when did pennsylvania officially became a state
From its beginning, Pennsylvania ranked as a leading agricultural area and produced surpluses for export, adding to its wealth. By the 1750s an exceptionally prosperous farming area had developed in southeastern Pennsylvania. Wheat and corn were the leading crops, though rye, hemp, and flax were also important.
Pennsylvania’s political history ran a rocky course during the provincial era. There was a natural conflict between the proprietary and popular elements in the government which began under Penn and grew stronger under his successors. As a result of the English Revolution of 1688 which overthrew King James II, Penn was deprived of his province from 1692 until 1694. A popular party led by David Lloyd demanded greater powers for the Assembly, and in 1696 “Markham’s Frame of Government” granted some of these. In December 1699, the Proprietor again visited Pennsylvania and, just before his return to England in 1701, agreed with the Assembly on a revised constitution, the “Charter of Privileges,” which remained in effect until 1776. This guaranteed the Assembly full legislative powers and permitted the three Delaware counties to have a separate legislature. It made Penn’s earlier assurances of religious liberty absolute and irrevocable.
Penn had hoped that Pennsylvania would be a profitable venture for himself and his family. Penn marketed the colony throughout Europe in various languages and, as a result, settlers flocked to Pennsylvania. Despite Pennsylvania’s rapid growth and diversity, the colony never turned a profit for Penn or his family. In fact, Penn would later be imprisoned in England for debt and, at the time of his death in 1718, he was penniless.
In 1677, Penn’s chance came, as a group of prominent Quakers, among them Penn, received the colonial province of West New Jersey (half of the current state of New Jersey). That same year, two hundred settlers from the towns of Chorleywood and Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire and other towns in nearby Buckinghamshire arrived, and founded the town of Burlington. Penn, who was involved in the project but himself remained in England, drafted a charter of liberties for the settlement. He guaranteed free and fair trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and free elections.
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By the eve of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania had become a centre of military, economic, and political activity. The first (1774) and second (1775–76) Continental Congresses met in Philadelphia; the Declaration of Independence was signed there; and after the war the city became the capital of the short-lived Confederation and of the fledgling U.S. government.
William Penn intended that the colony provide a home for his fellow Quakers (members of the Society of Friends). While still in England, he drew up the first of his “frames of government” and sent his cousin, William Markham, to establish a claim to the land and also to establish the boundaries of what became the city of Philadelphia. Penn arrived in 1682 and called a General Assembly to discuss the first Frame of Government and to adopt the Great Law, which guaranteed freedom of conscience in the colony. Under Penn’s influence, fair treatment was accorded the Native Americans, who responded with friendship in return. When Penn returned to England in 1684, the new Quaker province had a firmly established government based on the people’s will and religious tolerance.
Pennsylvania is classified as a Middle Atlantic state, along with New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Its central location on the Eastern Seaboard is sometimes said to be the source of its nickname, the Keystone State. It does not, however, touch the Atlantic Ocean at any point. Water nonetheless has been nearly as crucial in the state’s growth as the wealth of its earth. The Delaware River forms the boundary between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the northwest a small panhandle separates Ohio and New York and forms a 40-mile (65-km) waterfront on Lake Erie, giving the state access to the iron ore barges and other commerce of the Great Lakes.
Pennsylvania includes parts of large physiographic regions that extend beyond its borders; those regions crossing the eastern and central parts of the state parallel one another along a sweeping northeast-southwest diagonal orientation. In the southeastern part of the state is a section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, a narrow strip of sandy low-lying land immediately adjacent to the Delaware River. This region has played a major role in Pennsylvania history. It was the site of William Penn’s settlement and the initial city of Philadelphia. Immediately inland from the Coastal Plain is the Piedmont province, a gently rolling, well-drained plain that is rarely more than 500 feet (150 metres) above sea level; the eastern part is the Piedmont Upland. The boundary between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain is known as the fall line, with hard rock to the west and soft rock to the east. The Piedmont Lowland parallels the Piedmont Upland to its northwest. It is made of sedimentary rocks into which volcanic rocks have been intruded. Some of these volcanic rocks make ridges. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought there, the Northern army on the high ridges having the advantage over the Southern forces on the plains. The limestone rocks have weathered into fertile lowlands such as the Conestoga Lowlands of Lancaster county. Farther to the northwest lie two segments of a larger mountain range. The southern prong, extending to the Carlisle area, is the northernmost extension of the Blue Ridge system. The northern portion, known as the Reading Prong, is a small section of the larger New England topographic region. There is a major gap between these prongs.