The Keystone State
The name Pennsylvania comes from the Quaker and settler William Penn, who received this area from King Charles II in 1681 to establish a colony. It means ‘Penn’s Forests’ – freely translated.
William Penn and his followers are also the reason for the state’s nickname: The Quaker State. The second nickname ,The Keystone State’ comes from the state’s location when the 13 colonies still existed. It means that Pennsylvania was in the middle of the ‘arc’ formed by the 13 states.
Philadelphia is one of the most important cities in the state – from an industrial, cultural and historical point of view; also the largest city.
Pittsburgh, the second well-known name, is one of the nation’s most important industrial cities, emerging for technology companies in recent decades.
The town of Hershey is known as a name for all chocolate lovers – here is the Hershey headquarter located, which is the largest factory of its kind in the world.
In the south-east of the state you can find traces of the many Dutch and German emigrants of the turn of the century, who found their new home here, perhaps because the landscape here is also very flat. Probably there were even more German than Dutch emigrants, because it is assumed that the word ‘Dutch’, which today stands for ‘Dutch’, actually comes from the german word ‘deutsch’ meaning ‘german’, which was difficult to pronounce in English and thus became ‘dutch’. The people in this valley are still referred to as ‘Pennsylvania Dutch People’ and are famous for their cuisine and unusual buildings and decorations. Groups of them, including the Amish and Mennonites, still stand out today for their costumes, which they wear as they did in the time of their ancestors. They are also opposed to modern achievements of daily life such as telephones, electricity, cars and machines. They are popularly called the ‘Plain People’. Many of them still speak a mixture of German and English or a strongly accentuated English.
Historically, Pennsylvania is one of the most important states in the United States. It is also one of the four remaining Commonwealth states in the US – the others are Massachusetts, Virginia and Kentucky.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, now known as Independence Hall. Philadelphia was the site of the Constituent Assembly from 1787 and the nation’s capital for 10 years from 1790 to 1800.
Another historic event is the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place on July 1-3, 1863 during the Civil War, and was a turning point in the distribution of power between the Northern and Southern armies, as Southern Gen. Robert E. Lee was significantly weakened.
State Data & Essentials
Pennsylvania – State Abbr.: PA
– Statehood Ranking: 2
44,817 square miles (116,072 qkm)
– Land Area Ranking: 32
12,702,379 (2010 Census); 12,281,054 (2000 Census)
The Keystone State
Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
979 m / 3,211 ft (Mt. Davis)
Daylight Saving Time: yes
“Pennsylvania” (by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner)