The area of Delaware was part of the original territory of the United States. Included in the grant to William Penn, the Three Lower Counties (Delaware) were annexed as part of the grant establishing the Province of Pennsylvania in 1683. The counties were granted a separate charter providing semiautonomy in 1701, with generally the same boundary as the present state. In 1776, Delaware declared itself a separate government. Delaware ratified the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787; it was the first of the original 13 states to join the Union.