By Deidre


Pennsylvania is sometimes called the Keystone State because it was in the center of the thirteen colonies just like a keystone is in the center of an arch holding it together. King Charles II gave Pennsylvania its name. The Penn part for William Penn's father , and Pennsylvania means the " woods" in Latin.

Pennsylvania was wooded and had lots of game. There were mountains in the center and the west . The main rivers were the Susquehanna, Ohio, Delaware, and Schuylkill.

The first known people who lived in Pennsylvania were NativeAmericans . They came from Asia about 12,000 years ago. Native Americans built there own houses out of wood . They traded food and fur and supplies .William Penn treated the Indians with respect and they trusted him because he traded things that they wanted for the land that he wanted and it was fair for everybody. Later,after his death, his sons and other colonial leaders did not respect the Indians and often cheated them. This lead to fighting between the Indians and the colonists. Later many Indians fought along with Great Britain against the colonists in the Revolutionary War.

In 1638 the Swedish settled near the Delaware River. They were the first Pennsylvania settlers and called it New Sweden. Nextcame the Dutch and in 1655 they took control of the new land. In 1681 King Charles II gave 50,000 square miles located in Pennsylvania to a man named William Penn to pay him back for a loan Penn's father had made to him. William Penn had a dream for this land that it would be free for people of any religion.

Since Pennsylvania became known for it's freedom of religion many Quakers from England came here. Lutherans from Germanyand Huguenots ( French Protestants) also came to escape persecutionbecause of their religion.

William Penn sailed from England on the ship called the Welcome. He settled in a part of Pennsylvania where the DelawareRiver meets the Schuylkill River and named it Philadelphia whichmeans "City of Brotherly Love" in Greek.

When the Revolutionary War came to Pennsylvania in 1777 George Washington was the leader of the soldiers fighting against the British for freedom for America. This army that he led was called the Continental Army. Soldiers and other people who believed that England was unfair to Americans and wanted to be free from the King's rule were called Patriots.

On September 25th, 1777 the British Army marched into Philadelphia. George Washington's troops fought and lost the Battle of Germantown to the British. The Continental Army went to Valley Forge to camp over the winter staying close to the British in Philadelphia. It was a terrible winter there and almost 3,000 soldiers died because of the freezing weather, from starving, and from disease. In June of 1778 the British were finally forced out of Philadelphia.

A peace treaty ended the war for good in 1783 and America was finally independent from Great Britain. The people ofPennsylvania had helped to make this happen in many ways. An important meeting called The Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia in September, 1774. At this meeting Patriot leaders from all of the colonies talked about the problems they were having with unfair taxes from England. They planned protests against the English government, known as Parliament, at this meeting and agreed to all meet again in the spring. The problems got worse between the Patriots and the English and by the springtime fighting had started in Massachusetts. The Second Continental Congress metagain in Philadelphia and one of the leaders was a famousPhiladelphian named Benjamin Franklin. Ben was gifted as a publisher, a politician and as a scientist. At this meeting the Declaration of Independence was written, voted on, and approvedon July 4,1776 and the war for independence had begun.

Another very important meeting also in Philadelphia happenedin 1787, four years after the war ended. At this meeting the United States Constitution was written and the government of the United States was born. Pennsylvania was the site of many battles during the war. Atleast 35,000 Pennsylvanians fought in the war for independence. Two Philadelphia business men gave the most money of anyone to help pay for the Patriots to fight the war.

On my stamp William Penn is trading with an Indian, showingthe good relationship that Penn had by treating the Indians fairly. Also on my stamp is Benjamin Franklin, the most famous Philadelphian inventor and Patriot. Betsy Ross was a Patriot famous for sewing the first American flag with thirteen stars for the thirteen colonies. They are standing under a keystone which is a symbol for being a strong center that holds everything together and that's what Pennsylvania was.

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