Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, one of the Middle Atlantic states, and one of the 13 original states of the United States. It entered the Union on December 12, 1787, making it second after Delaware. Pennsylvania means “Penn’s woodland.” It was named in honor of Admiral William Penn, whose son, William Penn, founded the colony as a haven for members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and other religious minorities in 1682. The state is known as the Quaker State, and is also referred to as the Keystone State. This term was apparently first used because of the state’s political importance, though it is also appropriate because of its location in the middle of the 13 original states. With six states to the north and six to the south, Pennsylvania was the keystone in an arch of states. Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is its largest city.
One of Pennsylvania’s outstanding characteristics is its great diversity. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Berks, Lancaster, York, and Chester counties contain some particularly fertile soils. Dairy products, poultry and poultry products, cattle, nursery and greenhouse products, and grains are especially valuable. Central and northern Pennsylvania contains extensive areas of commercial forest. The state continues to be an important industrial state, though there has been a dramatic shift to service-based employment. Especially in western Pennsylvania, many smaller communities as well as Pittsburgh are no longer the flourishing centers of manufacturing that they once were.
Such national shrines as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg are in the state and are constant reminders of Pennsylvania’s importance in the history of the United States. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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