By Tim Lambert
In 1681 King Charles II granted a large amount of land in North America to a Quaker named William Penn. He established the colony of Pennsylvania. Penn sailed to North America in 1682. When he arrived he founded the city of Philadelphia.
By 1701 Philadelphia was a flourishing little town. In that year William Penn granted it a charter. In the 18th century, Philadelphia thrived on trade with the West Indies. Its population was swollen by German immigrants. Furthermore, Benjamin Franklin arrived in Philadelphia in 1723.
Bartram’s Garden was founded in 1728. A library was founded in Philadelphia in 1731 and a theater was built in 1766. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Hospital opened in Philadelphia in 1751. In 1774 Tom Paine arrived in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, tensions with Britain were growing. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1774. The Second Continental Congress met there in 1775. Then in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. On 26 September 1777 during the War of Independence British troops occupied Philadelphia. However, they did not hold it for long. The British withdrew from Philadelphia on 18 June 1778. The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787. Meanwhile, Physick House was built in 1786. The First United States Bank was built in 1797.
In 1793 Philadelphia suffered a serious outbreak of yellow fever. Nevertheless, Philadelphia continued to thrive. By 1800 it was the largest town in the USA. In 1800 the population of Philadelphia was 41,000.
19th Century Philadelphia
In the early 19th century Philadelphia grew into a major manufacturing center. The population rose rapidly despite outbreaks of cholera in 1832 and 1849. By 1850 the population of Philadelphia had reached 121,000. Meanwhile, in 1801 Philadelphia gained a piped water supply and the Franklin Institute was founded in 1824. Then in 1836, the city gained a gas supply. However, in 1844 anti-immigrant riots broke out in Philadelphia. Then in 1854, Philadelphia was consolidated.
In the late 19th century the population of Philadelphia continued to boom. Immigrants flooded into the city and by 1900 its population had risen to nearly 1.3 million. Meanwhile in Philadelphia Zoo opened in 1874. In 1876 the World’s Fair was held in Philadelphia. Also in 1876, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened.
Philadelphia in the 20th Century
Philadelphia City Hall was built in 1901.
Meanwhile, in the early 20th century many Italian immigrants came to Philadelphia. After the First World War, many African Americans moved to the city. Benjamin Franklin Parkway was completed in 1926 and Rodin Museum was built in 1929.
However, Philadelphia, like the rest of the nation suffered badly in the Depression of the 1930s. Nevertheless, PSFS Building was built in 1932 and 30th Street Station opened in 1933. Philadelphia History Museum was founded in 1938 and when World War II came its industries boomed again.
However, in 1964 Philadelphia suffered a race riot. On the other hand, JFK Plaza was built in 1965.
In the late 20th century the old manufacturing industries in Philadelphia declined but service industries thrived. The African American Museum in Philadelphia opened in 1976. The same year, 1976 Valley Forge became a historical park. The Please Touch Museum was also founded in 1976. So was the National Museum of American Jewish History. The Philadelphia Convention Center opened in 1993.
Philadelphia gained new shopping malls. Sullivan Progress Plaza Shopping Center opened in 1968. The Court at King of Prussia opened in 1981. Philadelphia Mills opened in 1989.
Philadelphia has some notable modern buildings. One Liberty Place was built in 1987, CoreStates Center was built in 1996.
21st Century Philadelphia
In the 21st century, Philadelphia continued to thrive. The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia opened in 2000 and the National Constitution Center opened in 2003. Comcast Center was built in 2008. The Museum of the American Revolution opened in 2017.
The population of Philadelphia peaked at nearly 2.1 million in 1950. In the late 20th century it declined. However recently it has begun to rise again.
In 2022 the population of Philadelphia was 1.6 million.
Timeline of Philadelphia
1682 William Penn founds the city of Philadelphia
1701 William Penn gives Philadelphia a charter
1723 Benjamin Franklin moved to Philadelphia
1728 Bartram’s Garden is founded
1731 A library is founded in Philadelphia
1751 Pennsylvania hospital is built
1753 Independence Hall is built in Philadelphia
1761 St Peters Church is built
1766 A theater is built in Philadelphia
1774 The first Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia. Tom Paine arrives in Philadelphia.
1775 The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia
1776 The Declaration of Independence is signed in Philadelphia
1777 British troops occupy Philadelphia
1778 The British withdraw from Philadelphia
1786 Physick House is built
1787 The Constitutional Convention is held in Philadelphia
1793 Philadelphia is struck by yellow fever
1797 The First United States Bank is built
1800 Philadelphia is the largest town in the USA with a population of 41,000
1801 Philadelphia gains a piped water supply
1824 The Franklin Institute is founded
1832 Cholera strikes Philadelphia
1836 Philadelphia gains a gas supply
1849 Cholera strikes Philadelphia again
1850 The population of Philadelphia has risen to 121,000
1854 Philadelphia is incorporated
1874 Philadelphia Zoo opens
1876 Philadelphia Museum of Art opens
1900 The population of Philadelphia is 1.3 million
1901 City Hall is built in Philadelphia
1926 Benjamin Franklin Parkway is completed
1929 Rodin Museum is built in Philadelphia
1932 PSFS building is built
1933 30th Street Station opens
1938 Philadelphia History Museum is founded
1950 The population of Philadelphia reaches 2.1 million
1964 Race riots take place in Philadelphia
1965 JFK Plaza is built
1967 Independence Mall is completed
1976 The African American Museum opens in Philadelphia. Valley Forge becomes a historical park. The Please Touch Museum is founded. The National Museum of American Jewish History is founded.
1987 One Liberty Place is built In Philadelphia
1993 Philadelphia Convention Center opens
2000 The National Liberty Museum opens
2003 National Constitution Center opens in Philadelphia
2008 Comcast Center is built