Pennsylvania Timeline History

The Birth of Pennsylvania depicts William Penn receiving Pennsylvania's royal charter from King Charles II of England. Penn founded the colony in 1681 as a refuge for Quakers.

arrow Pennsylvania Timeline History

arrow 1608: Captain John Smith of Virginia visits the area

arrow 1609: Henry Hudson arrives, and the land is claimed by the Dutch

arrow 1643: Johan Printz establishes the first permanent European settlement zzzSwedish origin: in the area

arrow 1655: The Dutch seize the Swedish settlements. They would later be seized and controlled by the British in 1664

arrow 1682: William Penn arrives from England, and claims the Pennsylvania and Delaware lands given him by King Charles II

arrow 1744: Benjamin Franklin establishes the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, beginning his long-string of contributions to America

arrow 1754: The French and Indian War begins, and George Washington, at the battle of Laurel Mountain, claims the first victory in that war.

arrow 1776: The Declaration of Independence is adopted in Philadelphia

arrow 1777-78: Severe winter responsible for many deaths in the Continental Army, when George Washington's troops gathered at Valley Forge

arrow 1787: Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution

arrow 1790: At age 84, Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia

arrow 1790-1800: Philadelphia is declared the capital of America

arrow 1792: The first labor union established by shoemakers in Philadelphia

arrow 1856: The first Republic National Convention convenes in Philadelphia

arrow 1859: America's first oil well is successfully drilled in Titusville

arrow 1863: The Union's Civil War victory at Gettysburg was both a turning point in that war, and a most tragic event, as over 51,000 were killed and wounded during the two-day battle. Later, President Abraham Lincoln would make his famed Gettysburg Address here

arrow 1889: Over 2,000 people died in the Johnstown flood

arrow 1920: KDKA radio in Pittsburgh becomes the first full-time broadcaster in the country

arrow 1940: The initial stages of the Pennsylvania Turnpike open, and becomes the country's first multiple-lane highway

arrow 1972: Hurricane Agnes causes severe wind and water damage to the state

arrow 1979: A near disaster occurs at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg

arrow 1994: U.S. Representative Tom Ridge is elected governor

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