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General background about this state

Pennsylvania Flag     Pennsylvania Great Seal



Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Pennsylvania is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth and is the birthplace of our 15th President, James Buchanan.

  • NICKNAME: The Keystone State
  • POPULATION: 12,773,801 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Harrisburg
  • STATE BIRD: Ruffed Grouse
  • STATE FLOWER: Mountain Laurel
  • AREA: 46,055 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Eastern
  • ENTERED UNION: Dec. 12, 1787
  • ALTITUDE: High, 3,213 ft. Mount Davis
  • CLIMATE: Warm summers, cold winters; moderate rainfall, heavy snow in the mountains.


Founder William Penn's "good and fruitful land" was in ancient times almost blanketed with vast stretches of forests and immense fields of ferns and shrubs. Some 250 million years ago the forests and fields were flooded with sea water. Later, the folding of the Appalachian Mountains compressed the trees and shrubs into coal-hard, smokeless anthracite in the northeastern part of the state, soft bituminous in the west. Pennsylvania's coal has been mined since the late 18th Century. The state still has almost all of the nation's anthracite reserves as well as extensive veins of bituminous coal in its rocky hills. Coal is burned to generate electricity that is used to make iron and steel, it helped make Pennsylvania "the steel capital of the world".

In addition to coal, Pennsylvania once contained great deposits of iron ore, so industrialization came early to the state. Pennsylvania's ore is low grade (low percentage) and is costly to mine, thus, today ore is brought in from the Great Lakes region and other areas to be processed in the remaining mills located throughout the state. To move raw materials and finished products efficiently in the previous Century, Pennsylvanians had built spectacular highways and an elaborate railroad system. With the near death of the steel industry in America over the past two decades, many major cities in Pennsylvania no longer focus on steel production, instead, they have modernized their cities, and in the process cleaned their air and beautified their landscape.

Hershey Chocolate Factory
Hershey Chocolate Factory, Pennsylvania

It was in Philadelphia in 1751 that the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania ordered a bell from England emblazoned with these words from Leviticus: "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All The Land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof". On July 8, 1776, from the tower atop Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the bell proclaimed the news that the Declaration of Independence had been signed four days earlier in the same building.



  • Hershey is known as the Chocolate Capital of the World. Among its most popular candies are Hershey's Kisses. Between its factory in Hershey and the on in Oakdale, California, the company can turn over 70 million of these candies each day.
  • Edwin Drake launched the petroleum industry when he drilled the first oil well in 1859 at Titusville.
  • During the American Revolution, the Liberty Bell was removed from Philadelphia to Allentown. It was returned after the British evacuated Philadelphia.
  • The first federal building whose construction was specifically authorized by the Constitution was the U.S. Mint. Philadelphia was selected for the site because, when construction began in 1792, it was the nation's capital. It is believed that some of the silver used in making the first silver coins was donated by President George Washington, who lived a few blocks from the mint at the time.
  • Philadelphia is home to Betsy Ross who created the first American Flag.
  • Philadelphia was home to the first computer in 1946.


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