Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: "The Keystone State"

Other U.S. States
Capital Harrisburg
Largest City Philadelphia
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 33rd
119,283 kmē
116,074 km²
3,208 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 6th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date
Revolutionary War
December 12, 1787
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
39°43'N to 42°N
74°43'W to 80°31'W
255 km
455 km
979 meters
335 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-PA

Pennsylvania is a commonwealth and one of the statess of the United States of America. It has given its name to the Pennsylvanian time period in geology. Pennsylvania is called the Keystone State.

Although Swedes and Dutch were the first European settlers, the Quaker William Penn named Pennsylvania for the Latin phrase meaning "Penn's woodlands", in honor of his father. Today, two major cities dominate the state -- Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall, and a thriving metropolitan area, and Pittsburgh, a busy inland river port.

Pennsylvania is one of the nation's most historic states. Philadelphia is often called the cradle of the American Nation. It was here that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drawn up by the founding fathers. The Pocono Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap provide popular recreational activities.

The so-called "Pennsylvania Dutch" region in south-central Pennsylvania is another favorite of sightseers. Pennsylvania Germans, including the Amish and the Mennonites, dominate the area around the cities of Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg, with smaller numbers extending northeast to the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area and up the Susquehanna River valley. Most of the Old Order Amish have left the area, but many Mennonites remain, particularly in Lancaster County. Some adherents eschew modern conveniences and use horse-drawn farming equipment and carriages, while others are virtually indistinguishable from non-Amish or Mennonites.

(The term "Dutch" is a misnomer, as none of these groups are of Dutch origin; the German adjective for "German", "Deutsch", was misheard as "Dutch" and the name stuck.)

The battleship USS Pennsylvania, damaged at Pearl Harbor, was named in honor of this state.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Notable Pennsylvanians
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Important Cities and Towns
8 Education
9 Professional Sports Teams
10 External links


Before the state existed, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehanna, Iroquois, Eriez, Shawnee and other native american tribes.

In 1643, the southeastern portion of the state, in the vicinity of Philadelphia, was settled by Sweden, but control later passed to Netherlands, and then to Britain.

On March 4, 1681, Charles II of England granted a land charter to William Penn for the area that now includes Pennsylvania. Penn then founded a colony there as a place of religious freedom for Quakers, and named it for the Latin phrase meaning "Penn's woods".

A large tract of land north and west of Philadelphia, in Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties, was settled by Welsh Quakers and called the "Welsh Tract". Even today many cities and towns in that area bear the names of Welsh municipalities.

In 1704 the "three lower counties" of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex gained a separate legislature, and in 1710 a separate executive council, to form the new colony Delaware.

Pennsylvania and Delaware were two of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution of 1776. Pennsylvania became the second state on December 12, 1787 (five days after Delaware became the first).

In the latter half of the 19th century, the U.S. oil (kerosene) industry was born in western Pennsylvania, which supplied the vast majority of U.S. kerosene for years thereafter, and saw the rise and fall of oil boom towns.

Law and Government

The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. Its current governor is Edward G. "Ed" Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia (Democrat). Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators are Rick Santorum (Republican) and Arlen Specter (Republican). List of Pennsylvania Governors.

The origin of Pennsylvania's government is unique as it was based on consensus (as with Quakers) rather than voting.

Notable Pennsylvanians

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the most important figures in Pennsylvania's history, although he was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He founded the University of Pennsylvania in 1742. He had the distinction of signing both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He is buried with his wife Deborah in Christ Church Cemetery in the city.

James Buchanan (1791-1868) was born and lived in Pennsylvania until his death. He was the 15th President of the United States and the only President from that state.

Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886) was born in Montgomery Square. He commanded Union troops during the U.S. Civil War, most notably during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Ida Tarbell (1857-1944) was born in Erie and was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was a pioneering "muckraker" journalist and one of the few female journalists in the country during her time. In 1906, she joined with Lincoln Steffens and Ray Stannard Baker to establish the radical []American Magazine]]. She also wrote several books on the role of women including The Business of Being a Woman (1912) and The Ways of Women (1915).

Pop artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh. The Andy Warhol Museum is located in Pittsburgh's North Side, and he is buried in nearby Bethel Park.

The current Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge (1945-), was Governor of Pennsylvania between 1995 and 2003. Prior to that, he was a US Representative from Erie between 1982 and 1995.


See: List of Pennsylvania counties

Pennsylvania is bordered on the north and northeast by New York, on the east, across the Delaware River by New Jersey, on the south by Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia, on the west by Ohio, and on the northwest by Lake Erie. The Delaware, Susquehanna, Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers are the major rivers of the state. The capital is Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania is 180 miles north to south and 310 miles east to west. The total land area is 44,817 square miles, 739,200 acres (1,239 square miles) of which are bodies of water. It is the 33rd largest state in the United States. The highest point of 3,213 feet above sea level is at Mt. Davis. The lowest point is 0 feet above sea level on the Delaware River. Pennsylvania is in the Eastern time zone.

Pennsylvania is bisected diagonally by ridges of the Appalachian Mountain chain from southwest to northeast. To the northwest of the folded mountains is the Allegheny Plateau, which continues into southwestern and south central New York. This plateau is so dissected by valleys that it also seems mountainous. The Plateau is underlain by sedimentary rocks of Mississippian and Pennsylvanian age, which bear abundant fossils, as well as natural gas and petroleum. In 1859 near Titusville Edwin L. Drake drilled the first oil well into these sediments, . Similar rock layers also contain coal to the south and east of the oil and gas deposits. In the metamorphic (folded) belt of anthracite (hard coal) is mined near Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton. These fossil fuels have been an important resource to Pennsylvania. Timber and dairy farming are also sources of livelihood for midstate and western Pennsylvania. Along the shore of Lake Erie in the far northwest are orchards and vinyards.


Pennsylvania's 1999 total gross state product was $383 billion, placing it 6th in the nation and its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $29,539, 18th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are dairy products, poultry, cattle, nursery stock, mushrooms, hogs, and hay. Its industrial outputs are food processing, chemical products, machinery, electric equipment, and tourism.


As of
2000, the population was 12,281,054. When Pennsylvania became a state in 1787, it had a population of about 300,000.

Important Cities and Towns

Pennsylvania also saw the Battle of Gettysburg, near Gettysburg. Many historians consider this battle the major turning point of the American Civil War. Dead from this battle rest at Gettysburg National Cemetery, site of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

The Keystone State
State Animal:Whitetail Deer
State Beverage:Milk
State Bird:Ruffed Grouse
State Capital:Harrisburg
State Dog:Great Dane
State Fish:Brook Trout
State Flower:Mountain Laurel
State Insect:Firefly
State Song:Pennsylvania
State Tree:Hemlock


Colleges and Universities

  • Albright College
  • Allegheny College
  • Allegheny University of the Health Sciences (defunct and bankrupt; absorbed by Drexel University College of Medicine)
  • Alvernia College
  • American College
  • Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College)
  • Baptist Bible College
  • Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Bryn Athyn College of the New Church
  • Bryn Mawr College

  • Bucknell University
  • Cabrini College
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • Carlow College
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cedar Crest College
  • Chatham College
  • Chestnut Hill College
  • Cheyney University
  • Clarion University
  • College Misericordia
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Delaware Valley College
  • DeSales University (formerly Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales)
  • Dickinson College
  • Drexel University
  • Duquesne University
  • East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Eastern University (formerly Eastern College)
  • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
  • Elizabethtown College
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Gannon University
  • Geneva College
  • Gettysburg College
  • Gratz College
  • Grove City College
  • Gwynedd Mercy College
  • Hanhemann Medical College (now a unit of Drexel University College of Medicine)
  • Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Haverford College
  • Holy Family College
  • Immaculata College
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Juniata College
  • Keystone College
  • King's College
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • La Roche College
  • Lafayette College
  • Lancaster Bible College
  • Lancaster Theological Seminary
  • LaSalle University
  • Lebanon Valley College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lincoln University
  • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
  • Lycoming College
  • Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
  • Marywood University
  • Medical College of Pennsylvania (now a unit of Drexel University College of Medicine) (formerly Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania)
  • Mercyhurst College
  • Messiah College
  • Millersville University
  • Moore College of Art and Design
  • Moravian College
  • Mount Aloysius College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Neumann College
  • Peirce College
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Pennsylvania School of Art and Design
  • Pennsylvania State University System
    • Pennsylvania State University Abington
    • Pennsylvania State University Altoona
    • Pennsylvania State University Beaver
  • Pennsylvania State University System Continued
    • Pennsylvania State University Erie, the Behrend College
    • Pennsylvania State University Berks - Lehigh Valley
    • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
    • Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth College
    • Pennsylvania State University Delaware County
    • Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law (formerly Dickinson Law School)
    • Pennsylvania State University DuBois
    • Pennsylvania State University Fayette
    • Pennsylvania State University Great Valley
    • Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg
    • Pennsylvania State University Hazleton
    • Pennsylvania State University McKeesport
    • Pennsylvania State University New Kensington
    • Pennsylvania State University Mont Alto
    • Pennsylvania College of Technology
    • Pennsylvania State University Schuylkill
    • Pennsylvania State University Shenango
    • Pennsylvania State University University Park
    • Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre
    • Pennsylvania State University Worthington Scranton
    • Pennsylvania State University York
  • Philadelphia Biblical University
  • Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences in Philadelphia)
  • Philadelphia University (formerly Philadelphia College of Textiles)
  • Point Park Morris College
  • Robert Morris College
  • Rosemont College
  • Saint Francis College
  • Saint Joseph's University
  • Saint Vincent College
  • Seton Hill College
  • Shippensburg University
  • Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  • Susquehanna University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Temple University
  • Thiel College
  • Thaddeus Stevens State School of Technology
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
    • University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
    • University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
    • University of Pittsburgh at Titusville

  • University of Scranton
  • University of the Arts
  • University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (formerly Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science)
  • Ursinus College
  • Valley Forge Christian College
  • Villanova University
  • Washington and Jefferson College
  • Waynesburg College
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • Westminster College
  • Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Widener University
  • Wilkes University
  • Wilson College
  • York College of Pennsylvania

Professional Sports Teams

See Also: List of Pennsylvania counties

External links