History of Philadelphia

Philadelphia was actually settled by Swedish immigrants in 1646. William Penn was not given the charter to Pennsylvania until 1681 by King Charles II. A year later, he traveled across the ocean to settle in what would be called Philadelphia with a plan to build the city. In order to have a free city, he purchased much of the land from the Lenape Indians and signed a peace treaty with their chief. He wanted to plan a town where anyone could live and practice their religion without fear of being persecuted. He also created the first grid pattern for a city. The first brick house constructed was his home. William Penn only remained in the colonies for two years before returning to England but the city was already being built. By 1700 he returned to the colonies to see the progression his plans were making on the city. Many firsts could be found in Philadelphia – one of them the first public school called The Overseers of the Public School was founded in Philadelphia in 1698. The first schoolmaster was Inoch Flower. Philadelphia also boasts the first parks, the first library, the first almanac, and the first post office. Benjamin Franklin would be the first post master general and would oversee mail between Philadelphia and New York City.

So how did it become the nation's capital? After the mutiny of Philadelphia, Congress fled to New York City but Philadelphia lobbied to be the nation's capital once more. A more central location along the Potomac River was chosen. In 1790, Philadelphia was named the temporary location of the capital while the one along the Potomac (Washington, DC) was being built. For ten years, Philadelphia was the capital.

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