By Ashley Kennedy
PENNSYLVANIA Pennsylvania means “Penn’s wood.”

penn-1.png Pennsylvania is located in Northeastern United States. It is the second-largest of the 3 Middle Atlantic Colonies; also known as the bread colonies. It is boarded by New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Ohio and the Atlantic Ocean. Pennsylvania runs along the lower Delaware River, which is on the eastern boarder. The Susquehanna River drains more then 46% of the area of Pennsylvania, much of it in the Appalachian Mts. The rivers in Pennsylvania flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The western part of the state is drained by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers which join at Pittsburgh to form Ohio. The Beaver, Clarion and Youghiogheny rivers are important as well. In Pennsylvania there are 250 natural lakes that are larger than 20 acres. Pennsylvania is very fortunate because they are one of the few states which have the warmest weather and the longest growing season in the low-lying southwest Ohio and Monongahela valley in southeast. In this colony they were mainly famous for farming corn and wheat. A geography feature that affected Pennsylvania’s development was the Appalachian Plateaus which were located in the western and northern part of the state.


william-penn-1.jpg In 1643, a European, Johan Printz, landed on Tinicum Island. King Charles II of England owed William Penn a lot of money and he had control of Pennsylvania so in order to pay him back he gave Penn this area. In 1681, the Duke officially handed control to William Penn. Quakers came from England and eventually Wales, Germany and soon after those, others. The Quakers came to the colonies to escape religious persecution in England. In Pennsylvania the economy focused on farming until 1792 when the Lancaster Turnpike began a period of turnpike building. German Mennonites, Moravians, Amish, Lutherans, and reformed church members farmed rural areas near by. In the 1820s and 1830s, an era of powerful canal building began and after that railroads started to spread across the colony. Pennsylvania was led by the Republican Party during the 19th and 20th century. This colony was lucky enough to have religious freedom. There were churches and meeting houses of several different Christian groups. During the Woodland period, 3,000 years ago, there were Native Americans living in the colony including the Delaware Indians and the Susquehannocks. In 1682, there was a treaty that promoted good will with Native Americans in the region, the “City of Brotherly Love.”


Colonists in Pennsylvania farmed, traded and built turnpikes in order to survive. In the 19th century, the colony became established as a major industrial center. In 1820, Pennsylvania was growing as an industrial force; they ended up being the first of the major coal mining companies. In Pennsylvania, slavery was banned by William Penn and the Quakers were against it as well. In around 1730, around 4,000 African slaves lived in Pennsylvania regardless of what Penn believed. There was a difference in slavery in Pennsylvania than in the other colonies because here they had freedom to choose their occupation.


3026470860_ca75accc2f_b.jpg In Pennsylvania there was a lot of cultural diversity. The language varied but it was mainly English and Dutch. There were several ethnic groups and religious groups varied as well. William Penn saw religious freedom as a “Holy Experience.” Pennsylvania was a haven, a safe place for people of every faith. Women were treated no different in Pennsylvania then the way they usually were during the time of the 13 colonies. The women in Pennsylvania were unable to own land so they stayed at home and sew clothing. During the time of the Revolution women were very helpful because they sew uniforms for the soldiers.


The type of charter that Pennsylvania was given was by Charles II of England in 1681. The charter said that the colony had to be civil with the natives and they had to love their society and their Christian Religion. Pennsylvania never became an official royal colony. William Penn was the proprietary of the colony until the Revolution when his family became involved too. The colonist had established a Republican government in 1860. Abraham Lincoln helped the colony to begin this type of government.

French and Indian War:

Benjamin_West_005.jpg Pennsylvania was involved in the French and Indian war, which took place between 1754 and 1763, because there were a few battles that were fought on its ground. In 1754, there was land claimed in Western Pennsylvania by the French. The French and Indian War caused the British to capture Fort Duquesne in 1758. Pennsylvania was the most important area of disagreement during Pontiac’s Rebellion which took place in 1763-1765. A General Assembly led by Ben Franklin caused Pennsylvania to go against British rule which made them neither patriots nor loyalists.


french-revolution-2.jpg Pennsylvania provided important leaders such as Ben Franklin, Robert Morris, and John Dickinson during the Revolution. The First and Second Continental Congresses and the signing of the Declaration of Independence took place in Philadelphia. In September 1777, the British invaded and defeated Washington’s army at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Pennsylvania was affected by the Revolution because there were important battles that were fought in this colony. Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the Constitution and they supported it by letting the Constitutional Convention meet in Philadelphia in 1787.

Key Terms:

Triangular Trade: Trade between the Americas, Europe and Africa. They traded rum, fire arms, sugar, slaves, and China books and cloth.

Salutary Neglect: The British realized that the most salutary or beneficial policy was to neglect their colonies.

Mercantilism: Economic theory that a country should acquire as much bullion, or gold or silver, as possible, by exporting more goods than it imports.

Great Awakening: Religious revival in the American colonies during the 1730s and 1740s.

Cash Crops: Crop that is grown for sale


1) Klein, Philip S., and Ari Hoogenboom. "Pennsylvania ." ABC-CLIO: American
History. Sylvester K. Stevens , n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2010.

2) Cayton, Andrew, et al. America: Pathways to the Present. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 2000. Print.