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Philadelphia City Guide
Situated on the shore of the Delaware River, where Pennsylvania meets New Jersey, Philadelphia is a city of great historical significance in the U.S. Because of the role it played in America's independence, Philadelphia is known as the "Cradle of Liberty" and the "Birthplace of America." Philadelphia's most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin, was an early proponent of uniting the colonies and has often been credited for inventing the idea of an American nation. It was here that the Second Continental Congress convened on July 4, 1776 and adopted Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. It was also in Philadelphia that the U.S. Constitution was penned in 1787. Philadelphia served as the nation's first capital until 1800, and George Washington really did "sleep here" during his term as president. The flag of the U.S. was born in Philadelphia, designed by Francis Hopkinson or Washington (depending on whom you ask) and reputedly sewn by Betsy Ross.
Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia was envisioned as a haven of freedom and religious tolerance. The first settlers were primarily Quakers, fleeing persecution in England (and, ironically, from the Puritans in New England). The city's name is Greek for "brotherly love," an attitude that Penn hoped would prevail throughout the settlement. Penn described Philadelphia as a "green countrie towne," an antithesis to the dense and dirty streets of London. Due to its excellent location near Delaware Bay and its accessible ports, Philadelphia grew rapidly in the 18th century, overtaking Boston and New York to become the second largest English-speaking city in the world (after London).