History of Pennsylvania

According to the archaeological findings found, the territory now occupied by the state of Pennsylvania was already inhabited 10,000 years ago. The Indians who lived in this region when exploration by Europeans began belonged to the Erie, Monongahela, Susquehannock and Delaware tribes.

The French, British and Dutch began exploring this region as early as the early 17th century, once they had settled in Delaware Bay. As communication routes they used the Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers. Along these rivers, explorers built several forts and trading sites. However, it was neither the French, nor the English, nor the Dutch who succeeded in founding the first permanent settlement. In fact, the Swedes, in 1643, settled on the island of Tinicum, near the city of Philadelphia. This center was not far from the Dutch encampments, across the river in the territory currently occupied by the state of New Jersey. However, the presence of the Swedish settlers was very brief, because the Dutch forced them to abandon the settlement in 1655, as they had already done with that of Fort Christina, near Wilmington, in the current state of Delaware. Once the Swedish presence was eliminated, the region became part of the province of New Holland (New Netherland), under the control of Governor Peter Stuyvesant.

The British presence in Pennsylvania is connected with the decision of the English king, Charles II, who, in 1664, granted his brother James, Duke of York and Albany, the lands between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers, i.e. the current states of New York, and New Jersey and the un-colonized lands of the Delaware River. The campaign against the Dutch began around 1664, and shortly thereafter Colonel Richard Nicolls succeeded in driving the Dutch out of the region. The current state of Pennsylvania remained under the control of the Duke of York until 1681, when King Charles II decided to grant William Penn, a Quaker, land to develop his religious freedom projects. Thus, in 1682, Penn founded the city of Philadelphia (which derives from the Greek and means ‘brotherly love’), to turn it into the center of his project. In 1701, Penn urged the drafting of a charter of Privileges, through which citizens were guaranteed great freedom. The Penn family ruled Pennsylvania until 1775, many years after the colony’s founder died in 1718.

The groups that first settled in the Pennsylvania territory were Irish, English and Welsh, many of them Quakers seeking greater religious freedom. In large numbers, German, French and Scottish Huguenot settlers also arrived. The groups of German Protestants who occupied this territory belonged to groups such as the Amish, Mennonites and Moravian Dunkards, and the very fertile lands they colonized, allowed these colonies a rapid prosperity. The area of ​​Lancaster County that occupied several of these groups of Germans is known as Pennsylvania Dutch, not for the occupation of Dutch settlers, but for the confusion in the pronunciation of the word ‘Deutsch’ which means’

Pennsylvania from the beginning played a leading role in the process

of independence of the United States, which was reflected in the fact that both the first and second continental congresses were held in the cities of Pennsylvania. The first congress, in which the representatives of the thirteen colonies met to decide common actions against Great Britain, was held in September 1774. Nine months later, in May 1775, during the second continental congress the beginning of the military campaign against Great Britain, and on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress ratified the declaration of independence.

In addition to agriculture, the state of Pennsylvania owes its economic development to the huge deposits of coal and iron, for which there was a great demand from the 1800s with the beginning of the industrial revolution in North America. The discovery of new deposits in the western part of the state allowed the rapid growth of the city of Pittsburgh which became one of the main centers of the steel industry in the United States. In the middle of the century, the discovery and extraction of oil in western Pennsylvania and the exploitation of forest resources in the north allowed for greater colonization of the territories of the interior of the state.

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Pennsylvania was from the beginning a pro-Union state to whose cause it contributed thousands of men and the resources of its powerful industry. During the Civil War (1860-1865) it was the scene of numerous battles, given its geographical position, bordering the secessionist state of Virginia. Among the most important battles that of Gettysburg, it was decisive and one of the bloodiest of the war, and took place in November 1863. After the Civil War, the development of Pennsylvania had an extraordinary acceleration during the First World War (1914-1919). However, after the war and especially after the recovery of European industries, Pennsylvania suffered a serious crisis that worsened starting in 1929, the year in which the great economic depression of the 1930s began. The Second World War (1939-1945) allowed not only the end of the serious crisis, but also unprecedented economic growth. In fact, the mines and industries of the state operated at full capacity to meet the needs of the army and civilians in America and Europe, where many industries were stopped for the war. As happened with the war of 1914, the end of the conflict represented a decline for some industries. At the end of the 1950s, many traditional Pennsylvania industries, especially those in the textile and steel sectors, had difficulty competing with products from developing countries, Asia and Africa. Central and South America. Therefore, in recent decades the state has started a profound industrial reconversion, without neglecting the traditional sectors and increasingly strengthening other important sectors of its economy, such as banking, finance, and services. The latter sector is mainly supported by a consolidated, productive and dynamic tourism industry.

Pennsylvania places to visit

South of New York State, Pennsvlvania forms an immense rectangle that cuts the course of the Delaware slightly to the east. Although it also has large industrial centers, cultivated lands and mining regions, the forests, lakes and waterways occupy a large part of the mountainous “Penn Forest”, which is occupied for almost its entire surface by the reliefs of the mountain massif. Appalachian.

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Pittsburgh– Today, Pittsburgh reveals its attractions to locals and tourists alike, pleasantly surprised by the rejuvenated appearance of the “Golden Triangle”, a business center located at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers that join together to form Ohio. In this area there are numerous ultramodern buildings, including the movable dome of the Arena Civica. The renowned Carnegie Institute, with its fine art collections, natural history museum and library and the university’s ‘Cathedral of Knowledge’ are justifiably reasons of particular pride for the city.

Gettysburg– A key civil war battle took place alongside the small farming community of Gettysburg. Nearly 100,000 Union soldiers gathered here to face 75,000 Confederates led by Robert E. Lee. A cemetery was purchased to commemorate her and President Lincoln inaugurated Gettysburg National Cemetery. Several monuments have been erected in the meadows and woods of the battlefield, which has now become the Gettysburg National Military Park. Gettysburg in addition to the famous Civil War battlefield, also has the home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was opened to the public in 1980.

Laurel Highlands– The stunning 518m-deep Youghiogheny Gorge cuts the Laurel Ridge Mountains in two, where an area of ​​nearly 7689 hectares forms Ohio State Park. This park encompasses more than 45km of the course of the Youghiogheny River. Rafting is very popular in the area, but also trekking, jogging, cycling and cross-country skiing. Fallingwater, an architectural tour de force by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is located north of the park.

Cultural tourist places– Pennsylvania’s most important cultural institutions are found in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Among those worthy of note: in Philadelphia, the Rodin Museum, the Museum of Art, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Historical Society; in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Frick Museum of Art. Other sites not found in these two cities that are worth a visit include the Allentown Museum of Art, the Mercer Museum, in Doylestown; the Brandywine River Museum, in Chadd’s Ford and the William Penn Museum, in Harrisburg.

Other sites of historical and cultural interest are Independence Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, where the United States Declaration of Independence was prepared in 1776 and the Constitution was registered, Carpenters’ Hall, seat of the First Continental Congress of 1774; and the Monastery of Ephrata, a well-preserved austere complex founded by German clerics in 1745 in the county of Lancaster.

Curiosity– The main arts associations and organizations are concentrated in the two large cities of Pennsylvania. Among them, the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Dance Company; the two opera companies of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; the Civil Light Opera of Pittsburgh; the Fulton Opera House, Lancaster, the Public Theater and the Walnut Street Teather, Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania has several teams in major US professional leagues such as the Philadelphia 76ers in basketball, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates in baseball, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in ice hockey; and the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in American football.

Notable sites outside major cities include Chocolate World and Hershey Park in the town of Hershey and Valley Forge National Historic Park. Annual parades and festivals include the Mummers Parade on January 1st in Philadelphia and the Kutztown Folk Festival, held the first week of July.

Pennsylvania State Flag

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