Pennsylvania is officially called the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The region is the 6th most populous state in the United States. It was the second state to form the country, and boasts of being one of the original founding states of the nation. Pennsylvania is also referred to as "Keystone State."
Before the Europeans arrived in the region, many American Indian tribes inhabited the land. Majority of the tribes were Delaware, Boss, Iroquois, Erie, and Shawnee American Indians. In the 1600's, the region was disputed between 3 colonizers: the Dutch, the Swedes, and the English, who all made their claims on the land. It was in 1664 when the English took over and an official land grant was given in 1681.
The recipient of the royal grant was William Penn - a Quaker Englishman - in payment of a significant debt owed to his father by the then-king, King Charles II. Admiral William Penn had loaned the king £16,000 but the son, William Penn, asked for land in the New World to serve as the haven for his fellow Quakers - members of a persecuted sect in England.
The King gave Penn the region of Pennsylvania, naming the land as such, after Admiral Penn. Because of the region's religious tolerance, it attracted immigrants from all over Europe - with the Germans and Scots-Irish the largest ethnic immigrants from the British Isles.
The state became the seat of federal government from 1776 - 1800, where the US Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and the US Constitution was drawn in 1787. The region became a state on December 12, 1787.
Pennsylvania is located on the Northeastern part of the country and is part of the nation's mid-Atlantic region. It borders 6 other states: New York to the north, New Jersey to the east, LakeErie and Ontario, Canada to the northwest,Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, and Ohio to the West; . The Appalachian Mountains also run through the middle of the state.
There are 5 regions in the state, which are: Ridge and Valley, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Allegheny Plateau, Piedmont, and the Erie Plain. The state has 51 miles of coastline, as well as 57 miles of shoreline.
Pennsylvania is the location of some of the most significant monuments of America's revolutionary history. Among these are the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, which is a national icon of independence; and the Gettysburg Battlefield - location of the historic turning point of the Civil War in 1863. The Battlefield now holds one of the largest outdoor collections of sculptures in the world, with thousands of monuments, hundreds of canons, historic buildings, and 2 observation towers.
The state is also home to some of America's most significant museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. The state is also home to over 100 state parts with free admissions. Unique points of interest in the state include the Splash Lagoon in Erie - the largest indoor waterpark resort in the East Coast, the Houdini Museum in Scranton, and the Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey.
Pennsylvania has over 500 public school districts, thousands of private schools, and over 100 private higher education institutions.
The state boasts of having many of the nation's pioneering schools and universities. Among them are the University of Pennsylvania - an Ivy League school that's home to America's first and oldest medical school; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts - the first art school in America; and the country's first school of pharmacy - the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, which is now part of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Last Updated : October 09, 2014
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