History of Philadelphia

History of Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia has a rich history. It was founded by William Penn in 1682 as part of the English Crown Province of Pennsylvania. Philly started as a trading outpost in the early 1600s and was extremely popular among English, Swedish, and Dutch merchants. 

However, it was during Penn’s reign that the city thrived. Between 1682 and 1700, Philly grew to become one of the biggest shipbuilding centers in the US. The city also developed trade ties with other British colonies including the West Indies. 

Philly also became a huge industrial hub. The textile industry in the city was one of the largest in the country at the time. By 1800, Philadelphia was also the largest town in the US, with a population of over 41, 000 people.

Significance in the American Revolutionary War 

The American Revolutionary War was the fight for independence between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the thirteen North American colonies. The war started in 1775 and became one of the most important historical events in US history. It was the culmination of growing cultural and political tensions between the colonies and the British Monarchy. 

Philadelphia is considered one of the most important cities in the war for several reasons. To start with, the First Continental Congress met in Philly in 1774. The second Congress also met there a year later in 1775. It was also in Philadelphia that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. 

However, even with the Declaration of Independence, the city remained under the occupation of British troops for almost a year. But in 1778, British soldiers withdrew, ushering in a new era of independence. Philadelphia also hosted the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a gathering that led to the creation of the United States Constitution.  

Philly’s Decline in The 20th Century 

Despite enjoying a period of success from the 1600s onward, the city of Philadelphia started to lose its status as one of the most prosperous cities in the United States during the 20th century. Philly’s decline can be traced back to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Stock Market Crash of 1929, in particular, hit the city’s financial sector hard with several banks and credit associations closing. Factory manufacturing also fell by nearly half, as factory wages dropped by 60%. Unemployment was also high. 

However, the beginning of World War 2 was a blessing in disguise for Philadelphia. Due to America’s involvement in the war in Europe, a robust military industry emerged in the city, employing tens of thousands. The US military also recruited hundreds of thousands of servicemen from the city. 

Philadelphia Today

Today, Philadelphia is a growing and thriving hub of culture. The city is home to the most murals of any city in the US, some of the best universities and medical schools in the country, and an ever-growing arts scene. With cultures from around the world, Philly is home to some of the best food neighborhoods, full of diversity. Visit Philadelphia to learn more about American history or to enjoy the modern city it has become! 

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