Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. It is coextensive with the Dover, Delaware, Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Delaware Valley Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, its population was 162,310, a 28.1% increase over the previous decade. The county seat is Dover, the state capital. It is named for Kent, an English county.
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 County and Hoarkill/Sussex County. 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 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, and became the capitol of Delaware in 1777. In 1787 Delaware was first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and became "the First State." Kent County was a small grain farming region in the 18th Century.
More recently, in the 1960s, Dover was the scene of the manufacturing of the spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts in the Apollo moon flights by ILC Dover, now based in the small town of Frederica. The suits, dubbed the "A7L," was first flown on the Apollo 7 mission in October 1967, and was the suit worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 mission. The company still manufactures spacesuits to this day—the present-day Space Shuttle "soft" suit components (the arms and legs of the suit).