Pennsylvania – Keystone State

Facts over Pennsylvania

State: Pennsylvania
Abbreviation: PA
Capital: Harrisburg
State Since: December 12, 1787
Area Codes: 215, 267, 412, 484, 570, 610, 717, 724, 814, 878
Bird: Ruffed Grouse
Flower: Mountain Laurel
Largest City: Philadelphia
Motto: Virtue, Liberty, and independence
Nickname: Keystone State
Population: 12,281,054
Song: Pennsylvania
Tree: Eastern Hemlock
Time Zone: -5

Adjacent States:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio

Pennsylvania Travel Information

Pennsylvania (Dutch obsolete: Pennsylvania) is one of the states of the United States. The standard abbreviation for “The Keystone State”, as it is nicknamed, is PA. The capital is Harrisburg, the largest city is Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is one of four states that call themselves a commonwealth, which is legally the same as a state.


The first Europeans to settle in the area were Swedes and the Dutch who established the colony of New Sweden here in 1638. On March 4, 1681, the British King Charles II gifted it to William Penn, who founded a Quaker colony there. The state’s name means “land of the forests of Penn” (silva is Latin for “forest”). Pennsylvania was originally larger: at the time of the uprising against British rule (see American Revolution), present-day Delaware split off. On December 12, 1787, five days after Delaware, Pennsylvania became the second state of the United States. During the American Civil War, the state sided with the Union. The Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was a defining moment in that conflict.


The state of Pennsylvania covers 119,283 km², of which 116,074 km² is land. The state is in the Eastern time zone. Pennsylvania is bordered on the north by New York State and on Lake Erie across from which Canada is located. To the west it borders the state of Ohio. It borders West Virginia to the southwest, Maryland to the south, and Delaware and New Jersey to the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by the Appalachians; the west and east are flatter. The highest point in the state is Mount Davis (979 m). The major rivers are the Delaware, which defines the entire eastern border, the Ohio, the Susquehanna, the Allegheny, and the Monongahela.

Demography and economy

In 2005 Pennsylvania had a population of 12,281,054 (106 per km²). The gross product of the state in 2005 was 430 billion dollars. The main cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton and Allentown. The capital is Harrisburg, which is located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  Pennsylvania is also known for the Amish who live there. Pennsylvania’s nickname is “Key stone state” because of its distinct country shape. A keystone is a stone used as the top stone in an arch above a door or window.



Facts over Liberty Bell

Features: War of Independence Symbol
Features: Admission is free
Location: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Placed: 1752
Designer: Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Hours of Operation: 9am – 5pm
Visitors: 2 million per year

De Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell is a famous and historic bell in Philadelphia, in the United States. The clock is one of the most famous symbols of the American Revolutionary War and is known as a sign of freedom in general.

According to tradition, the bell was rung on July 8, 1776 to gather the citizens of Philadelphia for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Also in 1774 the bell tolled, then to announce the opening of the First Continental Congress. The clock would have struck after the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which historians often take with a grain of salt.

Independence Bell

The Liberty Bell was also known as the “Independence Bell” or the “Old Yankee’s Bell” until the American abolitionist movement adopted the bell as a symbol in 1837. In the 19th century, a crack appeared in the bell. The current wide crack is the result of several repair attempts. In 1893 John Philip Sousa composed a march which he later titled Liberty Bell March. The Liberty Bell is housed in a pavilion located across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia.



Facts over Broadway

Category: Culture
Characteristic: Old-fashioned clothing, horse-drawn carriage
Details: Devil’s Playground (2002)
Location: North America, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana
Number of Amish: 224.000

Amish culture in America

The Amish are a Protestant faith community in North America. They are followers of the Swiss Jakob Amman (1644 – 1730) who broke with Anabaptism (the Mennonites) in 1693. In the past, communities also lived in South America, Russia and Europe (also in the Netherlands). These also emigrated to America or rejoined the Mennonites, Baptists, or other Mennonites over time.

In the 18th century, the British William Penn invited the Amish to his colony of Pennsylvania in North America. There they were able to work as farm labourers. In September 2005, there were about 224,000 Amish registered in 22 states. Most of them lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

The Amish are deeply committed to their Anabaptist faith, which includes a radical pacifism, first, to simple living, close family, community, and being left alone by the modern world. They live in agricultural communities, essentially as everyone lived in the first half of the 19th century with the associated old crafts and the 19th century folk costumes of the countryside.

It is generally considered that all Amish are against technical progress. However, this is more nuanced. By the mid-19th century, it was clear to everyone that the industrial revolution, which was gaining momentum around 1800, had profoundly changed the world within 50 years and that more change was to come in the future. The community then held several conferences on how to deal with modern developments. The bulk, the part known today as the Old Order Amish, decided to reject these developments in their entirety. The rest of the community formed various splinter groups that, to varying degrees, were more liberal with technical progress.

The Old Order Amish today still drive horse-drawn carriages, use no electricity and wear old-fashioned clothing. More liberal movements do have electricity and use, among other things, cars (Beachy and New Order Amish). This can be to use only modern tools on the farms and workshops. Sometimes this involves an almost complete application of all modern technologies in work and residential homes. Often these “modern Amish” are no longer considered Amish by the more conservative.

Several Hollywood films have been made about the Amish, in which the way of life is often exaggerated. According to Amish culture experts, the 1985 film “Witness” remains the most true-to-life picture of the community. There has also been a nine-part series on television in which some young adults were followed during the Rumspringa. This movie is called Amish in the city (2004).

The best picture of the Rumspringa use, and where it can eventually even lead to, is given in the documentary “Devil’s Playground” (2002). This follows a number of teenagers for a longer period of time, and even a number of elders have their say. A rare occurrence, as the Amish do not like to be photographed or filmed.