Pennsylvania, is one of the Mid-Atlantic states. Livelihood is maintained in the state through its fertile soils, on which valuable grains are raised, and extensive commercial forests. Pennsylvania remains to be an industrial state, though service-based employment has already become a considerable part of the economic activities of the state. Harrisburg is its capital and Philadelphia is its largest city.
Second only to Delaware, it became part of the Union on December 12, 1787. The name comes from “Penn’s woodland,” in honor of Admiral William Penn, whose son, William Penn, founded the colony in 1682 for the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and other religious minorities. It is for this reason that the state is known as the Quaker State. It also has the nickname “the Keystone State,” due to the state’s initial political importance and its being in the middle of the 13 original states.
A number of national shrines, such as Valley Forge, the Independence National Historical Park, and Gettysburg, are located in the state. Independence Hall, built from 1732 to 1753, served as the State House for the Colony of Pennsylvania where George Washington was appointed general of the Continental Army in 1775, the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were signed in 1776 and 1778 respectively, and the United States Constitution was adopted in 1787.
The building, now a museum, together with the adjacent structure showcasing the Liberty Bell, constitutes Independence National Historical Park. Gettysburg National Military Park in southern Pennsylvania, with its more than 1,300 monuments and battlefield objects are displayed, stands as a reminder of one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War. All across the state are markers that point to critical historical events in American history.