Founded in 1682 by English Quaker, William Penn, Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest city. But long before the arrival of the Europeans, this area was home to the Lenape (Delaware) Native Americans in a village known as “Sackamaxon.” The Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century with the Dutch establishing their first settlement in 1623, known as Fort Nassau ( now Brooklawn, New Jersey). By 1638, Swedish settlers established the colony of New Sweden in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. Several years of conflict between the Dutch and the Swedes ended in 1755 when Peter Stuyvesant took control of the area and created New Netherlands. By 1664, the English had conquered the area, but not much changed until 1682 when Charles II of England granted a charter to William Penn to establish an English settlement, which Penn named “Philadelphia” (Greek for “brotherly love”). In order to remain friendly with the local Lenapes, Penn bought the land from them in spite of his charter. Because Penn had experienced religious persecution back home, he established religious freedom in the new colony. This helped the city to prosper. By the 1750’s, Philadelphia has become an important trade center and the busiest port in British America. The First Continental Congress was held here in 1774 in an effort to deal with the grievances the various colonies had with England. The Second Continental Congress of 1775-1776 however ended up writing the U.S. Declartion of Independence, beginning the American Revolution. Following this conflict, Philadelphia served as the temporary capital of the U.S. while Washington, D.C. was under construction (this was completed in 1800 and the capital moved to D.C.). Throughout the 19th century, industry flourished in Philadelphia, with the largest of them being textiles. Philadelphia hosted the first World’s Fair in 1876 as part of its Centennial Exposition.
Philadelphia’s City Hall (with William Penn’s statue on top) is so huge that I had to be way down the street to capture it (even at that, the sides were blocked by the other buildings).
Independence Hall where the First and Second Continental Congresses met and where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Located in front of Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell Memorial.
Of course the Hollywood film industry has also left its mark on the city, such as with this statue of “Rocky Balboa” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Philadelphia is known as the “City of Brotherly Love” because that’s what its name translates to from the Greek.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.