Philadelphia is one of the most important and historically rich cities in the United States, the first capital of the US.
Founded for religious tolerance and equality, the city played an important role in the American Revolution, was the nation's first capital, and was the place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted. It was there that the country's first library, hospital, stock exchange, bank, medical school, and business school, as well as a zoo, were established.
Philadelphia is not only a city with a rich history but also a place that influenced the shaping of the United States and its national identity.
It is the sixth-largest city in the United States and the largest in the state of Pennsylvania. On the East Coast, Philadelphia is the second largest city after New York.
The city sits on the Delaware River in the center of the Delaware Valley metropolitan area. It is the seventh largest in the country and one of the world's largest metropolitan regions, home to over 6.2 million inhabitants.
Since 1854, Philadelphia has also been the seat of Philadelphia County, the boundaries of which are within the city limits.
It is also called The City of Brotherly Love. This name comes from Greek, where philos means "friend, loving" and adelphos - "brother".
They formed the small village of Shackamaxon. Most of the Delaware Indians were pushed from their lands in the 18th century by European colonists and by fighting between tribes. Europeans arrived in the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, and the first settlements were built there by Dutch colonists (including Fort Nassau in 1623) and called the area New Netherland.
In 1638, Swedish settlers arrived there and, led by a rebellious Dutch settler, founded a new colony, New Sweden, in Fort Christina. They fought among themselves, in which the Dutch gained the advantage. In 1664, the English fleet took control of New Netherland, and in 1682, the English Quaker William Penn obtained the rights to this colony and founded Philadelphia.
Despite the edict, he purchased the land from the Delaware Indians to ensure peace for his colony. Local legend says that Penn made a pact of friendship with a Delaware chief under an elm tree in the Indian settlement of Shackamaxon (now Fishtown District).
William Penn was a member of the Quakers (a Christian religious community), he experienced religious persecution, so he wanted his colony to be a place of religious tolerance.
He planned a city on the Delaware River, which was to be a port and the seat of administration. He wanted it to be like a small English town surrounded by gardens and orchards. However, the inhabitants had a different vision of their city.
In 1701, William Penn issued a charter establishing Philadelphia as a city. Initially poor, Philadelphia quickly became an important commercial center. The city's leading citizen, Benjamin Franklin (one of the later founding fathers of the United States) made a major contribution to the improvement and modernization of the city. He improved services and established new ones, some of the first in the country, including a fire brigade, a library, and a hospital.
Numerous philosophical societies were established there and were centers of the city's intellectual life, including the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (1785), Pennsylvania Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts (1787), Academy of Natural Sciences (1787), and the Franklin Institute (1824).
It also became the second-largest city in the entire British Empire after London. As a result of the growing aversion to British colonial practices, ideas of independence emerged. Philadelphia became the center of American revolutionaries and hosted the First Continental Congress.
The Second Continental Congress, which united the 13 colonies, was also held in Philadelphia. He created a new country called the United Colonies. In 1776, it was renamed the United States of America. On July 2, 1776, Congress declared independence from Great Britain and unanimously agreed to the Declaration of Independence, which was signed two days later on July 4.
The day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence became the basis for annual celebrations by Americans. In 1938, this celebration was formalized as Independence Day - one of ten designated federal holidays in the US.
The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania from the London firm of Lester and Pack and was cast with the inscription "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof" (a biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus).
Over the years, the bell has repeatedly announced important public events and threats to society. It was first named the Liberty Bell by a group of activists trying to abolish slavery. In the 1830s, abolitionists adopted it as a symbol of their fight for the right to freedom.
Currently, the bell is a museum exhibit in Philadelphia. It is located in a building that is part of Independence National Historical Park.
This building was built in 1753 as the Pennsylvania Statehouse. It was the main meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1781 and the site of the Constitutional Convention, during which the Constitution of the United States was ratified on June 21, 1788 (adopted on September 17, 1787, entered into force on March 4, 1789) - the highest legal act in force in the United States, the basis of the legal system and political system. The US Constitution is often considered the first constitution in the world (the Constitution of Corsica of 1755 is earlier than it).
This historic civic building in Philadelphia is now the centerpiece of Independence National Historical Park.
In 1966, Independence Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1979, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It served in this role throughout much of the colonial and early post-colonial period, including from 1790 to 1800, when Washington, D.C. was being built and prepared to take over as the nation's new capital. The capital was moved to Washington after the construction of the White House and Capitol in 1800.
In the period from August 1 to November 9, the plague killed at least 4000 to 5000 people there, which constituted about 10 percent of the city's population at that time. During this time, 20.000 people left the city, including congressional and executive branch officials of the federal government. Some neighboring cities did not admit refugees from Philadelphia, and major port cities, including Baltimore and New York, quarantined refugees and goods from Philadelphia.
It was also the country's financial and cultural center, and projects to build new roads, canals, and railroads resulted in Philadelphia becoming the first major industrial city in the United States. As the United States celebrated its centennial in 1876, Philadelphia's industry was celebrated at the Centennial Exposition, the first official World's Fair in the United States.
In 1816, the city's free Black community founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, whose main message was to avoid widespread discrimination in society. It was the first independent Black denomination in the country and the first Black Episcopal Church.
Immigrants came to the city, mainly from Ireland and Germany, who were fleeing the Great Famine in the 1840s. They founded a network of Catholic churches and schools and dominated the Catholic clergy for decades.
During the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century, immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe, Italy, and African Americans from the southern United States settled in the city.
The earliest structures were built of wooden logs, but brick buildings appeared there as early as 1700. In the 18th century, Georgian architecture dominated the city landscape (Independence Hall, Christ Church).
Frank Furness was considered the greatest architect of Philadelphia in the second half of the 19th century.
Row houses were characteristic of Philadelphia and appeared at the beginning of the 19th century not only in this city but also in other parts of the United States, known as Philadelphia Rows.
This was the PSFS Building (now known as the Loews Philadelphia Hotel), designed by George Howe and William Lescaze. The building was the second skyscraper in the US to be equipped with air conditioning. Topped with a red neon sign with the initials PSFS, it is visible from a distance of 32 kilometers and is an icon of Philadelphia.
The 167 m high skyscraper remained the tallest building in the city until 1987.
He lived there from 1838 to 1844 with his wife, Virginia Clemm Poe. Initially, he was editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, then editor-in-chief of Graham's Magazine. During these years, Poe wrote, among other things: Ligeia, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Golden Beetle.
During his eight-year term, he laid the foundations for the Catholic parochial school system that still exists in the United States today. He also founded many Catholic newspapers and magazines and published two catechisms and a translation of the Bible into German. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1977 as the first American bishop.
The Philadelphia Zoo is located on the west bank of the Schuylkill River. It was approved on March 21, 1859, but due to the American Civil War, it was opened only on July 1, 1874. It is one of the first zoos in the world that is known for breeding animals considered difficult to breed in captivity.
Currently, it covers an area of 17 hectares and is home to over 1300 animal species, many of which are endangered or rare.
Its history dates back to 1775 when the Continental Congress appointed the first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin. It was in Philadelphia that an organized and coordinated postal service for the entire country began.
The US Postal Service has played a key role in communications, economic development, and the founding of a nation. Therefore, the Philadelphia Post Office is of great importance as the first institution of this type in the history of the United States.
These were the Bank of North America, founded in 1781, and the Bank of Pennsylvania, founded in 1782, which was also known as Wilson's Bank because its founder was James Wilson, a signer of the United States Constitution.
Originally, this stock exchange was a place where mainly bonds were traded. Later, it expanded into stocks and options. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world. It played a key role in the development of financial markets in the US.
It is home to sixty-seven national monuments, including Independence Hall, and has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other city in the country.
Many outstanding and influential Americans in the fields of science, art, architecture, sports, business, and politics come from Philadelphia. They include historical figures such as Andrew Allen - former delegate to the Continental Congress, Edward Biddle - one of the Founding Fathers, Francis Biddle - former US Attorney General, and chief judge of the Nuremberg Trials, William C. Bullitt Jr., who led a special negotiating mission with Vladimir Lenin, Grace Kelly - actress, former Princess of Monaco, Benjamin Franklin - Founding Father, Simon Guggenheim, Benjamin Netanyahu and many other.
The city has 45 theaters, 32 museums, and 66 cinemas.
In 2016, the city was visited by 42 million domestic tourists, whose stay added $6.8 billion to the city's coffers.