Philadelphia is a city in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, bordered by the Delaware and Sckuylkill rivers.
For centuries before William Penn ever dreamed of coming to the Americas, the Leni-Lenape tribe inhabited the area around what would become Philadelphia for generations. The Leni-Lenape, "The Pure People", had a history of belief in what would be called magic by the Europeans, as well as belief in men and beasts who could change shape. The Lenape held belief in a primary creator, Kishelamakank, and the four spirits it made to aid it in monitoring the world of the natives, called Manitowak, Spirit Beings. Along with these spirits, the Lenape also held belief in a creature called the Mesinkhalikan, a large hairy creature that not only helped the Lenape to find game, but to remind them of their spiritual duties in respecting the earth. To the Lenape, a person's spiritual and physical health were intertwined, and their religious practitioners, known as metinuwak, were valued members of the tribe.
In 1682, William Penn received the charter to form a colony in the area. Penn, a Quaker, then a persecuted religion in England, dreamed of a colony of tolerance in the "New World", and quickly established peaceful relations with the Lenape. Tamanend, a leader of one of the Lenape clans, welcomed the peace with Penn, and the Lenape worked with the English settelers for decades.
By 1737, however, Penn and Tamanend were long dead, and Penn's decendants claimed that they had right to steal all the Lenape lands. Cheated out of their lands and destroyed by European illness and technology, the Lenape could do little more than retreat from the area.
When the revolutionary spirit overwhelmed the colonies, Philadelphia became a hotbed of insurrection. The First and Second Continental Congresses met and declared their independance. After the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, however, the city was occupied by the British, as innumerable refugees crowded into the area. The leaders of the revolution evacuated, along with all needed documents and the Liberty Bell, but by the following June, the British had been driven to New York.
The Age of Reason & Industrial Era
At the end of the war in 1783, Philadelphia was still the United States capitol, and home to many of the nation's firsts, in no small part thanks to Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers. In 1793, a deadly outbreak of yellow fever forced the Founding Fathers and Congress out of the city, leaving thousands to suffer through the plague. Though no longer the capitol by 1800, the network of canals, roads, railroads and canals, along with the city's docks, made it an important industrial center. By 1854, the districts in the surrounding area were consolidated into the city, dissolving 29 other municipalities. This, in part, led to the city's nickname, "City of Neighborhoods".
By the 19th century, the heavy influx of immigrants collided with the city's fading national importance, and cases of crowded slums, violence against immigrants, and corruption in the city's politicians were heavy issues.
With the nickname "corrupt and content", the city found its way into the 20th century. Despite contributing heavily to the production efforts in World War II, by the 60's and 70's the city's industries had nearly vanished, leaving unemployment, gangs, and crime in their wake. By the 1980's, the city's mobs started warring with each other, leading to the affected areas being targeted for urban renewal projects, and in recent years, condominiums and revitalized neighborhoods have slowed the population deline in the area. Yet despite these factors, and its artistic scene and its various colleges and universities, the city still sufferes from a high homicide rate, racial tensions, and various political problems.