Pennsylvania was one of the 13 original colonies, and it officially became a state on December 12, 1787 after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. Prior to settlement by Europeans, Pennsylvania was home to Native American tribes: the Shawnee, the Susquehannock, the Delaware, and the Iroquois. Captain John Smith and Henry Hudson explored the area in the early 1600s. Swedish and Dutch settlers arrived in Pennsylvania in the late 1600s, but then the British took control of the area in 1664. In 1681, William Penn was officially granted a royal charter by King Charles II for ownership of the land that would become Pennsylvania. William Penn was granted the land to settle a debt that King Charles owed to Penn’s father. “Penn called the area Sylvania (Latin for woods), which Charles changed to Pennsylvania in honor of the elder Penn” (ushistory.org). Penn was a Quaker and Pennsylvania was meant to be a land of religious freedom.
During the American Revolution, Pennsylvania was right in the middle of the war. Philadelphia served as Nation’s capital throughout the war and the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776. Pennsylvania also played a pivotal role in the Civil War, and was the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, as well as the Gettysburg Address, both important events in United States history.
During the Gilded Age, Pennsylvania was the hub of steel production, followed by oil and coal industries.
Today, Philadelphia remains the 6th largest metropolitan area in the US.