Capital of Pennsylvania

What is the Capital of Pennsylvania?

The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg, located in the southeast of the state. Philadelphia , the largest city in the state and the fifth largest in the United States, is located 170 km west of it . The second largest city in Pennsylvania is located in the east of the state – this is Pittsburgh . Perhaps Pittsburgh would not have become such a large city if mineral deposits had not been found in the vicinity of the city. Today it is not only a major center for their extraction, but also a developing industrial city. Due to its coal deposits, Pennsylvania is also called a coal state.

Brief history

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Delawares (Algonquins), Susquehannocks (Algonquins), Shawnees (Algonquins), and Iroquois (Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas). Then the Delaware Bay was explored in 1609 by Henry Hudson, followed by the Susquehanna in 1615 by the Frenchman Étienne Brûlé. The territory was then colonized by the Swedes, which today constitutes the State of Pennsylvania, to be then temporarily controlled by the Dutch in 1655, before they themselves were driven out by the English in 1664.

In 1681, a royal charter signed by Charles II of England made it possible to attribute the region to William Penn, founder, the following year, of the colony of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia. On the basis of a democratic government guaranteeing freedom of worship and the protection of property, Penn gave the colony a constitution which was to inspire that of the United States.

The colony was populated by many Protestant immigrants (English, German, Dutch, Irish, French Huguenots) and quickly experienced prosperity based on both constant economic development and a unique modus vivendi with the Amerindians, which has earned this state to become a kind of “model” for the other colonies.

In 1751 Benjamin Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; it remains today one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. The colony of Pennsylvania took an active part in the independence movement and was the scene of important battles such as those of Brandyvine, Germantown and Valley Forge. Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the United States Constitution and joined the Union on December 12, 1787.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in the building of the Pennsylvania State House, which later became Independence Hall because the Constitution of the United States was also signed in this building.

A not insignificant part of the immigrants to this state came from Germany, especially from the Palatinate and Württemberg, but also from Alsace and German-speaking Switzerland. Most settlers spoke West Middle German or the Franconian dialect; these German dialects are believed to have merged into Palatinate German. Between 1683 and 1760, the number of German-speaking immigrants must have reached 100,000; according to the 1790 census, Germans constituted more than 25% of Pennsylvania’s population. In 1776, the Congress of Philadelphia had authorized the publication of its proceedings in English and German; a German version of these documents appeared annually from 1786 to 1856. Then it was only in English when the proportion of German speakers decreased significantly.

In 1753, Benjamin Fra nklin (who spoke English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and some Welsh and Latin), had already pointed out the propensity of German speakers to continue speaking and to write German, which made them impervious to anglicization.

In short, one of the founders of the future United States was already convinced that the colonies, then British, had to remain English and that the newcomers had to be anglicized. He also knew that too high a concentration of immigrants of the same origin and on the same territory was necessarily detrimental to their “anglifying” (anglicization). Today, German speakers in Pennsylvania constitute only 0.5% of the population. Some of the German-born descendants still speak Pensilfaanisch (Pennsylvanian German), a dialectal variety of German spoken by Mennonite and Amish communities in the United States and originally from the Palatinate and German-speaking Switzerland. The German speakers founded in 1891 a society dedicated to their cause: the Pennsilfaanische Society of Pennsylvania ( Pennsylvania German Society).

The 1860s saw the true industrial boom of Pennsylvania, thanks to the development of an important transportation network (canals, roads, railroads), mining and metallurgy. Pennsylvania can thus be considered as the cradle of great capitalism (Carnegie, Schwab). Since the end of the 1920s, labor needs have been partly met by black immigration from the southern states of the country. Many German-speaking immigrants left Pennsylvania for Indiana and Ohio.