History | Choose Central Delaware

Learn more about the history of Kent County.

Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of 2017, the population was 182,600. The county seat is Dover, the state capital of Delaware. It is named for Kent, an English county.

Kent County comprises the Dover, DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area.

In about 1670 the English began to settle in the valley of the St. Jones River, earlier known as Wolf Creek. On June 21, 1680, the Duke of York chartered St. Jones County, which was carved out of New Amstel/New Castle and Hoarkill/Sussex counties. St. Jones County was transferred to William Penn on August 24, 1682 and became part of Penn's newly chartered Delaware Colony.

Penn ordered a court type town to be laid out, and the courthouse was built in 1697. The town of Dover, named after the town of Dover in England's Kent, was finally laid out in 1717, in what was then known as the Lower Counties. It was designated as the capital of Delaware in 1777. In 1787 Delaware was first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and became "the First State."