The History of Philadelphia
Perhaps no city in the United States has a history quite like that of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This bustling metropolis was the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is also home to the famous Liberty Bell.
Its role in the Revolutionary War and as home to some of the country's founding fathers has made Philadelphia one of the most historically significant places in the world. There's much to see and do there today, but it's important to understand the rich history of this amazing place in order to fully appreciate its significance.
Early History and Growth
The city of Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by a man named William Penn to serve as the capital city for the colony of Pennsylvania. Penn became friends with the Lenape tribe of Native Americans dwelling there and named the city with the Greek words for brotherly love, philos adelphos. A peace treaty was signed between Penn and the Native Americans in 1683 that ensured friendly relations and companionship between the arriving European colonists and the local tribes.
Penn was a Quaker who was looking for a place where he and his fellow Quakers could live without religious persecution. Soon, the city became a seaport for trade and the population began to expand. The original layout of Philadelphia provided residents with plenty of land for farming and homes that were spread far apart, making it an appealing place to settle down. Because the city also founded many intellectual and manufacturing groups, its population started to grow significantly over the next few decades.
In only a few years, Philadelphia was one of the most sought-after places for colonists to live.
William Penn, founder of Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution
One of the city's most notable residents is founding father Benjamin Franklin. Known as an eccentric inventor, Franklin had one of the brightest minds of the time and became a staunch supporter of unity among the colonies. His bold ideas and ability to write things in a succinct and intelligent manner earned him the respect of his peers. He also helped found the first fire department and university in Philadelphia.
Although he was born in Boston, Benjamin Franklin moved to Philadelphia at the age of 17 and played a very important role in its development. Because of his intelligence and understanding of politics, Franklin also played a vital role in the Continental Congress and the diplomacy of the Revolutionary War. The city of Philadelphia was where the founders met to discuss their separation from British rule and where they would sign the Declaration of Independence. After the war, the Constitutional Convention took place there in 1787. As a result of the convention, the Constitution was written and signed.
Today, the U.S. Constitution is one of the most significant documents in the world.
Today, the city of Philadelphia remains one of the most well-known major cities in the country and has a population of almost 1.6 million residents. The city's beloved Phillies baseball team won the World Series in 2008. Tourism and education draw thousands of people here to learn and visit, and the city is home to many Fortune 1,000 companies.
The city has more outdoor murals than any other in America, and thanks to the city's historical importance, millions of sightseers come to visit annually. Among Philadelphia's modern claims to fame is being the home of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, a meat-stuffed sub that has become a symbol of the city. It also has been the home of the very first stock exchange, founded in 1790, and the first American newspaper, which was published in 1784.
Philadelphia was also the backdrop for the famous Rocky films starring Sylvester Stallone, and a statue honoring the fictional boxer can be found downtown.
- William Penn's Peaceable Kingdom
- Philly History Photo Archive
- The Liberty Bell
- The Founding of Philadelphia
- Independence Hall
- Brief Biography of Benjamin Franklin
- Benjamin Franklin Enters Philadelphia
- Philadelphia in the Industrial Age
- The Pennsylvania Gazette: History
- The Declaration of Independence
- JFK's Address at Independence Hall
- Cool Facts About the American Revolution Museum
- The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia
- The Constitutional Convention
- Jefferson, Philadelphia, and the Founding of a Nation
- William Penn Biography
- For Kids: Video About Philadelphia
- The Rocky Statue
- 50 Modern Changes in Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Named First World Heritage City in the U.S.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Philadelphia Early History and Facts
- Hidden Philadelphia: Unusual Attractions
- Christ Church: Burial Site of Benjamin Franklin
- Timeline of the Philadelphia Phillies