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About Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania ( , lit.‚ÄČ'Penn's forest country'), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Dutch: Pennsylvanie), is a state spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Pennsylvania borders Delaware to its southeast, Maryland to its south, West Virginia to its southwest, Ohio and the Ohio River to its west, Lake Erie and New York to its north, the Delaware River and New Jersey to its east, and the Canadian province of Ontario to its northwest. Pennsylvania was founded in 1681 through a royal land grant to William Penn, the son of the state's namesake. Prior to that, between 1638 and 1655, a southeast portion of the state was part of New Sweden, a Swedish Empire colony. Established as a haven for religious and political tolerance, the colonial-era Province of Pennsylvania was known for its relatively peaceful relations with native tribes, innovative government system, and religious pluralism. Pennsylvania played a vital and historic role in the American Revolution and the ultimately successful quest for independence from the British Empire, hosting the First and Second Continental Congress leading to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. On December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. The bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, at Gettysburg over three days in July 1863, proved the war's turning point, leading to the Union's preservation. Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, the state's manufacturing-based economy contributed to the development of much of the nation's early infrastructure, including key bridges, skyscrapers, and military hardware used in U.S.-led victories in World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Pennsylvania's geography is highly diverse. The Appalachian Mountains run through the center of the state; the Allegheny and Pocono mountains span much of Northeastern Pennsylvania; close to 60% of the state is forested. While it has only 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront along Lake Erie and the Delaware River, Pennsylvania has the most navigable rivers of any state in the nation, including the Allegheny, Delaware, Genesee, Ohio, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, and others. Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the United States, with over 13 million residents as of the 2020 United States census. The state is the 33rd-largest by area and has the ninth-highest population density among all states. The largest metropolitan statistical area is the southeastern Delaware Valley, which includes and surrounds Philadelphia, the state's largest and nation's sixth-most populous city. The second-largest metropolitan area, Greater Pittsburgh, is centered in and around Pittsburgh, the state's second-largest city. The state's subsequent five most populous cities are Allentown, Reading, Erie, Scranton, and Bethlehem. The state capital is Harrisburg.

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