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Pennsylvania - facts and history

Pennsylvania lies in the eastern United States. It is one of the original 13 colonies and covers an area of 45,333 square miles. Major cities include Harrisburg, the capital, and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, both of which are leading industrial centers.

The Appalachian mountains cross the state from east to west. To the west of the mountains lie plateaus, rising in places to more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The northern boundary of the state is formed by Lake Erie and on its shores is a fertile strip of land. Narrow plains lie in the southeast.

Pennsylvania facts and history: map

Pennsylvania facts and history:

The map shows the location of the Middle Atlantic state of Pennsylvania.

Much of the state is drained by rivers, the greatest of which is The Susquehanna. The vast river systems provide a means of transport that has helped to make Pennsylvania one of the leading manufacturing states. About one-third of Pennsylvania's 12,604,767 people work in manufacturing industries. Iron and steel production is the chief industry and Pennsylvania leads the states in this field. Other important industries include food processing and the manufacture of machinery and textiles. Pennsylvania is rich in natural resources. The state provides most of the coal for the United States. There are also vast supplies of petroleum, natural gas and iron ore.

Pennsylvania facts and history: The National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge

Pennsylvania facts and history:

The National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania was erected to honor the American forces who camped there during one winter of the Revolutionary War. General Washington's army was defeated at Philadelphia and Germantown and he decided to spend the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Washington's men had no supplies and had to build themselves log huts and shelters. Many men could not bear the cold and hunger, and deserted. About 11,000 troops stayed with Washington. At least 3,000 soldiers died at Valley Forge from hunger and disease

Although Pennsylvania is mainly an industrial state, agriculture is important. The chief crops include corn, fruit, tobacco and wheat. Much of the field crops are used to feed cattle and chickens. Dairy products and eggs are major sources of income. The chief agricultural regions lie in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the state.

From 1609 until 1664, the Pennsylvania territory was under Dutch control. In 1664, it was seized by the British and in 1681, it was granted to William Penn, an English Quaker. It was named after his father. Industrial development began in the early 1700's, with the production of iron and by the mid-1800's, Pennsylvania was a leading industrial state. In the 1950s and 1960s, many of Pennsylvania's coal mines were forced to close.

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