Philadelphia: A Brief History

Independence Hall Long populated by native people known as the Lenni Lenapi, the area now known as Philadelphia came to the attention of settlers (mostly Swedes) in the mid 1600's.

In 1664 The British claimed the area, and sent warships to protect their interest.   In 1681 The Quaker William Penn received a charter from the British crown for a colony on the Delaware River.   Dutch speaking Quakers were among the first to establish settlements, followed in the early 1700's by French, Italian and Swiss settlers.

For over fifty years Penn and his sons acted as administrators for the colony, along with a legislative assembly, which later becomes a model for U.S. government.   By the 1740's about half the population spoke German. During this time, large numbers of Scots and Irish arrived in the colony.

In 1774 delegates of the first Continental Congress met at Carpenter's Hall. They voted to boycott Britsh products based on poor treatment and unfair taxes on the colonialists. In 1775 the second Congress drafted a petition for reconcilliation with the Crown, which the King refused to read. This set in motion the activities leading to independence.

The second Continental Congress created the The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 1776, declaring the thirteen colonies free from British rule. On July 8th, legend has it the ringing of the Liberty Bell marked the first public reading of the declaration at Independence Hall. This marked the beginning of the war of independence with England.

Colonial soldiers On June 14,1777 the Continental Congress officially adopted the flag created by Betsy Ross as our national flag.  The battle of Brandywine in 1777 marked the beginning of the British assault on Philadelphia.

By October of that year, the British occupied the city.  The Americans establish a river blockade at Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer on both sides of the Delaware which inhibited British delivering goods to its soldiers. During the war Washington Square became a burial ground for troops of both sides and now is the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier if the Revolutionary War. By 1778 Americans regained control of Philadelphia.

Perhaps the most famous of all Philadelphians is Benjamin Franklin.  Born in Boston in 1706 Franklin came to Philadelphia at the age of 17 and became a man known throughout the land as a statesman, scholar, scientist, inventor, and most of all, patriot.  His residence is located at Franklin Court, and he is buried in Christ Church Cemetery

In 1787 The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to adopt the Constitution of the United States.   In 1791, the First Bank of the United States received a Federal charter.   In 1792, Philadelphia became the home of the first United States Mint.

The early 1800's were a time of expansion in the city. Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1825. The Philadelphia Inquirer began publishing in 1829. The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin started in 1847, and the American Medical Association was organized in Philadelphia the same year.   By the 1850's, Philadelphia was the world's leading textile manufacturing city.  In 1860, the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team was founded. In 1871 The Athletics won the championship of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players.   In 1876 Philadelphia hosted the Centennial exposition, a World's Fair. %nbsp In 1877 the Philadelphia Museum of Art is founded. During 1883 the Philadelphia Phillies begin playing in Philadelphia

In 1900 the Philadelphia Orchestra was formed. In 1901 the city held it's first Mummers parade. Between 1910-1913 the Athletics won the World Series three times. The Phillies won their first National League pennant in 1915. In 1933 the Philadelphia Eagles football team was founded. They won their first league championships in 1948 and 1949.

During the 1950s and 60's, Philly is the heart of rock and roll music. Philadelphia singers and groups dominate the music scene. Franklie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian,Lee Andrews and the Hearts, Danny and the Juniors, The Dovelles, Dee Dee Sharp, Patty Labelle and Chubby Checker are but some of the countless Philly performers who dominated the airwaves. American Bandstand broadcasts from Philadelphia.

1967 marked the creation of the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey team, and the year the 76's won the NBA championship. The Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. During 1976 the city celebrated the Bicentenial, and in 1980 the Phillies win the World Series.

As the city heads toward it's 400th year, it continues to make history as one of America's premiere cities.


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