History of Pennsylvania
The U.S. State of Pennsylvania (PA) was admitted as the 2nd state of the union on December 12, 1787. Before European exploration of modern-day Pennsylvania, the area was home to several Native American nations, such as the Delaware, Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, and Shawnee nations. In the early 1600s, both the Dutch and the English claimed much of the land along the eastern seaboard of North America.
With the Dutch and British each claiming the lands on opposite sides of the Delaware River, there were frequent disputes over who owned what. Eventually, by the mid-1600s, the British attempted a military takeover of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Following the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the borders producing a similar to modern-day Delaware and Pennsylvania were established. From there, Pennsylvania served as one of Britain’s thirteen North American colonies.
The state of PA played a crucial role in the colonies’ pitch for independence from Britain. The first and second Continental Congresses met in Philadelphia, where they debated, agreed upon, wrote up, and signed the Declaration of Independence. The thirteen colonies officially declared their independence from Great Britain. Several years later, the city of Philadelphia once again served as the setting for the drafting and signing of the Constitution of the United States of America.
PA was the second state to ratify and sign the United States Constitution on December 12th, 1787, subsequently admitting itself as the 2nd state of the newly formed United States of America.
The state of PA is the 33rd largest of the fifty states in terms of land area and the 5th most populated. In 2015, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of PA to be 12,802,503. Although the capital of Harrisburg is among the top ten most populated cities in the state, the city of Philadelphia is home to over one million people. Philadelphia’s population is larger than the next five cities combined, including Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and Reading.
PA is a leader in the financial and insurance industry. The cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are homes to multiple Fortune 500 companies. In addition, PA currently maintains the 19th most robust agriculture industry in the nation in terms of production. The state is among the top producers of mushrooms, apples, grapes, and dairy. The state of PA annually employs upwards of 50,000 people in its food production industry, the likes of which have grown to become a billion-dollar industry.
Higher Education has remained a staple of Pennsylvania culture since its colonial days. As a result, the state is home to many nationally acclaimed schools such as The Pennsylvania State University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Lehigh University, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and its one Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania.
PA is currently represented by both the Republican and Democratic Parties in the United States Senate. In addition, the 18-member delegation of representatives to the United States House of Representatives are predominantly members of the Republican Party, with 13 of them Republicans and 5 Democrats. The current governor of PA is a member of the Democratic Party.