daily or $27 annually for Delaware-tagged vehicles and $8 daily or $54 annually for out of vehicles from 1 May to 31 October. Surf fishing season passes may be purchased at a cost of $65 per in-state vehicle and $130 per out-of-state vehicle. There are lower rates for the military, those getting social services and senior citizens. These passes provide access to all state beaches and parks in Delaware.[1][2]

Camp Henlopen serves as the Eastern terminus for the American Discovery Trail, the only coast to coast hiking trail in the United States.[3]

Cape Henlopen school district[edit source | edit]

Cultural references[edit source | edit]

A small fishing settlement (perhaps fictional) at Henlopen was the location for "Tom Chist and the Treasure Box", one of Howard Pyle's stories in Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates.[5]

Timeline of Cape Henlopen[edit source | edit]

National Harbor of Refuge, outer breakwater off Cape Henlopen. All metal, built in 1926 and automated in 1973. Maintained by US Coast Guard. Visible from Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Delaware State Park Annual Pass". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Delaware State Parks Surf Fishing Pass". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  3. ^ American Discovery Trail: Delaware. (1991-07-30). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  4. ^ "Cape Henlopen School District - Home". 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  5. ^ Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates/Chapter IV
  6. ^ Cape Henlopen and the Delaware Breakwater, U.S.C. & G.S. coastal navigation chart #379, Oct. 1914 and Dec. 1921 editions, from Image Archives of the Historical Map and Chart Collection, Office of Coast Survey/National Ocean Service/NOAA 1914 map 1921 map
  7. ^ Archives Search Report Findings, Fort Miles Military Reservation (Final), May 1997, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Appendix E-1

External links[edit source | edit]

Coordinates: 38°46′17″N 75°05′44″W / 38.771484°N 75.095501°W / 38.771484; -75.095501