Pennsylvania ( Penns Forest Land ' [ Latin silva ' forest ' or Silvanus, a forest deity ]; . Engl pronunciation [ ˌ pɛnsɪlveɪnɪə ] ), German and Pennsylvania, the official name of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ( commonwealth of Pennsylvania ) is an association founded by William Penn State in the eastern United States of America and one of its thirteen founding states.

Pennsylvania is also called " Keystone State" ( Keystone State, according to the central wedge-shaped stone in the center of an arc ). Together with New York and New Jersey Pennsylvania is attributed to the Mid-Atlantic States.

  • 2.1 Age and gender structure
  • 2.2 Ethnicity
  • 2.3 Population development
  • 2.4 religions
  • 2.5 languages
  • 2.6 Largest cities
  • 4.1 Governors
  • 4.2 Senate
  • 5.1 Sports


Pennsylvania is bordered to the east by New Jersey, on the southeast by Delaware, south to Maryland, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west and to the north by New York and Lake Erie. The state extends 274 km in north-south direction and 455 km in the east-west extension. The total area of the state is 119,283 km ²; of which 116,075 km ² of land surfaces; 3208 km ² are water surfaces, accounts of which 1940 km ² on Lake Erie. The highest elevation of the state is 979 m meters above sea level, Mount Davis, who was named after its owner, a teacher who fought on the Union side during the Battle of Gettysburg. The lowest point in Pennsylvania is located at sea level along the Delaware River; the average height is 335 m.

The main river through the land called Susquehanna River. Pennsylvania is characterized by deciduous forests and hills. In the east you will find the low mountain range of the Appalachians.

In the south of the state lies the interesting archaeological excavation site Meadowcroft.



Pennsylvania has 12,418,756 inhabitants ( U.S. Census 2007), of which 83.8 % White, 10.4% African American, 4.2% Hispanic, 2.3 % Asian, 0.1% Native American.

Age and gender structure

The age structure of Pennsylvania is composed as follows:

  • To 18 years: 2,807,534 (22.6% )
  • 18-64: 7,749,853 ( 62.3 %)
  • Aged 65 and over: 1,883,231 ( 15.1%)

The median age is 39.6 years. 48.6 % of the population are male and 51.4 % are female.


3,606,651 inhabitants of Pennsylvania reported in the 2006 census to have German -born ancestors. With a share of 29.0% of the total population, the German -Russians make them the largest ethnic group in the state dar. The following are by far the groups of Irish ( 18.2% ), Italian ( 12.9% ), English - (8.7%) and Polish -Russians ( 7.4%).

German -speaking immigrants, the Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Mennonites and Amish, settled mainly in the south, especially in Lancaster County, down. 1683 German Town was founded. Berks County had been settled in the 18th century by Protestant Germans. 30,000 immigrants from 1727 to 1776 are published by name with details of the names of the vessels of the Einschiffungsortes and date of arrival in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania has no official language. English and German are used legally.

Population Development

1900-1990 2000


The most members religious communities in 2000 were the Catholic Church with 3,802,524, the United Methodist Church with 659,350 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 611,913 adherents.


Pennsylvania has officially not an official language. There the English language and to some extent the German language by an official body but are used primarily.

Largest cities


Originally Pennsylvania was the settlement area of ​​the exterminated by the Iroquois and European colonists Susquehannock. 1643 the first settlers coming from Sweden settled. Later it came under the control of England.

From 1671 to William Penn traveled to many European countries and promoted the Quaker colonies in the New World. The largest immigration of Quakers began in 1681, when the Quakers passed from Charles II of England a large land area at the former western border of the settled areas and Penn appointed the governor of Pennsylvania later said region. The "holy experiment," as it was called Penn, was the only ever existing Quaker State. In him there was from the beginning full religious freedom.

1774 and 1775, the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall (then Pennsylvania State House ) was signed on July 4, 1776. 1787 also still valid today the United States Constitution was ratified during the Constitutional Convention known as the Philadelphia Convention in Philadelphia. After Delaware Pennsylvania agreed as the second State of the Constitution and thus came in as one of the 13 founding countries of the Union. 1790-1800 Philadelphia to New York was the second capital of the United States. In the American Civil War (1861-1865) Pennsylvania was on the side of the Northern states. Approx. 350,000 Pennsylvanians served in the Union army in addition to about 8,600 African American volunteers. Between the 1st to July 3, 1863 was one of the most important events in American history took place on the ground in Pennsylvania. At the Battle of Gettysburg, the northern states were victorious over the South. The battle is one of the crucial turning points of the American Civil War. World famous, the hole was for oil, conducted by Edwin L. Drake on August 27, 1859, in Oil Creek in Titusville. This solved in the region of an oil boom, similar to the gold rush. Many people took it in the region. The United States is one of the largest oil producers since the world.

On March 28, 1979, a meltdown occurred at the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Iceland, near the city of Harrisburg. On September 11, 2001, four American planes were hijacked and used for terrorist attacks. Two were in New York City and one in Washington, DC to crash. The fourth plane, which is probably a government building in Washington, DC should meet, was brought by one of the kidnappers in Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash because he was involved in battles with the passengers. 2005, a nationwide sensational trial in Dover (Pennsylvania) took place: the process Kitzmiller vrs. Dover Area School District. Here, the Court United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that intelligent design is not a science and therefore should not be taught in schools as an alternative to evolutionary theory.


Pennsylvania is politically and socially a deeply forked State. While the West is characterized traditionally by steel and mining industry around Pittsburgh, the hill country of the expiring Appalachia is characterized by small towns and farm country in which the churches of the Quakers, Presbyterian Church and Amish often form the centers of society. This area can be compared with the Bible Belt. To the east lies with Philadelphia, a city that was hit hard in the seventies and eighties, as well as Pittsburgh, from the shipyards, steel and automotive crisis. These conditions of Pennsylvania, which was once mutatis mutandis described by James Carville as " Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between", make it a in presidential elections very competitive state, as both parties may make legitimate hopes, through the presence of their traditional constituencies, the 21 electoral votes to be able to chalk up.

Since 1992, Pennsylvania has always been democratically elected and seemed to evolve from back swing state for Blue State. It chose in 2006 the controversial conservative U.S. Senator Rick Santorum by the Republican Party in favor of the Democrats Bob Casey from; the second Republican in the Senate, Arlen Specter, involved for many years in the administration of the Judiciary Committee, has always been considered one of the most moderate Republicans in general. In April 2009, he finally joined the group and became a Democrat. However, the elections of 2010 brought back a turn towards the Republicans, who since then with Tom Corbett put the governor and are again represented by Pat Toomey in the Senate. He replaced in January 2011, Arlen Specter. The Delegation of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives of the 112th Congress consists of twelve Republicans and seven Democrats; in the previous Parliament, the ratio had shown even reversed. In the 113th Congress, Republicans have a 13:5 majority.



  • List of Congressmen from Pennsylvania
  • List of U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania

Culture and sights

It is known Groundhog Day ( Groundhog Day ), which is always celebrated in different parts of USA and Canada on February 2. The weather, which is brought out of its burrow, ahead: According to tradition, the groundhog says ( the woodchuck, groundhog engl more precisely. ). Does it look its shadow (or is to see his shadow ), so six more weeks of winter to expect. Does it not his shadow (or his shadow is not seen), so an early spring is expected. ( See also the feature film: And Groundhog Day ).


There are two known ice hockey team: Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. In addition, there 's basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers, the football teams of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the baseball teams of the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates are located. Since the 2010 season, the football team Philadelphia Union compete in the MLS.

Economy and infrastructure

The real gross domestic product per capita (English per capita real GDP ) amounted in 2006 was $ 34,828 (national average of 50 U.S. states: USD 37,714; national rank order: 27).

Major industries are:

  • Cultivation of maize, wheat, potatoes, fruits, vegetables
  • Iron and steel production; in third place in the U.S.
  • Petroleum and iron ore
  • Coal ( anthracite ); leader also provide a latent hazard in the U.S. ( The large coal reserves: So the city Centralia had to be abandoned because they had been infiltrated by a coal fire The area around the city of Uniontown bulges already due to heat coal fires move underground.. several meters per year. )
  • Cattle breeding
  • Cement, machinery, electric equipment, fabricated metal products and chemical industry


The main public universities have received the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University are autonomous, but government support. Among the best known private universities include the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, and Saint Joseph 's University. More universities are listed in the list of universities in Pennsylvania.