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Pennsylvania, US (Population: 12,440,621)
State Capitol: Harrisburg

Major Cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Upper Darby Twp, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lower Merion Twp, Lancaster

State Nickname/Motto: Keystone State - Virtue, Liberty, and Independence

Statehood Granted: December 12, 1787

History: Before the state was settled, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehannock, Iroquois, Erie, Shawnee, and other American Indian tribes. In 1681, Charles II granted a land charter to William Penn, to repay a large debt owed to William's father, Admiral Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history. The land included present-day Delaware and Pennsylvania. It was called Pennsylvania, meaning "Penn's Woods", in honor of Admiral Penn.

Geography: Highest Point - Mt. Davis; 3,213 feet. It is the 33rd largest state in the United States. The lowest point is at sea level on the Delaware River, and the approximate mean elevation is 1,100 feet. Pennsylvania is in the Eastern time zone.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.9%), White (84.6%), Black or African American (10.1%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.1%), Asian (2.2%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (1.9%), Two or more races (1.1%), Hispanic or Latino (4.0%)*

Famous State People:
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832 - 1888) Novelist. She wrote Little Women (1868-69); born in Germantown
  • Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964) Biologist, author; born in Springdale.
  • Arnold Palmer (1929 - ) Famous golfer; born in Latrobe
  • Bill Cosby (1937 - ) Actor. He was a stand-up comedian and starred in his own sit-com; born in Philadelphia.
  • Betsy Ross (1752 - 1836) She was reported to have made the first American Flag; lived in Philadelphia.
  • Robinson Jeffers (1887 - 1962) Poet; born in Pittsburgh.
  • Tara Lipinski (1982 - ) Figure skater who won the 1998 women's figure skating gold medal at the Olympics in Nagano, becoming the youngest in history (15 yrs., 7 mos.); born in Philadelphia.
  • Andrew Wyeth (1917 - ) Famous painter; born in Chadds Ford.
  • James Buchanan (1791 - 1868) The 15th president of the U.S.; born in Mercersburg.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Susquehanna University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Scranton, Washington & Jefferson College

    State Parks: Allegheny Islands, Big Pocono, Bald Eagle, Caledonia, Delaware Canal, Erie Bluffs, French Creek, Fort Washington, Kinzua Bridge, Keystone, Leigh Gorge, Parker Dam, Shawnee, Susquehanna, Tuscarora, Tyler, Warrior Path, Worlds End

    Misc: Pennsylvania is home to the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation's first. Other notable zoos include Claws 'n Paws, Erie Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo, and ZOOAMERICA. The state boasts some of the finest museums in the country. One of the unique museums is the Houdini Museum, the only building in the world devoted to the legendary magician. It is also home to the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh. In addition of the 121 state parks in Pennsylvania all are accessible to the public with free admission.

    *U.S. Census - 2005