If you want to learn about early American history, Pennsylvania is the place for you. William Penn, a Quaker and the state's founder, guaranteed religious freedom to everyone. That's the reason the Quakers first fled to Pennsylvania in 1681 -- they wanted to escape religious persecution. It's also the reason that one of the state's nicknames is the "Quaker State." Philadelphia, the state's largest city, is known as the "City of Brotherly Love" because of Penn's religious tolerance.
The tradition of freedom continued when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. You can visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. While you're in Philadelphia, examine the cracked Liberty Bell. It was rung when the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
Do you know what else happened in Philadelphia? It was the country's capital from 1790 to 1800. The leaders of the American Revolution met there for the First and Second Continental Congress. During the Second Continental Congress, they wrote a draft of the Articles of Confederation, the United States' first federal constitution.
Want to see where the Constitution was written? You guessed it -- go to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the Constitution; Delaware was the first. You can find out about lightning, electricity, and science at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, named in honor of famous Philadelphian statesman and inventor Ben Franklin.
Pennsylvania, officially called a commonwealth, means "Penn's woodland." The state was nicknamed the "Keystone State" because of its central location among the original 13 colonies. The abbreviation for Pennsylvania is PA.
Pennsylvania is a Middle Atlantic State bordered by New York to the north, New Jersey to the east, Maryland to the south, and Ohio to the west. It is the fifth most populous state after California, Texas, New York, and Florida. The state has an abundance of natural resources and a varied landscape, which includes the Appalachian Mountains, the Allegheny Mountains, and the Pocono Mountains. The Poconos are an extremely popular resort area.
Pennsylvania is a leading manufacturing state. The state is a leader in the production of iron and steel, as well as a leader in wholesale and service trade. Most of the country's anthracite (hard) coal and a significant amount of bituminous (soft) coal are mined in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, the state's second largest city, is a major steel producer. Root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a NFL team named for the city's steel production. The city was also the site of the first commercial radio broadcast in 1920.
Philadelphia is not the only part of Pennsylvania that is rich in history. Go to Lancaster County and watch the Amish drive horse-drawn carriages and plow their fields much in the same way as their ancestors. See Valley Forge, where Baron Von Steuben drilled General Washington's soldiers during a bitter winter until they became a well-trained army. Visit Gettysburg, the place where President Lincoln delivered his famous speech, the Gettysburg Address.
While in Pennsylvania, visit Hershey. At Hershey Park you can sample delicious candy at the world's largest chocolate factory, or see how chocolate is made at the factory's theme park. Visit the state capital in Harrisburg. It's near Three Mile Island, where the most serious nuclear reactor accident in United States history led to an improvement in safety standards.