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Pennsylvania Facts

Pennsylvania, as the name Penn, means “Penn’s Woods,” was founded by William Penn in 1681. Pennsylvania is one of the 13 original States and is known for its rich history, prosperous industries, and the birthplace of America’s liberty.

Pennsylvania has the second-largest population in the United States and is spread out over 42,474 square miles (16,1138 square kilometers).

Thecity of Philadelphia is the 3rd largest city in the United States. Located on the Delaware River, Philadelphia was an early center of experimentation with steamboats and later a major railroad hub.

Pennsylvania Facts for Kids

  • Population: 12.79 million people
  • Land area: 44,775 sq miles
  • Capital City: Harrisburg
  • Largest city: Philadelphia
  • Major cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie
  • Counties: 67
  • State flower: Mountain Laurel flower

Things to Know about Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1787, the constitution was ratified by the United States of America with a total of nine states.

The nine states were Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

The articles of the constitution were to be in effect after April 10, 1788. Pennsylvania voted yes on September 28 for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, making it the second state to do so after Delaware on December 7, 1187.

Some Pennsylvania Dutch people still speak German as a first language.

The Pennsylvania Dutch, or Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, is a group of people who live in Pennsylvania. They are descendants of settlers from the German-speaking regions of Europe and speak English as a second language.

In colonial times, Pennsylvania was known as German Pennsylvania.

The phrase “Pennsylvania Dutch” is still used to identify the people of this region who hail primarily from Germany and Switzerland. The language that is spoken in this region can be traced back to German, Swiss-French, Latin, and Slavic languages.

History has also revealed that the word “Dutch” was used as an abbreviation for Deutsch (German), which was a nickname given to these German settlers during their immigration phase into the present-day United States of America.

George Washington once said Pennsylvania was “the most populous and flourishing colony in America.”

George Washington, one of the founding fathers of the United States and a General in the Revolutionary War, once said that “Pennsylvania was ‘the most populous and flourishing colony in America.

The state of Pennsylvania has made major contributions to American history in terms of institutions like the Philadelphia Constitution Hall. In 1871, Pennsylvania became a state that prohibits slavery.

The Liberty Bell is located in Philadelphia.

The Liberty Bell is located in Philadelphia. It was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Assembly to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the colony’s 1776 state constitution and cast in London, England. The Liberty Bell is one of 18 known bells cast from its model, including Canada’s “Great George” to be rung on special occasions.

The U.S. Constitution was written in Philadelphia.

The U.S. Constitution was written in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified on May 29, 1790. Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the constitution, hence the state’s nickname “The Keystone State.”

The Pennsylvania State House is the oldest surviving state capitol in the U.S.

The Pennsylvania State House is the oldest surviving state capitol in the United States. It has been one of the most iconic structures in Harrisburg for more than two centuries.

The first cornerstone was laid on October 2, 1772, and capped with a lightning rod on August 11, 1802.

The original copy of the U.S. Constitution hangs in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court building in Harrisburg.

The original copy of this important document hangs in a frame at Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court in Harrisburg, with its handwritten annotations intact.

The Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania State House was the site of the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of the United States is one hundred and eighty-seven years old. This was signed on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House.

The Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) voted for independence.

Washington, DC is located in Pennsylvania.

Washington, DC is a city in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is located on the east coast of the country, bounded by the states of Maryland to its south and west and Virginia to its north and east.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is located near Harrisburg

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is located on an island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.

Chocolate Capital of The World

Hershey is a city in the state of Pennsylvania, in the United States. Hershey is located more than 65 miles from Harrisburg and 200 miles from Philadelphia, at the heart of Pennsylvania’s famous Amish Country.

The Hershey Company is based in the community, which makes the famous Hershey Bar and Hershey’s Kisses.

Pennsylvania’s state symbols

Pennsylvania’s State Butterfly

The Pennsylvania state butterfly is a swallowtail butterfly. The Swallowtail possesses the qualities of beauty, intelligence, and patriotism. The Swallowtail is one of the most renowned insects in North America and the world.

This particular variety is also noted for having some distinctive markings on its wings that are particularly noticeable on males during some states of metamorphosis in their life cycle.

State Amphibian Of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania state amphibian is Eastern Hellbender. The hellbender, also known as the eastern or Allegheny giant salamander, is a large species of salamander native to the east-central and southeastern United States. It is one of the largest salamanders in the world, attaining lengths of 28 inches (71 cm).

State Bird Of Pennsylvania

The ruffed grouse is best known for its aggressive display of tail fanning and wing beating. The males also have a rough, loud call which can be heard from more than 200 feet away.

Pennsylvania’s State Animal

Pennsylvania’s state animal is the deer. The deer is one of the largest mammals in Pennsylvania. This mammal has been present in the Pennsylvania area for thousands of years and has an important impact on forest, field, and swampland horticulture. Deer are also known to have a strong role in regulating plant populations and food webs due to their selective grazing behavior.

State Motto Of Pennsylvania

“Liberty and Justice for All.” The state motto of Pennsylvania is “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence.” This motto was adopted in 1776 and revised in 1791.

Pennsylvania’s State Song

Pennsylvania’s state song is “Pennsylvania.” This song was adopted in 1937. The lyrics of this song are by James W. Tate, and the music was composed by Samuel Ward.

Pennsylvania’s State Insect

Pennsylvania’s State Insect is the firefly. The males can be identified by their translucent, emerald-green heads and thorax. The females are known for emitting light from the underside of their abdomen as well as a single stripe along each side of the abdomen.

Pennsylvania State Tree

The Pennsylvania State Tree is the Eastern Hemlock. The Eastern Hemlock is a coniferous tree that can reach heights of up to 75 feet tall. Their needles are typically 2-3 inches long and arranged in bundles of five. These trees have some distinctive bark, which features a white to brown color with black scars from old branches or marks from bears feeding on them. The Eastern Hemlocks also have flat cones, which are 3-8 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.

Pennsylvania’s State Fruit

The Pennsylvania state fruit should be the apple, but at the moment, they have not officially announced a state fruit. The apple is native to Asia and Europe, but it is grown in many countries due to its favorable climate conditions. This fruit has a hard skin that covers white flesh with a variety of textures.

Counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has 67 counties, Bucks County being the oldest (established in 1682). With a population of 1,526,006, Philadelphia County is the most populated. Lackawanna County is the youngest (established in 1878). Lycoming County is the largest county by land area, and Montour County is the smallest. 

All Pennsylvania counties are listed alphabetically below.

Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming, York

Learn More

Pennsylvania was the first colony to have a government that allowed people to elect their representatives.

The religious freedom in Pennsylvania (complete religious freedom for everyone). Brought Quakers to the colony from England and Wales but also from Germany and the Netherlands.

Pennsylvania is the only state with two western mountain ranges. (The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and the Appalachian Mountains.)

In colonial times, Pennsylvania was known as the “Keystone State.” This is because Pennsylvania is at the center of the original 13 colonies.

Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State because it played an important role in America’s early history.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania.

The original Pennsylvania Hotel is located in Philadelphia. It is now a museum.

The first mayor of Philadelphia was William Penn, founder of the city.

Philadelphia is the second-largest city in the U.S.

The Delaware River separates Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania is a large producer of coal.

Pocono is the Native American word for “pleasant valley.” It refers to the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Pocono Mountains are the part of Pennsylvania closest to New York.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a 443-mile toll road that goes from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. It is the longest toll road in the U.S.

Pennsylvania was the first state to create a constitution that would guarantee its citizens certain freedoms.

Morris Arboretum is located in western Pennsylvania. It is the largest arboretum in the U.S.