The Middle Colonies

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What is the state of Pennsylvania famous for?

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Pennsylvania was unique and special because of its founder: William Penn (1644–1718). Born the son of an admiral, William converted to Quakerism in his youth. He was expelled from the University of Oxford because of his rejection of Anglicanism. His father was unhappy with William's choice of religion, but William still became a fervent Quaker. He was later imprisoned four times for his religious beliefs. While head of the family estates in Ireland, Penn published works about his faith.

William's father, an important and well-connected man, received a charter from the Crown for the colony of Pennsylvania. William inherited this charter and was determined to establish a "holy experiment"—a colony with religious and political freedom. In 1682, Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love," was founded. The new colony was a great success, and many European settlers moved there. The colony maintained good relations with the Indians, and the economy prospered.

The colony, especially Philadelphia, eventually played an important role in the creation of the United States in the 1770s and 1780s.

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