History of the City
Pennsylvania goes back to 1682, when it was first laid out by William Penn. The area quickly grew from a few hundred inhabitants in 1683 to over 2,500 in 1701. Before William Penn left the area in that same year, he issued a charter that officially established Philadelphia as a city and gave the mayor, aldermen, and councilmen the authority to issue laws and ordinances and regulate markets and fairs.
A Pioneer in Education and Health Care
Philadelphia – and Penn Medicine – has long been a center of innovation in education and health care:
- In 1750, Benjamin Franklin helped found the nation's first modern university, now known as the University of Pennsylvania.
- In 1751, Franklin founded Pennsylvania Hospital, now part of Penn Medicine.
- In 1765, Drs. William Shippen and John Morgan received faculty appointments at the nation's first medical school, now the Perelman School of Medicine.
- Dedicated in 2008, The Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania uses innovative architecture and interior design to dramatically enhance patients' comfort, convenience, privacy and overall health care experience.
- Recently opened, the Roberts Proton Therapy Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania brings state-of-the-art, precisely targeted radiation therapy to the Mid-Atlantic for the first time. It will be the most comprehensive such facility in the world, and the first to be fully integrated into an academic medical center.
Revolutionary War Years and Beyond
In 1774, the American colonies became enraged by a series of acts levied against them from England. Subsequently, there was a call for a general congress.
- June 17, 1774 – The Massachusetts Assembly suggested the general congress meeting be held in Philadelphia.
- September 1774 – The First Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia.
- April 1775 – The Revolutionary War commenced.
- July 1776 – The Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence at the Pennsylvania State House.
- September 1787 – The U.S. Constitution was adopted at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and ratified by the original 13 states.
By 1800, Philadelphia had become one of the United States' busiest ports and the country's largest city. Today, Philadelphia continues as a bustling, modern, growing city that still retains its exceptional historical heritage.
Discover more about the history of Philadelphia and explore these historic sites:
- The Liberty Bell
- Independence Hall – The birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
- Philadelphia City Hall – In Center Square in the heart of Philadelphia, this National Historic Landmark rises 510 feet into the air. It is at the exact geographical center of William Penn's original plan for Philadelphia.
- Christ Church Burial Ground – Some of the great leaders of the revolution are buried here, including Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration.
- National Constitution Center – This landmark document that serves as the foundation for the United States government comes to life through multi-media presentation and displays about key Supreme Court decisions.
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