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Pennsylvania is a state of the United States, which together with New
York and New Jersey form the so-called Mid - Atlantic States. It borders Ohio in
the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian state of Ontario in the northwest, New
York state in the north, New Jersey in the east, Delaware in the
southeast, Maryland in the south and West Virginia in the southwest.
Pennsylvania has a total area of approximately 119,280 square miles, and is
the fifth most populous state in the United States with 12,805,537 inhabitants
(US Census, 2017). Pennsylvania became the second state in the union on December
12, 1787. The capital is Harrisburg, while Philadelphia is the largest city.
The Appalachians pass through the state from northwest to southeast and reach
Mount Davis at 979 meters above sea level. The western and northern part is
a plateau country, strongly cut by river valleys. Farthest southeast reaches
Pennsylvania into the coastal plain, and along Lake Erie is a narrow plain. The
eastern part is drained by the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers, the western part
of Monongahela and Allegheny, which at Pittsburgh flows into Ohio.
Philadelphia has an average temperature of 25 °C in July, 0 °C in January and
1280 millimeters of precipitation, Pittsburgh of 23 °C, -2 °C and 1067
millimeters respectively. The original vegetation was deciduous, and about half
of the acreage is still wooded, while 25 percent is agricultural land.
Of the population, 76.5 percent are considered white, 11.9 percent black and
7.3 percent Hispanic (Hispanic or Latino). About 77 percent of the population
lives in cities. The largest cities are Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There are
universities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Bethlehem and Scranton. About half of
church members are Protestants, 29 percent are Roman Catholic, while about 2
percent belong to Jewish congregations.
Pennsylvania sends two senators and 18 representatives
to Congress in Washington.
In 2005, employment was divided by 22.5 per cent in health and service, 20
per cent in commerce, transport and supplies, 13 per cent public sector, 12 per
cent industry, 9 per cent tourist and hotel, 6 per cent finance and 4.5 per cent
in construction and construction.
Agriculture plays an important role, with meat and dairy products as the most
important agricultural products. Other products include fruits, vegetables,
wheat, corn, oats and potatoes, as well as apples and tobacco in the
Southeast. There is also considerable production of mushrooms.
Mineral production was very important and formed the basis for Pennsylvania's
industrial growth. During the peak year 1917, 178 million tonnes of coal and 100
million tonnes of anthracite were mined (largest anthracite field in the United
States). Failing markets have led to a decline in production and
relocation. Pennsylvania is perhaps the most typical "Rust Belt State". US
petroleum production started in Pennsylvania in 1859, but is now quite
small. The Hills allowed Pittsburgh to develop into the United States' largest
iron and steel center, a position that the downtown area still holds in
competition with the Chicago area.
Philadelphia is the nation's second largest port and has a rich variety of
industries. The favorable location near the major East Coast markets promotes
industrial growth, and only the state of New York surpasses it in production. In
addition to the primary metal industry, the mechanical, textile and clothing
industries are important branches. Pennsylvania is known for its many insurance
companies and banks, as well as a large publishing industry.
The first colonization of Pennsylvania originated in New Sweden. The English
King Charles 2 gave in 1681 a tract of land, encompassing most of Pennsylvania,
to the breeder William Penn, after which the state is named; Penn's forests,
from Latin silva, 'forest'.
The community was based on religious tolerance, among other things, and
many British, Irish, German and French Huguenots. Philadelphia became the
largest city in the North American colonies.
In 1852, Ole Bull attempted to found a Norwegian colony, Oleana, in
Pennsylvania. The French forts in Western Pennsylvania were conquered in the
period 1754–1763, and Pittsburgh was founded where Fort Duquesne had been. Many
of the battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in Pennsylvania. During the
American Civil War played Pennsylvania an active role, and a decisive battle,
at Gettysburg, was fought here. The development of coal and steel production in
the 19th century was at times followed by fierce labor struggles.
Pennsylvania holds a strong position in the history of the United States,
with Philadelphia as the Union's birthplace and the nation's first capital
(official capital 1783–1789, temporary capital 1790–1800). The state's name in
American daily speech, The Keystone State, the state of the state
of stone, points to Pennsylvania's central position among the 13 states
that founded the union in 1776.