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Pennsylvania History Timeline


  • (1608) Captain John Smith of Virginia visited Susquehannock Indians
  • (1609) Henry Hudson claimed land for Dutch
  • (1615 - 1616) Explorers Etienne Brule of France, Cornelius Hendricksen of The Netherlands explored part of Pennsylvania; Brule lived among Indians
  • (1632) Brule killed by Indians
  • (1643) Swedes established first permanent settlement in Pennsylvania on Tinicum Island
  • (1655) Dutch seized Swedish settlements
  • (1664) British captured Dutch colonies in name of Duke of York
  • (1676) Duke of York's Laws introduced for English laws, civil government
  • (1681) William Penn received royal grant of Pennsylvania from King Charles II
  • (1682) Duke of York deeded lands to William Penn; Penn arrived in Pennsylvania, laid out Philadelphia; created three original counties; first Assembly held, united Delaware counties with Pennsylvania, adopted Great Law
  • (1683) Penn signed friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians; Mennonite families arrived from Germany, settled Germantown
  • (1684) Congress named William Penn and wife, Hannah Callowhill Penn, third, fourth honorary citizens of U. S.
  • (1686) Penn purchased land along Lehigh River from Lenape Indians
  • (1688) Germantown Quakers adopted first antislavery resolution in America
  • (1701) Penn presented Charter of Privileges for Province of Pennsylvania; established religious freedom, tolerance. Remained as constitution until American Revolution
  • (1712) Pennsylvania Assembly banned importing of slaves
  • (1720) First Catholic congregation organized in Philadelphia
  • (1731) Benjamin Franklin opened first U.S. library
  • (1737) Pennsylvania took over large portion of native American land, (Walking Purchase)
  • (1744) Benjamin Franklin established American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia
  • (1750) Benjamin Franklin used kite to establish that lightning is a form of electricity
  • (1752) Benjamin Franklin tested lightning rod; Liberty Bell arrived in Philadelphia
  • (1754) French and Indian War began; George Washington claimed first victory at Laurel Mountain; Lenape Indians attacked Gnadenhutten Mission, killed 11 white people
  • (1754 - 1763) French and Indian War
  • (1755) Gen. Graddock's British troops slaughtered near Monongahela
  • (1758) Gen. John Forbes led British forces in capture of Fort Duquesne
  • (1763) Indians rose up against British colonies
  • (1767) Boundary between Maryland, Pennsylvania established, named Mason-Dixon line
  • (1773) Philadelphia refused entry to tea ships
  • (1774) First Continental Congress met secretly in Philadelphia; protested British measures, taxes
  • (1775) Second Continental Congress met, George Washington named supreme commander; postal system for colonies established, Benjamin Franklin first postmaster general
  • (1776) A committee of the Second Continental Congress consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut (the "Committee of Five") was formed to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. The resulting Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia; Pennsylvania established commonwealth; Betsy Ross sewed first American flag
  • (1777 - 1778) British troops occupied Philadelphia; General George Washington (America's first President) and his bloodied and battle-worn Continental Army wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. This tactical decision provided a much-needed rest and retraining period, and after six months in camp his highly-motivated and revitalized army marched out of Valley Forge to defeat the British in battle after battle.
  • (1777) Congress of United States left Philadelphia, moved to York
  • (1780) Pennsylvania first state to abolish slavery
  • (1787) Pennsylvania second state to ratify U. S. Consitutition
  • (1790 - 1800) Philadelphia capital of U. S.
  • (1792) Philadelphia shoemakers formed first union
  • (1793) Yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia killed about 2,000
  • (1794) Whiskey Rebellion occurred - protest against taxes on distilled spirits
  • (1812) Harrisburg became state capital
  • (1835) Liberty Bell cracked while being tolled for Chief Justice John Marshall
  • (1840's) Chain Gang, earliest Mummers Club, founded

Pennsylvania Photographs

Tinicum IslandPenn's treatyAmerican philosophical societyBenjamin Franklin's kiteIndependence HallDeclaration of IndependenceFort Le QuesneBetsy RossBattle of GermantownBattle of MonogahelaBurning of ChamberburgGettysburg AddressThree Mile Island

Pennsylvania Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Gettysburg Adams 717
Pittsburgh Allegheny 412
Kittanning Armstrong 724
Aliquippa Beaver 724
Bedford Bedford 814
Reading Berks 610
Altoona Blair 814
Sayre Bradford 570
Levittown Bucks 215
Butler Butler 724
Johnstown Cambria 814
Emporium Cameron 814
Lehighton Carbon 610
State College Centre 814
West Chester Chester 610
Clarion Clarion 814
Du Bois Clearfield 814
Lock Haven Clinton 570
Bloomsburg Columbia 570
Meadville Crawford 814
Mechanicsburg Cumberland 717
Harrisburg Dauphin 717
Upper Darby Delaware 610
Saint Marys Elk 814
Erie Erie 814
Uniontown Fayette 724
Marienville Forest 814
Chambersburg Franklin 717
McConnellsburg Fulton 717
Waynesburg Greene 724
Huntingdon Huntingdon 814
Indiana Indiana 724
Punxsutawney Jefferson 814
Mifflintown Juniata 717
Scranton Lackawanna 570
Lancaster Lancaster 717
New Castle Lawrence 724
Lebanon Lebanon 717
Allentown Lehigh 610
Wilkes Barre Luzerne 570
Williamsport Lycoming 570
Bradford McKean 814
Greenville Mercer 724
Lewistown Mifflin 717
East Stroudsburg Monroe 570
Norristown Montgomery 610
Danville Montour 570
Bethlehem Northampton 610
Sunbury Northumberland 570
Duncannon Perry 717
Philadelphia Philadelphia 215
Milford Pike 570
Coudersport Potter 814
Pottsville Schuylkill 570
Selinsgrove Snyder 570
Somerset Somerset 814
Dushore Sullivan 570
Montrose Susquehanna 570
Wellsboro Tioga 570
Lewisburg Union 570
Franklin Venango 814
Warren Warren 814
Washington Washington 724
Lake Ariel Wayne 570
Greensburg Westmoreland 724
Tunkhannock Wyoming 570
York York 717

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.