Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.
Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, and the 6th-most populous state according to the last official U.S. Census count in 2010. It is the 9th-most densely populated of the 50 states. Pennsylvania's two most populous cities are Philadelphia (1,567,872), and Pittsburgh (303,625). The state capital and its 10th largest city is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.
The Mason–Dixon line (or "Mason and Dixon's Line") is a demarcation line between four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (then part of Virginia). It was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. The Mason–Dixon line is often symbolically viewed as a cultural boundary between the Northern United States and the Southern United States (Dixie).
Maryland and Pennsylvania both claimed the land between the 39th and 40th parallels according to the charters granted to each colony. The 'Three Lower Counties' (Delaware) along Delaware Bay moved into the Penn sphere of settlement, and later became the Delaware Colony, a satellite of Pennsylvania.
In 1732 the proprietary governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, signed an agreement with William Penn's sons which drew a line somewhere in between, and also renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware. But later Lord Baltimore claimed that the document he signed did not contain the terms he had agreed to, and refused to put the agreement into effect. Beginning in the mid-1730s, violence erupted between settlers claiming various loyalties to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland would be known as Cresap's War. (Read more...)
Did you know ...
- ... that the Mid-Delaware Bridge (pictured) over the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New York is the uppermost four-lane bridge on the river's main stem?
- ... that Fort Antes in what is now Nippenose Township, Pennsylvania, survived a scorched earth attack during the American Revolutionary War, despite having been abandoned by its defenders?
- ... that the Susquehanna Boom led to Williamsport, Pennsylvania having more millionaires per capita than any other city at the time?
- ... that Peter Herdic, a 19th century Pennsylvania lumber baron, millionaire, and philanthropist, also invented the horse-drawn herdic, an early form of taxicab?
- ... that Sylvia Seegrist was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for killing three people in 1985 in a Pennsylvania shopping mall, even though she had a history of paranoid schizophrenia?
James Buchanan, Jr. (April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the fifteenth President of the United States (1857–1861). To date he is the only President from Pennsylvania and the only President never to marry. As president he was a "doughface" who battled Stephen A. Douglas for control of the Democratic Party. As Southern states declared their secession in the lead-up to the American Civil War, he held that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Taking his own advice, he did nothing.
Buchanan was a Representative and a Senator from Pennsylvania. He was born in a log cabin at Cove Gap, near Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1791, to James Buchanan and Elizabeth Speer as the second of ten children (two of whom did not survive past infancy). The Buchanan family claims direct descent from King James I of Scotland. In 1802, he moved to Mercersburg with his parents, where he was privately tutored. He later attended the village academy and graduated from Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At one point, he was expelled from Dickinson for wild behavior and bad conduct, but after pleading for a second chance he graduated with honors three years later on September 7, 1809. (Read more...)
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