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Bristol (/ˈbrɪstəl/) is a city, unitary authority and county in South West England with an estimated population of 437,492 in 2013. It is England's sixth and the United Kingdom's eighth most populous city, and the most populous city in Southern England outside London.
Bristol received a Royal charter in 1155. It was part of Gloucestershire until 1373 when it became a county in its own right. From the 13th to the 18th century, it ranked among the top three English cities after London, along with York and Norwich, on the basis of tax receipts, until the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution. It borders the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire and the historic cities of Bath to the south east and Gloucester to the north. The city is built around the River Avon and also has a short coastline on the Severn Estuary which flows into the Bristol Channel.
Bristol's prosperity has been linked with the sea since its earliest days. The Port of Bristol was originally in the city centre before being moved to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth; Royal Portbury Dock is on the western edge of the city. In recent years, the economy has depended on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries and the city centre docks have been regenerated as a centre of heritage and culture. People from Bristol are termed Bristolians.
Archaeological finds, including flints tools created by the Levallois technique, believed to be 60,000 years old, have shown the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol in the Middle Palaeolithic period. Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down on the side of the Avon Gorge, and on Kings Weston Hill, near Henbury. During the Roman era there was a settlement, Abona, at what is now Sea Mills, connected to Bath by a Roman road, and another at the present-day Inns Court. There were also isolated Roman villas and small Roman forts and settlements throughout the area.
The town of Brycgstow (Old English, "the place at the bridge") appears to have been founded by 1000 and by c.1020 was an important enough trading centre to possess its own mint, producing silver pennies bearing the town's name. By 1067 the town was clearly a well-fortified burh that proved capable of resisting an invasion force sent from Ireland by Harold's sons. Under Norman rule the town acquired one of the strongest castles in southern England.
The area around the original junction of the River Frome with the River Avon, adjacent to the original Bristol Bridge and just outside the town walls, was where the port began to develop in the 11th century. By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland, including slaves. In 1247 a new stone bridge was built, which was replaced by the current Bristol Bridge in the 1760s, and the town was extended to incorporate neighbouring suburbs, becoming in 1373 a county in its own right. During this period Bristol also became a centre of shipbuilding and manufacturing. By the 14th century Bristol was one of England's three largest medieval towns after London, along with York and Norwich. Between a third and half of the population were lost during the Black Death of 1348–49. This had the effect of causing a slowing in the growth of the population, meaning that the number of residents stayed between 10,000 and 12,000 for most of the 15th and 16th centuries.
In the 15th century, Bristol was the second most important port in the country, trading with Ireland, Iceland, and Gascony. Bristol was the starting point for many important voyages, including that led by Robert Sturmy (1457–58) to try to break the Italian monopoly over trade with the Eastern Mediterranean. After Sturmy's unsuccessful expedition, Bristol merchants turned west, launching expeditions into the Atlantic, in search of the phantom island of Hy-Brazil, by at least 1480. These Atlantic voyages were to culminate in John Cabot's 1497 voyage of exploration to North America and the subsequent expeditions undertaken by Bristol merchants to the new world up to 1508. Another notable voyage during this period, led by William Weston of Bristol in 1499, was the first English-led expedition to North America. In the sixteenth century, however, Bristol merchants concentrated on developing their trade with Spain and its American colonies. This included the smuggling of 'prohibited' wares, such as foodstuffs and guns, to Iberia, even during the Anglo-Spanish war of 1585–1604. Indeed, the scale of the city's illicit trade grew enormously after 1558, to become an essential component of the city's economy.
The Diocese of Bristol was founded in 1542, with the former Abbey of St. Augustine, founded by Robert Fitzharding in 1140, becoming Bristol Cathedral. Traditionally this is equivalent to the town being granted city status, which was granted to Bristol in that year. It was formally granted the status of county in 1542. During the 1640s English Civil War the city was occupied by Royalist military, who built the Royal Fort House on the site of an earlier Parliamentarian stronghold.
Renewed growth came with the 17th century rise of England's American colonies and the rapid 18th-century expansion of England's role in the Atlantic trade of Africans taken for slavery in the Americas. Bristol, along with Liverpool, became a centre for the Triangular trade. In the first stage of slavery triangle, manufactured goods were taken to West Africa and exchanged for Africans who were then, in the second stage or middle passage, transported across the Atlantic in brutal conditions. The third leg of the triangle brought plantation goods such as sugar, tobacco, rum, rice and cotton back across the Atlantic, along with small number of slaves, who were sold to the aristocracy as house servants. Some of the household slaves eventually bought their freedom. During the height of the slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slaving ships were fitted out at Bristol, carrying a (conservatively) estimated half million people from Africa to the Americas and slavery.
The Seven Stars public house, where abolitionist Thomas Clarkson collected information on the slave trade, still exists.
Fishermen from Bristol had fished the Grand Banks of Newfoundland since the 15th century and began settling Newfoundland permanently in larger numbers in the 17th century, establishing colonies at Bristol's Hope and Cuper's Cove. Bristol's strong nautical ties meant that maritime safety was an important issue in the city. During the 19th century Samuel Plimsoll, "the sailor's friend", campaigned to make the seas safer; he was shocked by the overloaded cargoes, and successfully fought for a compulsory load line on ships.
Competition from Liverpool from c. 1760, the disruption of maritime commerce caused by wars with France (1793) and the abolition of the slave trade (1807) contributed to the city's failure to keep pace with the newer manufacturing centres of the North of England and the West Midlands. The passage up the heavily tidal Avon Gorge, which had made the port highly secure during the Middle Ages, had become a liability. A scheme to improve the city's port with construction of a new "Floating Harbour" (designed by William Jessop) in 1804–9 proved a costly error, resulting in excessive harbour dues. Nevertheless, Bristol's population (66,000 in 1801) quintupled during the 19th century, supported by new industries and growing commerce. It was particularly associated with the noted Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed the Great Western Railway between Bristol and London Paddington, two pioneering Bristol-built oceangoing steamships, the SS Great Britain and SS Great Western, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. John Wesley founded the very first Methodist Chapel, called the New Room, in Bristol in 1739. Riots occurred in 1793 and 1831, the first beginning as a protest at renewal of an act levying tolls on Bristol Bridge, and the latter after the rejection of the second Reform Bill.
By 1901, some 330,000 people were living in Bristol and the city would grow steadily as the 20th century progressed. The city's docklands were enhanced in the early 1900s with the opening of Royal Edward Dock. Another new dock – Royal Portbury Dock – was opened in the 1970s. With the advent of air travel, aircraft manufacturers set up base at new factories in the city during the first half of the 20th century.
Its education system received a major boost in 1909 with the formation of the University of Bristol, though it really took off in 1925 when its main building was opened. A polytechnic was opened in 1969 to give the city a second higher education institute, which would become the University of the West of England in 1992.
Bristol suffered badly from Luftwaffe air raids in World War II, claiming some 1,300 lives of people living and working in the city, with nearly 100,000 buildings being damaged, at least 3,000 of them beyond repair. The original central shopping area, near the bridge and castle, is now a park containing two bombed out churches and some fragments of the castle. A third bomb-damaged church nearby, St Nicholas, has been restored and has been made into a museum. It houses a triptych by William Hogarth, painted for the high altar of St Mary Redcliffe in 1756. The museum also contains statues moved from Arno's Court Triumphal Arch, of King Edward I and King Edward III, taken from Lawfords' Gate of the city walls when they were demolished around 1760, and 13th century figures from Bristol's Newgate representing Robert, the builder of Bristol Castle, and Geoffrey de Montbray, Bishop of Coutances, builder of the fortified walls of the city.
The rebuilding of Bristol city centre was characterised by 1960s and 1970s skyscrapers, mid-century modern architecture, and the improvement of road infrastructure. Since the 1980s another trend has emerged with the closure of some main roads, the restoration of the Georgian era Queen Square and Portland Square, the regeneration of the Broadmead shopping area, and the loss of one of the city centre's tallest mid-century modern towers.
Bristol's road infrastructure was altered dramatically in the 1960s and 1970s with the development of the M4 and M5 motorways, which meet at an interchange just north of the city. The motorways link the city with London (M4 eastbound), Cardiff (M4 westbound across the Estuary of the River Severn), Exeter (M5 southbound) and Birmingham (M5 northbound).
The relocation of the docks to Avonmouth Docks and Royal Portbury Dock, 7 miles (11 km) downstream from the city centre during the 20th century has also allowed redevelopment of the old central dock area (the "Floating Harbour") in recent decades. At one time the continued existence of the docks was in jeopardy, because the area was viewed as a derelict industrial site rather than an asset. However, the first International Festival of the Sea, held in and around the docks in 1996, affirmed the dockside area in its new leisure role as a key feature of the city.
On the sporting scene, Bristol Rugby union club has frequently competed at the highest level in the sport since its formation in 1888. Its home is the Memorial Ground, which it has shared with Bristol Rovers Football Club since 1996. Although the rugby club was landlord when the football club arrived at the stadium as tenants, a decline in the rugby club's fortunes shortly afterwards led to the football club becoming landlord and the rugby club becoming the stadium's tenant. Bristol Rovers had spent the previous 10 years playing their home games outside the city following the closure of their Eastville stadium in 1986, before returning to the city to play at the Memorial Ground.
Bristol Rovers have generally been overshadowed by their local rival, Bristol City, in terms of footballing success. Unlike Rovers, City has enjoyed top-flight football. The club's first spell in the Football League First Division began in 1906, and ended its first season in fine form among the elite by finishing second, only narrowly missing out on league title glory. Two years later, City was on the losing side in the final of the FA Cup, and relegated back to the Football League Second Division two years later. It would be another 65 years before First Division status was regained, in 1976. This time they spent four years among the elite before being relegated in 1980 – the first of a then unique three successive relegations, dropping the club into the Fourth Division in 1982. Although promotion was secured in 1984, City enjoyed a seventh spell in the league's third tier until 2007 when it was promoted to the second tier, narrowly missing out on top-flight promotion in the first season (Playoff final defeat against Hull City) English football. However the club regained League One in 2013. Since 1900 City's home games have been played at Ashton Gate, although in recent years a number of schemes have been mooted to relocate the club to a new, larger stadium.
Bristol City Council consists of 70 councillors representing 35 wards. They are elected in thirds with two councillors per ward, each serving a four-year term. Wards never have both councillors up for election at the same time, so effectively two-thirds of the wards are up each election. The Council has long been dominated by the Labour Party, but recently the Liberal Democrats have grown strong in the city and, as the largest party, took minority control of the Council at the 2005 election. In 2007, Labour and the Conservatives joined forces to vote down the Liberal Democrat administration, and as a result, Labour ruled the council under a minority administration, with Helen Holland as the council leader. In February 2009, the Labour group resigned, and the Liberal Democrats took office with their own minority administration. At the council elections on 4 June 2009 the Liberal Democrats gained four seats and, for the first time, overall control of the City Council. The most recent City council elections were in May 2014.
On 3 May 2012, Bristol held a referendum to decide whether the city should have a directly elected mayor to replace the leader elected by councillors. The result, announced the following day, were 41,032 votes for an elected mayor and 35,880 votes against, with a turnout of 24 percent. An election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012 with Independent candidate George Ferguson becoming Mayor of Bristol.
The Lord Mayor of Bristol, not to be confused with the Mayor of Bristol, is ceremonial figurehead, elected each May by city councillors. Councillor Faruk Choudhury was selected by his fellow councillors for this position in 2013. At age 38, he was the youngest person to serve as Lord Mayor of Bristol, and also the first Muslim elected to the office.
Bristol constituencies in the House of Commons cross the borders with neighbouring authorities, and the city is divided into Bristol West, East, South and North-west. In the May 2010 General Election, the boundaries were changed to coincide with the county boundary. Following the 2010 election there were two Labour members of parliament (MPs), one Liberal Democrat and one Conservative. After the 2010 British General election, the new political representation of the city was composed of two Labour MPs, and one MP each for the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. The Conservatives gained Bristol North-West from the Labour Party.
Bristol has a tradition of local political activism, and has been home to many important political figures. Edmund Burke, MP for the Bristol constituency for six years from 1774, famously insisted that he was a member of parliament first, rather than a representative of his constituents' interests. The women's rights campaigner Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence (1867–1954) was born in Bristol. Tony Benn, a veteran left-wing politician, was MP for Bristol South East from 1950 to 1960 and again from 1963 until 1983. In 1963, there was a boycott of the city's buses after the Bristol Omnibus Company refused to employ black drivers and conductors. The boycott is known to have influenced the creation of the UK's Race Relations Act in 1965. The city was the scene of the first of the 1980s riots. In St. Paul's, a number of largely Afro-Caribbean people rose up against racism, police harassment and mounting dissatisfaction with their social and economic circumstances before similar disturbances followed across the UK. Local support of fair trade issues was recognised in 2005 when Bristol was granted Fairtrade City status.
Bristol is unusual in having been a city with county status since medieval times. The county was expanded to include suburbs such as Clifton in 1835, and it was named a county borough in 1889, when the term was first introduced. However, on 1 April 1974, it became a local government district of the short-lived county of Avon. On 1 April 1996, it regained its independence and county status, when the county of Avon was abolished and Bristol became a Unitary authority.
Geography and environment
There are a number of different ways in which Bristol's boundaries are defined, depending on whether the boundaries attempt to define the city, the built-up area, or the wider "Greater Bristol". The narrowest definition of the city is the city council boundary, which takes in a large section of the Severn Estuary west as far as, but not including, the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm. A slightly less narrow definition is used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS); this includes built-up areas which adjoin Bristol but are not within the city council boundary, such as Whitchurch village, Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke, and excludes non-built-up areas within the city council boundary. The ONS has also defined an area called the "Bristol Urban Area", which includes Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Almondsbury and Easton in Gordano. The term "Greater Bristol", used for example by the Government Office of the South West, usually refers to the area occupied by the city and parts of the three neighbouring local authorities (Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire), an area sometimes also known as the "former Avon area" or the "West of England". The North Fringe of Bristol, a largely developed area within South Gloucestershire, located between the Bristol city boundary and the M4 and M5 motorways, was so named as part of a 1987 Local plan prepared by Northavon District Council.
Bristol is in a limestone area, which runs from the Mendip Hills to the south and the Cotswolds to the north east. The rivers Avon and Frome cut through this limestone to the underlying clays, creating Bristol's characteristic hilly landscape. The Avon flows from Bath in the east, through flood plains and areas which were marshy before the growth of the city. To the west, the Avon has cut through the limestone to form the Avon Gorge, partly aided by glacial meltwater after the last ice age. The gorge helped to protect Bristol Harbour, and has been quarried for stone to build the city. The land surrounding the gorge has been protected from development, as The Downs and Leigh Woods. The gorge and estuary of the Avon form the county's boundary with North Somerset, and the river flows into the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth. There is also another gorge in the city, in the Blaise Castle estate to the north.
Situated in the south of the country, Bristol is one of the warmest cities in the UK, with a mean annual temperature of 10.2–12 °C (50.4–53.6 °F). It is also amongst the sunniest, with 1,541–1,885 hours sunshine per year.
The city is partially sheltered by the Mendip Hills, but exposed to the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. Rainfall increases towards the south of the area, with annual totals north of the Avon River in the 600–900 mm (24–35 in) range, up to the 900–1,200 mm (35–47 in) range south of it. Rain is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, although autumn and winter are the wettest seasons.
The Atlantic strongly influences Bristol's weather, maintaining average temperatures above freezing throughout the year. However, cold spells in winter often bring frosts. Snow can fall at any time from early November through to late April, but it is an infrequent occurrence. Summers are drier and quite warm, with variable amounts of sunshine, rain and cloud. Spring is unsettled and changeable, and has brought spells of winter snow as well as summer sunshine.
The nearest weather stations to Bristol for which long-term climate data are available are Long Ashton (about 5 miles (8 km) south-west of the city centre) and Bristol Weather Station (within the city centre). However, data collection at these locations ceased in 2002 and 2001 respectively, and Filton Airfield is now the closest weather station. The temperature range at Long Ashton for the period 1959–2002 has spanned from 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) during July 1976, down to −14.4 °C (6.1 °F) in January 1982.
Monthly temperature extremes at Filton (since 2002) exceeding those recorded at Long Ashton include 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) during April 2003, 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) during July 2006 and 26.8 °C (80.2 °F) in October 2011. The lowest temperature recorded in recent years at Filton was −10.1 °C (13.8 °F) during December 2010.
Many large cities experience an urban heat island effect, with temperatures being slightly warmer than surrounding rural areas, however there is limited evidence of this effect in Bristol.
Based on its environmental performance, quality of life, future-proofing and how well it is addressing climate change, recycling and biodiversity, Bristol was ranked as Britain's most sustainable city, topping environmental charity Forum for the Future's Sustainable Cities Index 2008. Notable local initiatives include Sustrans, who have created the National Cycle Network, founded as Cyclebag in 1977, and Resourcesaver established in 1988 as a non-profit business by Avon Friends of the Earth. Bristol is the winner of the European Green Capital Award for 2015.
In 2008 the Office for National Statistics estimated the Bristol unitary authority's population at 416,900, making it the 47th-largest ceremonial county in England. Using Census 2001 data the ONS estimated the population of the city to be 441,556, and that of the contiguous urban area to be 551,066. More recent 2006 ONS estimates put the urban area population at 587,400. This makes the city England's sixth most populous city, and ninth most populous urban area. At 3,599 inhabitants per square kilometre (9,321 /sq mi) it has the seventh-highest population density of any English district.
According to the 2011 census, 84.0% of the population was White (77.9% White British, 0.9% White Irish, 0.1% Gypsy or Irish Travellers, 5.1% Other White), 3.6% of mixed race (1.7% White and Black Caribbean, 0.4% White and Black African, 0.8% White and Asian, 0.7% Other Mixed), 5.5% Asian (1.5% Indian, 1.6% Pakistani, 0.5% Bangladeshi, 0.9% Chinese, 1.0% Other Asian), 6.0% Black (2.8% African, 1.6% Caribbean, 1.6% Other Black), 0.3% Arab and 0.6% of other ethnic heritage. Bristol is unusual among major British towns and cities in having a larger Black than Asian population.
Historical population records
The statistics apply only to the Bristol Unitary Authority, which excludes areas that are part of the Bristol urban area (2006 estimated population 587,400) but are located in South Gloucestershire, BANES or North Somerset, such as Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Filton, Warmley etc., which border Bristol UA.
Economy and industry
As a major seaport, Bristol has a long history of trading commodities, originally wool cloth exports and imports of fish, wine, grain and dairy produce, later tobacco, tropical fruits and plantation goods; major imports now are motor vehicles, grain, timber, fresh produce and petroleum products. Since the 13th century, the rivers have been modified for use as docks including the diversion of the River Frome in the 1240s into an artificial deep channel known as "Saint Augustine's Reach", which flowed into the River Avon. As early as 1420, vessels from Bristol were regularly travelling to Iceland and it is speculated that sailors from Bristol had made landfall in the Americas before Christopher Columbus or John Cabot. The merchants of Bristol, operating under the name of the Society of Merchant Venturers, sponsored probes into the north Atlantic from the early 1480s, looking for possible trading opportunities. In 1552 Edward VI granted a Royal Charter to the Merchant Venturers to manage the port. By 1670, the city had 6,000 tons of shipping, of which half was used for importing tobacco. By the late 17th century and early 18th century, this shipping was also playing a significant role in the slave trade. During the 18th century it was Britain's second busiest port. Deals were originally struck on a personal basis in the former trading area around The Exchange in Corn Street, and in particular, over bronze trading tables, known as "The Nails". This is often given as the origin of the expression "cash on the nail", meaning immediate payment, however it is likely that the expression was in use before the nails were erected.
In addition to Bristol's nautical connections, the city's economy relies on the aerospace industry, defence, the media, information technology, financial services and tourism. The former Ministry of Defence (MoD)'s Procurement Executive, later the Defence Procurement Agency, and now Defence Equipment and Support, moved to a purpose-built headquarters at Abbey Wood, Filton in 1995. The site employs some 7,000 to 8,000 staff and is responsible for procuring and supporting much of the MoD's defence equipment.
In 2004, Bristol's GDP was £9.439 billion. The GDP per head was £23,962 (US$47,738, €35,124) making the city more affluent than the UK as a whole, at 40% above the national average. This makes it the third-highest per-capita GDP of any English city, after London and Nottingham, and the fifth highest GDP per capita of any city in the United Kingdom, behind London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Nottingham. In March 2007, Bristol's unemployment rate was 4.8%, compared with 4.0% for the south west and 5.5% for England.
Bristol's economy no longer relies upon the Port of Bristol, which was relocated gradually to docks at Avonmouth (1870s) and Royal Portbury Dock (1977) as the size of ships increased. The city is the largest importer of cars to the UK. Until 1991 the port was publicly owned, since when it has been leased with £330 million being invested and the annual tonnage throughput has increased from 3.9 million long tons (4 million tonnes) to 11.8 million long tons (12 million tonnes). The tobacco trade and cigarette manufacturing have now ceased, but imports of wines and spirits continue.
The financial services sector employs 59,000 in the city. High tech is also important, with 50 micro-electronics and silicon design companies, employing around 5,000 people. Hewlett-Packard opened its national research laboratories in Bristol during 1983. As the UK's seventh most popular destination for foreign tourists, Bristol receives nine million visitors each year.
In the 20th century, Bristol's manufacturing activities expanded to include aircraft production at Filton, by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and aero-engine manufacture by Bristol Aero Engines (later Rolls-Royce) at Patchway. The aeroplane company became famous for the World War I Bristol Fighter, and Second World War Blenheim and Beaufighter aircraft. In the 1950s it became one of the country's major manufacturers of civil aircraft, with the Bristol Freighter, the Britannia and the huge Brabazon airliner. The Bristol Aeroplane Company diversified into automobile manufacturing in the 1940s, producing hand-built luxury cars at their factory in Filton, under the name Bristol Cars, which became independent from the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1960. The city also gave its name to the Bristol make of buses, manufactured in the city from 1908 to 1983, first by the local bus operating company, Bristol Tramways, and from 1955 by Bristol Commercial Vehicles.
In the 1960s Filton played a key role in the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic airliner project. The Bristol Aeroplane Company became part of the British partner, the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Concorde components were manufactured in British and French factories and shipped to the two final assembly plants, in Toulouse and Filton. The French manufactured the centre fuselage and centre wing and the British the nose, rear fuselage, fin and wingtips, while the Olympus 593 engine's manufacture was split between Rolls-Royce (Filton) and Snecma (Paris). The British Concorde prototype made its maiden flight from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9 April 1969, five weeks after the French test flight. In 2003 British Airways and Air France decided to cease flying the aircraft and to retire them to locations (mostly museums) around the world. On 26 November 2003 Concorde 216 made the final Concorde flight, returning to Filton airfield to be kept there permanently as the centrepiece of a projected air museum. This museum will include the existing Bristol Aero Collection, which includes a Bristol Britannia aircraft.
The aerospace industry remains a major segment of the local economy. The major aerospace companies in Bristol now are BAE Systems, (formed by merger between Marconi Electronic Systems and BAe; the latter being formed by a merger of BAC, Hawker Siddeley and Scottish Aviation), Airbus and Rolls-Royce are all based at Filton, and aerospace engineering is a prominent research area at the nearby University of the West of England. Another important aviation company in the city is Cameron Balloons, who manufacture hot air balloons. Each August the city is host to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, one of Europe's largest hot air balloon events.
A new £500 million shopping centre called Cabot Circus opened in 2008 amidst claims from developers and politicians that Bristol would become one of England's top ten retail destinations. Bristol was selected as one of the world's top ten cities for 2009 by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of guides for young adults.
In 2011 it was announced that the Temple Quarter near Bristol Temple Meads railway station will become an enterprise zone.
The city is famous for its music and film industries, and was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture, but the title was awarded to Liverpool.
See No Evil, a street art event in Bristol, started in 2011. Bristol is also home to one of the seven national Foodies Festivals, taking place 13–15 July 2012, with master classes by Levi Roots and Ed Baines, as well as city beaches, restaurant tents, pop-up cinemas and burlesque shows.
The city's principal theatre company, the Bristol Old Vic, was founded in 1946 as an offshoot of The Old Vic company in London. Its premises on King Street consist of the 1766 Theatre Royal (607 seats), a modern studio theatre called the New Vic (150 seats), and foyer and bar areas in the adjacent Coopers' Hall (built 1743). The Theatre Royal is a grade I listed building and is the oldest continuously operating theatre in England. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which had originated in King Street, is now a separate company. The Bristol Hippodrome is a larger theatre (1,951 seats) which hosts national touring productions. Other theatres include the Tobacco Factory (250 seats), QEH (220 seats), the Redgrave Theatre (at Clifton College) (320 seats) and the Alma Tavern (50 seats). Bristol's theatre scene includes a large variety of producing theatre companies, apart from the Bristol Old Vic company, such as Show of Strength Theatre Company, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Travelling Light Theatre Company. Theatre Bristol is a partnership between Bristol City Council, Arts Council England and local theatre practitioners which aims to develop the theatre industry in Bristol.
A number of organisations within the city support theatre makers. The Residence "artist led community", for example, provides office, social and rehearsal space for several Bristol-based theatre and performance companies. Equity, the actors union, has a general branch based in the city.
Since the late 1970s, the city has been home to bands combining punk, funk, dub and political consciousness. Among the most notable have been Glaxo Babies, the Pop Group and trip hop or "Bristol Sound" artists such as Tricky, Portishead, and Massive Attack; the list of bands from Bristol is extensive. It is also a stronghold of drum and bass with notable artists such as the Mercury Prize winning Roni Size/Reprazent as well as the pioneering DJ Krust and More Rockers. This music is part of the wider Bristol urban culture scene which received international media attention in the 1990s.
Bristol has many live music venues, the largest of which is the 2,000-seat Colston Hall, named after Edward Colston. Others include the Bristol Academy, The Fleece, The Croft, The Exchange, Fiddlers, Victoria Rooms, Trinity Centre, St George's Bristol and a range of public houses from the jazz-orientated The Old Duke to rock at the Fleece and Firkin, and indie bands at the Louisiana. In 2010, PRS for Music announced that Bristol is the most musical city in the UK, based on the number of its members born in Bristol in relation to the size of its population.
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection of natural history, archaeology, local glassware, Chinese ceramics and art. M Shed, the museum of Bristol, opened in 2011 on the site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum. Both museums are operated by Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, which also runs three preserved historic houses – the Tudor Red Lodge, the Georgian House and Blaise Castle House – as well as Bristol Record Office.
The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery, both in disused dockside warehouses, exhibit contemporary art, photography and cinema, while the city's oldest gallery is at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton.
Antlers Gallery, Bristol's nomadic gallery opened in 2010, moving around the city into empty spaces on Park Street, Whiteladies Road and Purifier House on Bristol's Harbourside. The commercial gallery represents Bristol based artists through exhibitions, art fairs and private sales.
Stop frame animation films and commercials produced by Aardman Animations and television series focusing on the natural world have also brought fame and artistic credit to the city. The city is home to the regional headquarters of BBC West, and the BBC Natural History Unit. Locations in and around Bristol have often featured in the BBC's natural history programmes, including the children's television programme Animal Magic, filmed at Bristol Zoo.
In literature, Bristol is noted as the birthplace of the 18th century poets Robert Southey and Thomas Chatterton. Southey, who was born on Wine Street, Bristol in 1774, and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge married the Bristol Fricker sisters. William Wordsworth spent time in the city, where Joseph Cottle first published Lyrical Ballads in 1798.
The 18th- and 19th century portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence and 19th century architect Francis Greenway, designer of many of Sydney's first buildings, came from the city, and more recently the graffiti artist Banksy, many of whose works can be seen in the city. Some famous comedians are locals, including Justin Lee Collins, Lee Evans, Russell Howard, and writer/comedian Stephen Merchant.
University of Bristol graduates include magician and psychological illusionist Derren Brown; the satirist Chris Morris; Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz; and Matt Lucas and David Walliams of Little Britain fame. Hollywood actor Cary Grant was born in the city; along with Dolly Read, UK Stars Ralph Bates and Norman Eshley. Peter O'Toole, Kenneth Cope, Patrick Stewart, Jane Lapotaire, Pete Postlethwaite, Jeremy Irons, Greta Scacchi, Miranda Richardson, Helen Baxendale, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gene Wilder are amongst the many actors who learnt their craft at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, opened by Laurence Olivier in 1946. The comedian John Cleese was a pupil at Clifton College. Hugo Weaving studied at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School and David Prowse (Darth Vader, Star Wars) attended Bristol Grammar School.
Bristol has 51 Grade I listed buildings, 500 Grade II* and over 3,800 Grade II buildings, in a wide variety of architectural styles, ranging from the medieval to the 21st century. In the mid-19th century, Bristol Byzantine, an architectural style unique to the city, was developed, of which several examples have survived. Buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom can be seen throughout the city. Surviving elements of the fortified city and castle date back to the medieval era, also some churches dating from the 12th century onwards.
Outside the historical city centre there are several large Tudor and later mansions built for wealthy merchants. Of particular note is Kings Weston House in the north of the city, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and the only Vanbrugh building to be found in any UK city outside London. Almshouses and public houses of the same period still exist, intermingled with modern development. Several Georgian-era squares were laid out for the enjoyment of the middle class as prosperity increased in the 18th century.
During World War II, the city centre suffered from extensive bombing during the Bristol Blitz. The central shopping area around Wine Street and Castle Street was particularly badly hit, and architectural treasures such as the Dutch House and St Peter's Hospital were lost. Nonetheless in 1961 Betjeman still considered Bristol to be 'the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England'.
The redevelopment of shopping centres, office buildings, and the harbourside continues apace.
Sport in Bristol
Bristol has one Football League club, Bristol City and several non-league clubs, including Bristol Rovers, Mangotsfield United, Bristol Manor Farm and Brislington F.C.. Bristol City was formed in 1897, became runners-up in Division One in 1907, and losing FA Cup finalists in 1909. They returned to the top flight in 1976, but slowly descended to the bottom professional tier where, after bankruptcy in 1982 they reformed and climbed the league again. They were promoted to the second tier of English football in 2007. The team lost in the play-off final of the Championship to Hull City (2007–08 season). City announced plans for a new 30,000 all-seater stadium to replace their home, Ashton Gate.
Bristol Rovers is the oldest professional football team in Bristol, formed in 1883. During their history, Rovers have been champions of the third tier (Division Three South in 1952–53 and Division Three in 1989–90), Watney Cup Winners (1972, 2006–07), and runners-up in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The Club has planning permission to build a new 21,700 capacity all-seater stadium on land at the University of the West of England's Frenchay campus. Construction of the new stadium is due to commence in Summer 2014, after a 12-month delay caused by a local pressure-group launching a Judicial Review over the redevelopment at the Memorial Stadium site.
The city is also home to Bristol Rugby rugby union club, a first-class cricket side, Gloucestershire C.C.C. and a Rugby League Conference side, the Bristol Sonics. The city also stages an annual half marathon, and in 2001 played host to the World Half Marathon Championships. There are several athletics clubs in Bristol, including Bristol and West AC, Bitton Road Runners and Westbury Harriers. Speedway racing was staged, with breaks, at the Knowle Stadium from 1928 to 1960, when it was closed and the site redeveloped. The sport briefly returned to the city in the 1970s when the Bulldogs raced at Eastville Stadium. In 2009, senior ice hockey returned to the city for the first time in 17 years with the newly formed Bristol Pitbulls playing out of Bristol Ice Rink.
Motor racing has strong roots in Bristol with Joe Fry setting many records in the Freikaiserwagen and events held around the city. Speed trials have been staged in Clapton-in-Gordano, Shipham, Backwell, Naish, Dyrham Park, Filton Airfield and in Whitchurch (then Bristol's airport). A stage of the 1983 RAC Rally was held in the Ashton Court Estate. To this day, a sporting trial is held in woodland on the outskirts of the city and a classic trial is held in the hills surrounding the city.
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a major event for hot-air ballooning in the UK, is held each summer in the grounds of Ashton Court, to the west of the city. The fiesta draws substantial crowds even for the early morning lift beginning at about 6.30 am. Events and a fairground entertain visitors throughout the day. A second mass ascent is made in the early evening, again taking advantage of lower wind speeds. Until 2007 Ashton Court also played host to the Ashton Court Festival each summer, an outdoor music festival known as the Bristol Community Festival.
For mountain biking in Bristol, the main area is around the Ashton Court estate, with the Timberland trails being the main route. There are also routes across the road in the Plantation, the 50 acre wood and Leigh Woods.
Bristol has two daily newspapers, the Western Daily Press and the Bristol Evening Post; a weekly free newspaper, the Bristol Observer; and a Bristol edition of the free Metro newspaper, all owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. The city has several local radio stations, including BBC Radio Bristol, Heart Bristol (previously known as GWR FM), Classic Gold 1260, Kiss 101, The Breeze (formerly Star 107.2), BCFM (a community radio station launched March 2007), Ujima 98 FM, 106 Jack FM, as well as two student radio stations, The Hub and BURST, and an internet radio station from the Jewish and Muslim communities of the city, Radio Salaam Shalom. Bristol also boasts television productions such as ITV News West Country for ITV West & Wales (formerly HTV West) and ITV Westcountry, Points West for BBC West, hospital drama Casualty (which has moved filming to Cardiff since 2012) and Endemol productions such as Deal or No Deal. Bristol has been used as a location for the Channel 4 comedy drama Teachers, BBC drama Mistresses, E4 teen drama Skins and BBC3 comedy-drama series Being Human (which has since moved to Barry from series 3 onwards).
Independent publishers based in the city have included the 18th century, Bristolian Joseph Cottle, who was largely responsible for the launch of the Romantic Movement by publishing the works of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the 19th century, J.W. Arrowsmith published the Victorian comedy classics Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, and The Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith. Current publishers include the Redcliffe Press, which has published over 200 books on all aspects of the city.
Bristol is home to the YouTube video-game group The Yogscast. Co-Founders, Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley moved operations from their shared house in Reading to Bristol in 2012. Other members of the network moved to Bristol to work in-office. Though their main office is in Bristol, the network has members in Scotland,the island of Jersey, the USA and Europe.
A dialect of English is spoken by some Bristol inhabitants, known colloquially as Bristolian, "Bristolese" or even, following the publication of Derek Robson's "Krek Waiters peak Bristle", as "Bristle" or "Brizzle". Bristol natives speak with a rhotic accent, in which the post-vocalic r in words like car and card is still pronounced, having been lost from many other dialects of English, notably BBC English, or RP, i.e., "received pronunciation". The unusual feature of this accent, unique to Bristol, is the so-called Bristol L (or terminal L), in which an L sound appears to be appended to words that end in an 'a' or 'o'. There is some dispute about whether this is broad "l" or "w". Thus "area" becomes "areal" or "areaw", etc. The "-ol" ending of the city's name is a significant example of the occurrence of the so-called "Bristol L". Bristolians using the dialect tend to pronounce "a" and "o" at the end of a word almost as "aw", hence "cinemaw". To the stranger's ear this pronunciation sounds as if there is an "L" after the vowel.
Further Bristolian linguistic features are an additional "to" in questions relating to direction or orientation, or using "to" instead of "at" (features also common to the coastal towns of South Wales probably reflecting the use of "tu" in Welsh, e.g., "Y mae efe tu maes" – "That is he to outside" = "He/It is outside"); and using male pronouns "he" and "him" instead of "it". For example, "Where is it?" would be phrased as "Where's he to?" and "Where's that" as "Where's that to", a structure exported to Newfoundland English.
Until recent times the dialect was characterised by retention of the second person singular as in the famous piece of doggerel, "Cassn't see what bist looking at? Cassn't see as well as couldst, casst? And if couldst, 'ouldn't, 'ouldst?" Notice the use of West Saxon "bist" for English "art". Children could be admonished with, "Thee and thou, the Welshman's cow". As in French and German, use of the second person singular to a superior or parent was not permitted in Bristolese (except by Quakers with their notions of equality for all). The pronoun form 'thee' is also used in the subject position (e.g., 'What bist thee doing?') while 'I'/'he' are used in the object position (e.g., 'Give he to I.').
Stanley Ellis, a dialect researcher, found that many of the dialect words in the Filton area were linked to work in the aerospace industry. He described this as "a cranky, crazy, crab-apple tree of language and with the sharpest, juiciest flavour that I've heard for a long time".
In the United Kingdom Census 2011, 46.8% of Bristol's population reported themselves as being Christian, and 37.4% stated they were not religious; the national England averages are 59.4% and 24.7% respectively. Islam accounts for 5.1% of the population, Buddhism 0.6%, Hinduism 0.6%, Sikhism 0.5%, Judaism 0.2% and other religions 0.7%, while 8.1% did not state a religion.
The city has many Christian churches, the most notable being the Anglican Bristol Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe, and the Roman Catholic Clifton Cathedral. Nonconformist chapels include Buckingham Baptist Chapel and John Wesley's New Room in Broadmead. St James's Presbyterian church was bombed on 24 November 1940, never to be used as a church again. Its bell tower remains but the nave has been converted to offices.
In Bristol, other religions are served by eleven mosques, several Buddhist meditation centres, a Hindu temple, Progressive and Orthodox synagogues, and four Sikh temples.
Education, science and technology
Bristol is home to two major institutions of higher education: the University of Bristol, a "redbrick" chartered in 1909, and the University of the West of England, formerly Bristol Polytechnic, which gained university status in 1992. In addition the University of Law has a campus in the city. Bristol also has two dedicated further education institutions, City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, and three theological colleges, Trinity College, Wesley College and Bristol Baptist College. The city has 129 infant, junior and primary schools, 17 secondary schools, and three city learning centres. It has the country's second highest concentration of independent school places, after an exclusive corner of north London. The independent schools in the city include Clifton College, Clifton High School, Badminton School, Bristol Grammar School, Redland High School, Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (the only all-boys school) and Red Maids' School, which claims to be the oldest girls' school in England, having been founded in 1634 by John Whitson.
In 2005, Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised Bristol's ties to science and technology by naming it one of six "science cities", and promising funding for further development of science in the city, with a £300 million science park planned at Emersons Green. As well as research at the two universities, Bristol Royal Infirmary, and Southmead Hospital, science education is important in the city, with At-Bristol, Bristol Zoo, Bristol Festival of Nature and the Create Centre being prominent local institutions involved in science communication.
The city has a history of scientific luminaries, including the 19th century chemist Sir Humphry Davy, who worked in Hotwells. Bishopston gave the world physicist Paul Dirac, who received the Nobel Prize in 1933 for crucial contributions to quantum mechanics. Cecil Frank Powell was Melvill Wills Professor of Physics at Bristol University when he was awarded the Nobel prize for a photographic method of studying nuclear processes and associated discoveries in 1950. The city was the birthplace of Colin Pillinger, planetary scientist behind the Beagle 2 Mars-lander project, and was home to the neuropsychologist Richard Gregory, founder of the Exploratory, a hands-on science centre, precursor of at-Bristol.
Initiatives such as the Flying Start Challenge help encourage secondary school pupils around the Bristol area to take an interest in Science and Engineering. Links with major aerospace companies promote technical disciplines and advance students' understanding of practical design. The Bloodhound SSC project, aiming to break the land speed record, is based at the Bloodhound Technology Centre on Bristol's harbourside.
Bristol has two principal railway stations. Bristol Temple Meads, near the centre, sees mainly First Great Western services, including regular high speed trains to London Paddington, as well as other local, regional and CrossCountry trains. Bristol Parkway, to the north of the city, is mainly served by high speed First Great Western services between Cardiff and London, and CrossCountry services to Birmingham and the North East. A limited service to London Waterloo from Bristol Temple Meads is operated by South West Trains. There are also scheduled coach links to most major UK cities.
The M4 motorway connects the city with an east-west axis from London to West Wales, while the M5 provides a north–southwest axis from Birmingham to Exeter. Also within the county is the M49 motorway, a short cut between the M5 in the south and M4 Severn Crossing in the west. The M32 motorway is a spur from the M4 to the city centre.
Bristol Airport (BRS), at Lulsgate, has seen substantial investments in its runway, terminal and other facilities since 2001.
Public transport in the city consists largely of its bus network, provided mostly by FirstGroup, formerly the Bristol Omnibus Company. Other services are provided by Abus, Wessex Red (Operated by Wessex for the two universities), and Wessex. Buses in the city have been widely criticised for being unreliable and expensive; in 2005 First was fined for delays and safety violations.
Private car usage in Bristol is high. The city suffers from congestion, costing an estimated £350 million per year. Bristol is motorcycle friendly; the city allows motorcycles to use most of the city's bus lanes, as well as providing secure free parking. Since 2000 the city council has included a light rail system in its local transport plan, but has so far been unwilling to fund the project. The city was offered European Union funding for the system, but the Department for Transport did not provide the required additional funding. As well as support for public transport, there are several road building schemes supported by the local council, including re-routing and improving the South Bristol Ring Road. There are also three park and ride sites serving the city, supported by the local council. The central part of the city has water-based transport, operated by the Bristol Ferry Boat, Bristol Packet and Number Seven Boat Trips providing leisure and commuter services on the harbour.
Bristol's principal surviving suburban railway is the Severn Beach Line to Avonmouth and Severn Beach. The Portishead Railway was closed to passengers under the Beeching Axe, but was relaid for freight only in 2000–2002 as far as the Royal Portbury Dock with a Strategic Rail Authority rail-freight grant. Plans to relay a further 3 miles (5 km) of track to Portishead, a largely dormitory town with only one connecting road, have been discussed but there is insufficient funding to rebuild stations. Rail services in Bristol suffer from overcrowding and there is a proposal to increase rail capacity under the Greater Bristol Metro scheme.
Bristol was named "England's first 'cycling city'" in 2008, and is home to the sustainable transport charity Sustrans. It has a number of urban cycle routes, as well as links to National Cycle Network routes to Bath and London, to Gloucester and Wales, and to the south-western peninsula of England. Cycling has grown rapidly in the city, with a 21% increase in journeys between 2001 and 2005.
Bristol was among the first cities to adopt the idea of town twinning. Its twin towns include:
- Bordeaux, France since 1947
- Hanover, Germany since 1947, the first post-war twinning of British and German cities.
Other twinnings include:
- Porto, Portugal since 1984
- Tbilisi, Georgia since 1988,
- Puerto Morazán, Nicaragua since 1989
- Beira, Mozambique since 1990
- Guangzhou, China since 2001
- Bristol, Virginia & Bristol, Tennessee, USA
- Outline of England
- Bristol Pound
- Buildings and architecture of Bristol
- Healthcare in Bristol
- Parks of Bristol
- List of people from Bristol
- Subdivisions of Bristol
- Maltese cross (unofficial county flower)
- Hotel Bristol, explaining why so many hotels worldwide carry the name.
- W.D. & H.O. Wills
- Media related to Bristol at Wikimedia Commons
- Bristol City Council
- Visit Bristol, official tourism website
- Bristol travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Bristol at DMOZ
Pennsylvania /ˌpɛnsɨlˈveɪnjə/ (Pennsylvania German: Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, and the Great Lakes region. The state borders Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and Ontario, Canada to the northwest, New York to the north and New Jersey to the east. The Appalachian Mountains run through the middle of the state.
Pennsylvania is the 33rd most extensive, the 6th most populous, and the 9th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state's five most populous cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and Reading. The state capital is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km) of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. The state is one of the 13 original founding states of the United States.
Pennsylvania is 170 miles (274 km) north to south and 283 miles (455 km) east to west. Of a total 46,055 square miles (119,282 km2), 44,817 square miles (116,075 km2) are land, 490 square miles (1,269 km2) are inland waters, and 749 square miles (1,940 km2) are waters in Lake Erie. It is the 33rd largest state in the United States. Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km) of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary.
The bounds of the state are the Mason–Dixon line (39° 43' N) to the south, the Twelve-Mile Circle on the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, the Delaware River to the east, 80° 31' W to the west and the 42° N to the north, with the exception of a short segment on the western end, where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie.
Pennsylvania borders six other states: New York to the north; New Jersey to the east; Delaware to the southeast; Maryland to the south; West Virginia to the southwest, and Ohio to the west. Pennsylvania also shares a water border with the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest across Lake Erie. Of the original Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.
It has the cities of Philadelphia, Reading, Lebanon and Lancaster in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, the tri-cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton in the central east (known as the Lehigh Valley), the tri-cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hazleton in the northeast, and Erie in the northwest. Williamsport serves as the commonwealth's north-central region, with York and the state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River in the central region of the commonwealth.
The state has 5 regions, namely the Allegheny Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and the Erie Plain.
Pennsylvania's diverse topography also produces a variety of climates, though the entire state experiences cold winters and humid summers. Straddling two major zones, the majority of the state, with the exception of the southeastern corner, has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa). Greater Philadelphia has some characteristics of the humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) that covers much of Delaware and Maryland to the south.
Moving toward the mountainous interior of the state, the winter climate becomes markedly colder, the number of cloudy days increases, and snowfall amounts are greater. Western areas of the state, particularly locations near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches (250 cm) of snowfall annually, and the entire state receives plentiful precipitation throughout the year. The state may be subject to severe weather from spring through summer into fall. Tornadoes occur annually in the state, sometimes in large numbers, such as 30 recorded tornadoes in 2011.
Before the Commonwealth was settled by Europeans, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, Shawnee, and other American Indian Nations. Both the Dutch and the English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as part of their colonial lands in America. The Dutch were the first to take possession, which has impact on the history of Pennsylvania.
By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had started the settlement of the Delmarva Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present day Lewes, Delaware. In 1638, Sweden heated up the issue by establishing the New Sweden Colony, centered on Fort Christina, on the site of present day Wilmington, Delaware. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (Parts of present Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) but settled few colonists there.
On March 12, 1664, King Charles II of England gave James, Duke of York a grant that included all of the lands included in the original Virginia Company of Plymouth Grant as well as other lands. This grant was – again – in conflict with the Dutch claim for New Netherland, which included parts of today's Pennsylvania.
On June 24, 1664, The Duke of York sold the portion of his large grant that included present day New Jersey to John Berkeley and George Carteret for a proprietary colony. The land was not yet in British possession, but the sale boxed in the portion of New Netherland on the West side of the Delaware River. The British conquest of New Netherland was commenced on August 29, 1664, when New Amsterdam was coerced to surrender, facing the cannons on British ships in New York Harbor. This conquest continued, and was completed in October 1664, when the British captured Fort Casimir in what today is New Castle, Delaware.
The Peace of Breda between England, France and the Netherlands confirmed the British conquest on July 21, 1667, although there were temporary reversions.
On September 12, 1672, as part of the Third Anglo—Dutch War, the Dutch re-conquered New York Colony/New Amsterdam, the Dutch established three County Courts which went on to become original Counties in present day Delaware and Pennsylvania. The one that later transferred to Pennsylvania was Upland. This was partially reversed on February 9, 1674, when the Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and reverted all political situations to the status quo ante bellum. The British retained the Dutch Counties with their Dutch names. By June 11, 1674, New York reasserted control over the outlying colonies, including Upland, but the names started to be changed to British names by November 11, 1674. Upland was partitioned on November 12, 1674, producing the general outline of the current border between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted a land charter to William Penn to repay a debt of £16,000 (around £2,100,000 in 2008, adjusting for retail inflation) owed to William's father, Admiral William Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history. It was called Pennsylvania. William Penn, who wanted it called New Wales or Sylvania, was embarrassed at the change, fearing that people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles would not rename the grant. Penn established a government with two innovations that were much copied in the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious conviction.
What had been Upland on what became the Pennsylvania side of the Pennsylvania-Delaware Border was renamed as Chester County when Pennsylvania instituted their colonial governments on March 4, 1681. The Quaker leader William Penn had signed a peace treaty with Tammany, leader of the Delaware tribe, beginning a long period of friendly relations between the Quakers and the Indians. Additional treaties between Quakers and other tribes followed. The treaty of William Penn was never violated.
Between 1730 and when it was shut down by Parliament with the Currency Act of 1764, the Pennsylvania Colony made its own paper money to account for the shortage of actual gold and silver. The paper money was called Colonial Scrip. The Colony issued "bills of credit", which were as good as gold or silver coins because of their legal tender status. Since they were issued by the government and not a banking institution, it was an interest-free proposition, largely defraying the expense of the government and therefore taxation of the people. It also promoted general employment and prosperity, since the Government used discretion and did not issue too much to inflate the currency. Benjamin Franklin had a hand in creating this currency, of which he said its utility was never to be disputed, and it also met with the "cautious approval" of Adam Smith.
James Smith wrote that in 1763, "the Indians again commenced hostilities, and were busily engaged in killing and scalping the frontier inhabitants in various parts of Pennsylvania." Further, "This state was then a Quaker government, and at the first of this war the frontiers received no assistance from the state." The ensuing hostilities became known as Pontiac's War.
After the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, Delegate John Dickinson of Philadelphia wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The Congress was the first meeting of the Thirteen Colonies, called at the request of the Massachusetts Assembly, but only nine colonies sent delegates. Dickinson then wrote Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, To the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, which were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.
When the Founding Fathers of the United States convened in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress. The Second Continental Congress, which also met in Philadelphia (in May 1775), drew up and signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, but when that city was captured by the British, the Continental Congress escaped westward, meeting at the Lancaster courthouse on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then to York. There they and its primary author, John Dickinson, drew up the Articles of Confederation that formed 13 independent colonies into a new nation. Later, the Constitution was written, and Philadelphia was once again chosen to be cradle to the new American Nation.
Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 12, 1787, five days after Delaware became the first.
Dickinson College of Carlisle was the first college founded in the United States. Established in 1773, the college was ratified five days after the Treaty of Paris on September 9, 1783. The school was founded by Benjamin Rush and named after John Dickinson.
For half a century, the Commonwealth's General Assembly (legislature) met at various places in the general Philadelphia area before starting to meet regularly in Independence Hall in Philadelphia for 63 years. But it needed a more central location, as for example the Paxton Boys massacres of 1763 had made the legislature aware. So, in 1799 the General Assembly moved to the Lancaster Courthouse, and finally in 1812 to Harrisburg.
The General Assembly met in the old Dauphin County Court House until December 1821, when the Federal-style "Hills Capitol" (named for its builder, Stephen Hills, a Lancaster architect) was constructed on a hilltop land grant of four acres set aside for a seat of state government by the prescient, entrepreneurial son and namesake of John Harris, Sr., a Yorkshire native who had founded a trading post in 1705 and ferry (1733) on the east shore of the Susquehanna River. The Hills Capitol burned down on February 2, 1897, during a heavy snowstorm, presumably because of a faulty flue. The General Assembly met at Grace Methodist Church on State Street (still standing) until the a new capitol could be built. Following an architectural selection contest that many alleged had been "rigged," Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb was charged with designing and building a replacement building; however, the legislature had little money to allocate to the project, and a roughly finished, somewhat industrial building (the Cobb Capitol) was completed. The General Assembly refused to occupy the building. Political and popular indignation in 1901 prompted a second contest that was restricted to Pennsylvania architects, and Joseph Miller Huston of Philadelphia was chosen to design the present Pennsylvania State Capitol that incorporated Cobb's building into magnificent public work finished and dedicated in 1907.
The new state Capitol drew rave reviews. Its dome was inspired by the domes of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the United States Capitol. President Theodore Roosevelt called it "the most beautiful state Capital in the nation" and said, "It's the handsomest building I ever saw" at the dedication. In 1989, The New York Times praised it as "grand, even awesome at moments, but it is also a working building, accessible to citizens ... a building that connects with the reality of daily life".
Pennsylvania accounts for nine percent of wooded areas in the United States. In 1923 President Calvin Coolidge established the Allegheny National Forest under the authority of the Weeks Act of 1911 in the northwest part of the state in Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren Counties for the purposes of timber production and watershed protection in the Allegheny River basin. The Allegheny is the state's only national forest.
James Buchanan, of Franklin County, the only bachelor President of the United States, was the only one to be born in Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg—the major turning point of the Civil War—took place near Gettysburg. An estimated 350,000 Pennsylvanians served in the Union Army forces along with 8,600 African American military volunteers.
Pennsylvania was also the home of the first commercially drilled oil well. In 1859, near Titusville, Pennsylvania, Edwin Drake successfully drilled the well, which led to the first major oil boom in United States history.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Pennsylvania was 12,773,801 on July 1, 2013, a 0.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The state was 78.8% Non-Hispanic White, 11.4% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.7% Two or More Races, and 6.1% Hispanic or Latino.
Of the people residing in Pennsylvania, 74.5% were born in Pennsylvania, 18.4% were born in a different US state, 1.5% were born Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s), and 5.6% were foreign born.
According to the 2010 Census, 81.9% of the population was White (79.2% non-Hispanic white), 11.3% was Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.9% Asian, 1.9% from two or more races. 5.9% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).
As of 2011, 32.1% of Pennsylvania's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew by 82.6% between 2000 and 2010, making it one of the largest increases in a state's Hispanic population. The significant growth of the Hispanic population is due to immigration to the state mainly from Puerto Rico, which is a US territory, but to a lesser extent from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and various Central and South American nations, as well as from the wave of Hispanics leaving New York and New Jersey for safer and more affordable living. The Asian population swelled by almost 60%, which was fueled by Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese immigration, as well the many Asian transplants moving to Philadelphia from New York. The rapid growth of this community has given Pennsylvania one of the largest Asian populations in the nation by numerical values. The Black and African American population grew by 13%, which was the largest increase in that population amongst the state's peers (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan).The White population declined by 0.7%, a trend that is beginning to reverse itself. Twelve other states saw decreases in their White populations.
The center of population of Pennsylvania is located in Perry County, in the borough of Duncannon.
As of 2013, Pennsylvania has an estimated population of 12,773,801, which is an increase of 10,265 from the previous year and an increase of 71,422 since the year 2010. Net migration to other states resulted in a decrease of 27,718, and immigration from other countries resulted in an increase of 127,007. Net migration to the Commonwealth was 98,289. Migration of native Pennsylvanians resulted in a decrease of 100,000 people. From 2008 to 2012, 5.8% of the population was foreign born. The state has an estimated 2005 poverty rate of 12%. The state also has the 3rd highest proportion of elderly (65+) citizens in 2005.
Foreign born Pennsylvanians are largely from Asia (36.0%), Europe (35.9%), Latin America (30.6%), Africa (5%), North America (3.1%), and Oceania (0.4%).
Pennsylvania's reported population of Hispanics, especially among the Asian, Hawaiian and White races, has markedly increased in recent years. The Hispanic population is greatest in Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Hazleton, and around Philadelphia, with over 20% being Hispanic. It is not clear how much of this change reflects a changing population and how much reflects increased willingness to self-identify minority status. As of 2010, it is estimated that about 85% of all Hispanics in Pennsylvania live within a 150 miles (240 km) radius of Philadelphia, with about 20% living within the city itself.
Pennsylvania's population was reported as 5.9% under 5 and 23.8% under 18, with 15.6% aged 65 or older. Women made up 52% of the population. The largest ancestry groups are listed below, expressed as a percentage of total people who responded with a particular ancestry for the 2006–2008 census:
- 28.5% German
- 18.2% Irish
- 12.8% Italian
- 9.6% African
- 8.5% English
- 7.2% Polish
- 4.2% French Canadian
- 2.9% Puerto Rican
- 2.2% Dutch
- 2.0% Slovak
- 2.0% Scotch Irish
- 1.7% Scottish
- 1.6% Russian
- 1.5% Welsh
- 1.2% Hungarian
- 1.0% West Indian
- 1.0% Ukrainian
- 1.0% Mexican
The five largest estimated ancestry groups in Pennsylvania are: German (28.5%), Irish (18.2%), Italian (12.8%), English (8.5%) and Polish (7.2%).
As of 2010, 90.15% (10,710,239) of Pennsylvania residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 4.09% (486,058) spoke Spanish, 0.87% (103,502) German (which includes Pennsylvania Dutch) and by 0.47% (56,052) Chinese (which includes Mandarin) of the population over the age of five. In total, 9.85% (1,170,628) of Pennsylvania's population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.
The term "Dutch," when referring to the language spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch people (Pennsylvania Dutch) means "German" or "Teutonic" rather than "Netherlander." Germans, in their own language, call themselves "Deutsch," which in English became, misleadingly, "Dutch." The Pennsylvania Dutch language is a descendant of German, in the West Central German dialect family. Although it is still spoken as a first language among some Old Order Amish and Mennonites (principally in the Lancaster County area), the language is almost extinct as an everyday language among the non-religious, though a few words have passed into English usage.
Of all the colonies, only Rhode Island had religious freedom as secure as in Pennsylvania, and one result was a wide religious diversity, which continues to this day.
Pennsylvania's population in 2010 was 12,702,379. Of these, 6,838,440 (53.8%) were estimated to belong to some sort of organized religion. According to the Association of religion data archives (ARDA) at Pennsylvania State University, The largest religions in Pennsylvania by adherents are The Roman Catholic Church with 3,503,028 adherents, The United Methodist Church with 591,734 members, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 501,974 members. the third largest single denomination is the Presbyterian Church (USA) with 250,000 members and 1,011 congregations. The next biggest denomination the United Church of Christ has 180,000 members, the UCC has the largest number of members and churches with 627 congregations. Pennsylvania was the center of the German Reformed denomination. Pennsylvania has a very large Amish population. While Pennsylvania owes its existence to Quakers and many of the older trappings of the Commonwealth are rooted in the teachings of the Religious Society of Friends (as they are officially known), practicing Quakers are a small minority today.
The religious affiliations of the people of Pennsylvania:
- Christianity – 80%
- Protestant – 51%
- Mainline Protestant – 25%
- Evangelical Protestant – 18%
- Black Protestant – 7%
- Jehovah's Witnesses – 1%
- Roman Catholic – 29%
- Orthodox – 1%
- Protestant – 51%
- Non-religious/ Unaffiliated – 13%
- Judaism – 2%
- Other religions – 1%
- Don't know/ refused – 1%
According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 40% of Pennsylvanians are very religious, 28% are moderately religious, and 32% are non-religious.
Pennsylvania's 2013 total gross state product (GSP) of $644 billion ranks the state 6th in the nation. If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 18th largest in the world. On a per-capita basis, Pennsylvania's per-capita GSP of $47,274 (in chained 2009 dollars) ranks 26th among the 50 states.
Philadelphia in the southeast corner, Pittsburgh in the southwest corner, Erie in the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton in the east central region are urban manufacturing centers. Much of the Commonwealth is rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy. Philadelphia is home to six Fortune 500 companies, with more located in suburbs like King of Prussia; it's a leader in the financial and insurance industry.
Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. In all, Pennsylvania is home to fifty Fortune 500 companies. Erie is also home to GE Transportation Systems, which is the largest producer of train locomotives in the United States.
As in the US as a whole and in most states, the largest private employer in the Commonwealth is Wal-Mart, followed by the University of Pennsylvania.
As of June 2014, the state's unemployment rate is 5.6%.
The first nationally chartered bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1781 in Philadelphia. After a series of mergers, the Bank of North America is part of Wells Fargo, which uses national charter 1.
Pennsylvania is also the home to the first nationally chartered bank under the 1863 National Banking Act. That year, the Pittsburgh Savings & Trust Company received a national charter and renamed itself the First National Bank of Pittsburgh as part of the National Banking Act. That bank is still in existence today as PNC Financial Services, and remains based in Pittsburgh. PNC is the state's largest bank, and the sixth-largest in the United States.
Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production,.
- The 1st agricultural production in PA is mushrooms,
- The 2nd is apples,
- The 3rd is Christmas trees and layer chickens,
- The 4th is nursery and sod, milk, corn for silage, grapes grown (including juice grapes), and horses production.
It also ranks 8th in the nation in Winemaking.
Pennsylvania is known all over the world for both the variety and the quality of its production. There are around 2,300 food processing companies. PA also has his own official brand of agriculture products named PA Preferred ® :
This program brought together thousands companies and stores. They support and promote Pennsylvania products with the PA Preferred® logo, and promote locally-grown food.
Some importants measures about the Agri-Impact in Pennsylvania ::
- More than 66,800 people are employed by the food manufacturing inductry
- Around 3,000 new hires in the agriculture, forestery, fishing and hunting sector
- Plus 1.7 billion $ in food product export (in 2011)
Casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004. Currently, there are nine casinos across the state with three under construction or in planning. Only horse racing, slot machines and electronic table games were legal in Pennsylvania, although a bill to legalize table games was being negotiated in the fall of 2009. Tables games such as poker, roulette, black jack and dice were finally approved by the state legislature in January 2010, being signed into law by the Governor on January 7. Sports betting is illegal.
Governor Ed Rendell had considered legalizing video poker machines in bars and private clubs in 2009, since an estimated 17,000 operate illegally across the state. Under this plan, any establishment with a liquor license would be allowed up to 5 machines. All machines would be connected to the state's computer system, like commercial casinos. The state would impose a 50% tax on net gambling revenues, after winning players have been paid, with the remaining 50% going to the establishment owners.
The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit began in 2004 and stimulated the development of a film industry in the state.
Pennsylvania has had five constitutions during its statehood: 1776, 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968. Prior to that, the province of Pennsylvania was governed for a century by a Frame of Government, of which there were four versions: 1682, 1683, 1696, and 1701. The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. The legislature meets in the State Capitol there.
Since 1992, Pennsylvania has been trending Democratic in Presidential elections (though the Pittsburgh metropolitan area trended more Republican in the 2008 Presidential election), voting for Bill Clinton twice by large margins, and slightly closer in 2000 for Al Gore. In the 2004 Presidential Election, Senator John F. Kerry beat President George W. Bush in Pennsylvania 2,938,095 (50.92%) to 2,793,847 (48.42%). Most recently, in the 2008 Presidential Election, Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Pennsylvania, 3,184,778 (54%) to 2,584,088 (44%). The state holds 20 electoral votes.
In recent elections, Pennsylvania has leaned Democratic. The state has voted for the Democratic ticket for president in every election since 1992 and during the 2008 election campaign a recruitment drive saw registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 1.2 million. However, Pennsylvania has a history of electing Republican senators. From 2009 to 2011, the state was represented by two Democratic senators for the first time since 1947. In 2010, Republicans recaptured a U.S. Senate seat as well as a majority of the state's congressional seats, control of both chambers of the state legislature and the governor's mansion. Democratic political consultant James Carville once pejoratively described Pennsylvania as "Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle".
The current Governor is Tom Corbett, former Attorney General of Pennsylvania. The other elected officials composing the executive branch are the Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, and State Treasurer Robert McCord.
Pennsylvania has a bicameral legislature set up by Commonwealth's constitution in 1790. The original Frame of Government of William Penn had a unicameral legislature. The General Assembly includes 50 Senators and 203 Representatives. Joe Scarnati is currently President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, Dominic Pileggi the Majority Leader, and Jay Costa the Minority Leader. Sam Smith is Speaker of the House of Representatives, with Mike Turzai as Majority Leader and Frank Dermody as Minority Leader. As of the 2012 elections, the Republicans hold the majority in the State House and Senate.
Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts, most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside mainly over preliminary hearings in felony and misdemeanor offenses, all minor (summary) criminal offenses, and small civil claims. Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and for local agency decisions. The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court. It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance. The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority.
Pennsylvania has the 10th highest tax burden in the United States. Residents pay a total of $83.7 billion in state and local taxes with a per capita average of $6,640 annually. Residents share 76% of the total tax burden. Many state politicians have tried to increase the share of taxes paid by out of state sources. Suggested revenue sources include taxing natural gas drilling as Pennsylvania is the only state without such a taxation on gas drilling. Additional revenue prospects include trying to place tolls on interstate highways; specifically Interstate 80 which is used heavily by out of state commuters with high maintenance costs.
Sales tax provides 39% of Commonwealth's revenue; personal income tax 34%; motor vehicle taxes about 12%, and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol beverage 5%. Personal income tax is a flat 3.07%. An individual's taxable income is based on the following eight types of income: compensation (salary); interest; dividends; net profits from the operation of a business, profession or farm; net gains or income from the dispositions of property; net gains or income from rents, royalties, patents and copyrights; income derived through estates or trusts; and gambling and lottery winnings (other than Pennsylvania Lottery winnings).
Counties, municipalities, and school districts levy taxes on real estate. In addition, some local bodies assess a wage tax on personal income. Generally, the total wage tax rate is capped at 1% of income but some municipalities with home rule charters may charge more than 1%. Thirty-two of the Commonwealth's sixty-seven counties levy a personal property tax on stocks, bonds, and similar holdings.
On September 16, 2014, Pennsylvania approved Bill 76 that will eliminate school property funding.
Representation in the 113th Congress
Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senators in the 113th Congress are Bob Casey, Jr. and Pat Toomey.
Pennsylvania's U.S. Representatives for the term beginning January 2013 are Bob Brady (1st), Chaka Fattah (2nd), Mike Kelly (3rd), Scott Perry (politician) (4th), Glenn "G.T." Thompson (5th), Jim Gerlach (6th), Pat Meehan (7th), Mike Fitzpatrick (8th), Bill Shuster (9th), Tom Marino (10th), Lou Barletta (11th), Keith Rothfus (12th), Allyson Schwartz (13th), Mike Doyle (14th), Charlie Dent (15th), Joe Pitts (16th), Matt Cartwright (17th), Tim Murphy (18th).
See map of congressional districts
Pennsylvania is divided into 67 counties. Counties are further subdivided into municipalities that are either incorporated as cities, boroughs, or townships. One county, Philadelphia County, is coterminous with the city of Philadelphia after it was consolidated in 1854. The largest county in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, while the smallest is Cameron (5,085).
There are a total of 56 cities in Pennsylvania, which are classified, by population, as either first, second, or third class cities. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's largest city, has a population of 1,526,006 and is the state's only first class city. Pittsburgh (305,704) and Scranton (76,089) are second class and second class 'A' cities, respectively.
The rest of the cities, like the third and fourth largest—Allentown (118,032) and Erie (101,786)—to the smallest—Parker with a population of only 840—are third class cities. First and second class cities are governed by a "strong mayor" form of mayor–council government, whereas third class cities are governed by either a "weak mayor" form of government or a council–manager government.
Boroughs are generally smaller than cities, with most Pennsylvania cities having been incorporated as a borough before being incorporated as a city. There are 958 boroughs in Pennsylvania, all of which governed by the "weak mayor" form of mayor–council government. The largest borough in Pennsylvania is State College (42,034) and the smallest is Centralia (10).
Townships are the third type of municipality in Pennsylvania and are classified as either first class or second class townships. There are 1,454 second class townships and 93 first class townships. Second class township can become first class townships if it has a population density greater than 300 inhabitants per square mile (120 /km2) and a referendum is passed supporting the change. Pennsylvania's largest township is Upper Darby Township (82,795), and the smallest is East Keating Township (11).
There is one exception to the types of municipalities in Pennsylvania: Bloomsburg was incorporated as a town in 1870 and is, officially, the only town in the state. In 1975, McCandless Township adopted a home-rule charter under the name of "Town of McCandless", but is, legally, still a first class township.
The total of 56 cities, 958 boroughs, 93 first class townships, 1454 second class townships, and 1 town (Bloomsburg) is 2562 municipalities.
Pennsylvania has a mixed health record, and is ranked as the 29th overall healthiest state according to the 2013 United Health Foundation's Health Rankings.
Pennsylvania has 500 public school districts, thousands of private schools, publicly funded colleges and universities, and over 100 private institutions of higher education.
Primary and secondary education
In general, under state law, school attendance in Pennsylvania is mandatory for a child from the age of 8 until the age of 17, or until graduation from an accredited high school, whichever is earlier. As of 2005, 83.8% of Pennsylvania residents age 18 to 24 have completed high school. Among residents age 25 and over, 86.7% have graduated from high school. Additionally, 25.7% have gone on to obtain a bachelor's degree or higher. State students consistently do well in standardized testing. In 2007, Pennsylvania ranked 14th in mathematics, 12th in reading, and 10th in writing for 8th grade students.
In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169, which allows parents or guardians to homeschool their children as an option for compulsory school attendance. This law specifies the requirements and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family lives.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the public university system of the Commonwealth, with 14 state-owned schools. The Commonwealth System of Higher Education is organizing body of the 4 state-related schools in Pennsylvania, these schools are independent institutions that receive some state funding. There are also 15 publicly funded two-year community colleges and technical schools that are separate from the PASSHE system. Additionally there are many private two- and four-year technical schools, colleges and universities.
Carnegie Mellon University, The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh, are members of the Association of American Universities, an invitation only organization of leading research universities. The Pennsylvania State University is the Commonwealth's Land-grant university, Sea Grant College and, Space Grant College. The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, is considered the first university in the United States and established the country's first medical school. The University of Pennsylvania is also the Commonwealth's only, and geographically the most southern, Ivy League school. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the first and oldest art school in the United States. Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, now a part of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, was the first pharmacy school in the United States.
Pennsylvania is home to the nation's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo. Other long-accredited AZA zoos include the Erie Zoo and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Lehigh Valley Zoo and ZOOAMERICA are other notable zoos. The Commonwealth boasts some of the finest museums in the country, including the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and several others. One unique museum is the Houdini Museum in Scranton, the only building in the world devoted to the legendary magician. Pennsylvania is also home to the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh.
All 121 state parks in Pennsylvania feature free admission.
Pennsylvania offers a number of notable amusement parks, including Camel Beach, Conneaut Lake Park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Dutch Wonderland, DelGrosso Amusement Park, Hersheypark, Idlewild Park, Kennywood, Knoebels, Lakemont Park, Sandcastle Waterpark, Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge and Waldameer Park. Pennsylvania also is home to the largest indoor waterpark resort on the East Coast, Splash Lagoon in Erie.
There are also notable music festivals that take place in Pennsylvania. These include Musikfest and NEARfest in Bethlehem, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Creation Festival, the Great Allentown Fair, and Purple Door.
There are nearly one million licensed hunters in Pennsylvania. Whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, squirrel, turkey, and grouse are common game species. Pennsylvania is considered one of the finest wild turkey hunting states in the Union, alongside Texas and Alabama. Sport hunting in Pennsylvania provides a massive boost for the Commonwealth's economy. A report from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania (a Legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) reported that hunting, fishing, and furtaking generated a total of $9.6 billion statewide.
The Boone and Crockett Club shows that five of the ten largest (skull size) black bear entries came from the state. The state also has a tied record for the largest hunter shot black bear in the Boone & Crockett books at 733 lb (332 kg) and a skull of 23 3/16 tied with a bear shot in California in 1993. The largest bear ever found dead was in Utah in 1975, and the second largest was shot by a poacher in the state in 1987. Pennsylvania holds the second highest number of Boone & Crockett-recorded record black bears at 183, second only to Wisconsin's 299.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, abbreviated as PennDOT, owns 39,861 miles (64,150 km) of the 121,770 miles (195,970 km) of roadway in the state, making it the fifth largest state highway system in the United States. The Pennsylvania Turnpike system is 535 miles (861 km) long, with the mainline portion stretching from Ohio to Philadelphia and New Jersey. It is overseen by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Another major east–west route is Interstate 80, whichs runs primarily in the northern tier of the state from Ohio to New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap. Interstate 90 travels the relatively short distance between Ohio and New York through Erie County, in the extreme northwestern part of the state.
Primary north–south highways are Interstate 79 from its terminus in Erie through Pittsburgh to West Virginia, Interstate 81 from New York through Scranton, Lackawanna County and Harrisburg to Maryland and Interstate 476, which begins 7 miles (11 km) north of the Delaware border, in Chester, Delaware County and travels 132 miles (212 km) to Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, where it joins I-81. All but 20 miles (32 km) of I-476 is the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, while the highway south of the main line of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is officially called the "Veterans Memorial Highway", but is commonly referred to by locals as the "Blue Route".
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the sixth largest transit agency in the United States and operates the commuter, heavy and light rail transit, and transit bus service in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Port Authority of Allegheny County is the 25th largest transit agency and provides transit bus and light rail service in and around Pittsburgh.
Intercity passenger rail transit is provided by Amtrak, with the majority of traffic occurring on the Keystone Service in the high-speed Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station before heading north to New York City; the Pennsylvanian follows the same route from New York City to Harrisburg, but extends out to Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited also passes through Pittsburgh, as well as Connellsville, on its way from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Traveling between Chicago and New York City, the Lake Shore Limited passes through Erie once in each direction. There are 67 short-line, freight railroads operating in Pennsylvania, the highest number in any U.S. state.
Pennsylvania has seven major airports: Philadelphia International, Pittsburgh International, Lehigh Valley International, Harrisburg International, Erie International, University Park Airport and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International. A total of 134 public-use airport are located in the state. The port of Pittsburgh is the second largest inland port in the United States and the 18th largest port overall; the Port of Philadelphia is the 24th largest port in the United States. Pennsylvania's only port on the Great Lakes is located in Erie.
The Allegheny River Lock and Dam Two is the most-used lock operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers of its 255 nationwide. The dam impounds the Allegheny River near Downtown Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania is home to many major league professional sports teams; the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Among them, these teams have accumulated 7 World Series Championships (Pirates 5, Phillies 2), 16 National League Pennants (Pirates 9, Phillies 7), 3 pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championships (Eagles), 6 Super Bowl Championships (Steelers), 2 NBA Championships (76ers), and 5 Stanley Cups (Penguins 3, Flyers 2).
Pennsylvania also has minor league and semi-pro sports teams: the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League, the Erie Bayhawks of the National Basketball Association Development League, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, the Philadelphia Soul and the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, and the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League. Among them, these teams have accumulated 1 Arena Bowl Championship (Soul), 1 ABA Championship (Pipers), 11 Calder Cups (Bears), and 6 Champion's Cups (Wings).
Each summer, the Little League World Series is held in South Williamsport, near where Little League Baseball was founded in Williamsport.
Also, the first World Series between the Boston Pilgrims (which became the Boston Red Sox) and Pittsburgh Pirates was played in Pittsburgh in 1903.
Soccer is gaining popularity within the state of Pennsylvania as well. With the addition of the Philadelphia Union in the MLS, the state now boasts three teams that are eligible to compete for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup annually. The other two teams are the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Harrisburg City Islanders, both of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division (USL-2). Within the American Soccer Pyramid, the MLS takes the first tier, while the USL-2 claims the third tier.
In motorsports, the Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hails from Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley. Notable racetracks in Pennsylvania include the Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, the Lake Erie Speedway in North East, the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, the Motordome Speedway in Smithton, the Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth (closed); and the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which is home to two NASCAR Cup Series races and an IndyCar Series race. The state is also home to Maple Grove Raceway, near Reading, which hosts major National Hot Rod Association sanctioned drag racing events each year.
There are also two motocross race tracks that host a round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championships in Pennsylvania. High Point Raceway in located in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, and Steel City is located in Delmont, Pennsylvania.
Horse racing courses in Pennsylvania consist of The Meadows near Pittsburgh, Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, and Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, which offer harness racing, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) in Bensalem, and Presque Isle Downs near Erie, which offer thoroughbred racing. Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, had Philadelphia Park as his home course.
Arnold Palmer, one of the 20th century's most notable pro golfers, comes from Latrobe, while Jim Furyk, a current PGA member, grew up near in Lancaster. PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club, in Moosic.
Philadelphia is home to LOVE Park, once a popular spot for skateboarding, and across from City Hall, host to ESPN's X Games in 2001 and 2002.
College football is very popular in Pennsylvania. The Penn State University Nittany Lions were coached by Joe Paterno who has led Penn State to two national championships (1982 & 1986) as well as five undefeated seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). On January 22, 2012, Joe Paterno died of lung cancer. Penn State's current head football coach is James Franklin, formerly the head coach at Vanderbilt University. Penn State plays its home games in the second largest stadium in the United States, Beaver Stadium, which seats 107,282. In addition, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers have won nine national championships (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1976) and have played eight undefeated seasons (1904, 1910, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1937 and 1976). Pitt plays its home games at Heinz Field, a facility it shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other Pennsylvania schools that have won national titles in football include Lafayette College (1896), Villanova University (FCS 2009), and the University of Pennsylvania (1895, 1897, 1904 and 1908).
College basketball is also popular in the state, especially in the Philadelphia area where five universities, collectively termed the Big Five, have a rich tradition in NCAA Division I basketball. National titles in college basketball have been won by the following Pennsylvania universities: La Salle University (1954), Temple University (1938), University of Pennsylvania (1920 and 1921), University of Pittsburgh (1928 and 1930) and Villanova University (1985).
In his book Yo Mama Cooks Like a Yankee, author Sharon Hernes Silverman calls Pennsylvania the snack food capital of the world. It leads all other states in the manufacture of pretzels and potato chips. The Sturgis Pretzel House introduced the pretzel to America, and companies like Anderson Bakery Company, Intercourse Pretzel Factory, and Snyder's of Hanover are leading manufacturers in the Commonwealth. Two of the three companies that define the U.S. potato chip industry are based in Pennsylvania: Utz Quality Foods, Inc., which started making chips in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1921, and Wise Snack Foods which started making chips in Berwick in 1921 (the third, Lay's Potato Chips, is a Texas company). Other companies such as Herr's Snacks, Martin's Potato Chips, Snyder's of Berlin (not associated with Snyder's of Hanover) and Troyer Farms Potato Products are popular chip manufacturers.
The U.S. chocolate industry is centered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with Mars, Godiva, and Wilbur Chocolate Company nearby, and smaller manufacturers such as Asher's in Souderton, and Gertrude Hawk of Dunmore. Other notable companies include Just Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, makers of Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, the Easter favorite marshmallow Peeps, and Boyer Brothers of Altoona, Pennsylvania, which is well known for its Mallo Cups. Auntie Anne's Pretzels began as a market-stand in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and now has corporate headquarters in Lancaster City. Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch foods include chicken potpie, ham potpie, schnitz un knepp (dried apples, ham, and dumplings), fasnachts (raised doughnuts), scrapple, pretzels, bologna, chow-chow, and Shoofly pie. Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc., headquartered in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, specializes in potato bread, another traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food. D.G. Yuengling & Son, America's oldest brewery, has been brewing beer in Pottsville since 1829.
Among the regional foods associated with Philadelphia are cheesesteaks, hoagie, soft pretzels, Italian water ice, Irish potato candy, scrapple, Tastykake, and strombolis. In Pittsburgh, tomato ketchup was improved by Henry John Heinz from 1876 to the early 20th century. Famous to a lesser extent than Heinz ketchup are the Pittsburgh's Primanti Brothers Restaurant sandwiches, pierogies, and city chicken. Outside of Scranton, in Old Forge there are dozens of Italian restaurants specializing in pizza made unique by thick, light crust and American cheese. Erie also has its share of unique foods, including Greek sauce and sponge candy. Sauerkraut along with pork and mashed potatoes is a common meal on New Year's Day in Pennsylvania.
- Motto: "Virtue, liberty, and independence"
- Tree: Eastern Hemlock
- Game bird: Ruffed Grouse
- Flower: Mountain Laurel
- Insect: Pennsylvania Firefly
- Animal: White-tailed deer
- Dog: Great Dane
- Fish: Brook Trout
- Fossil: Phacops rana
- Beverage: Milk
- Song: "Pennsylvania"
- Ship: US Brig Niagara
- Electric locomotive: GG1 4859
- Steam locomotive: K4s 1361 and K4s 3750
- Beautification and conservation plant: Penngift Crown vetch
Pennsylvania has been known as the Keystone State since 1802, based in part upon its central location among the original Thirteen Colonies forming the United States, and also in part because of the number of important American documents signed in the state (such as the Declaration of Independence). It was also a keystone state economically, having both the industry common to the North (making such wares as Conestoga wagons and rifles) and the agriculture common to the South (producing feed, fiber, food, and tobacco).
Another one of Pennsylvania's nicknames is the Quaker State; in colonial times, it was known officially as the Quaker Province, in recognition of Quaker William Penn's First Frame of Government constitution for Pennsylvania that guaranteed liberty of conscience. He knew of the hostility Quakers faced when they opposed religious ritual, taking oaths, violence, war and military service, and what they viewed as ostentatious frippery.
"The Coal State", "The Oil State", "The Chocolate State", and "The Steel State" were adopted when those were the state's greatest industries.
"The State of Independence" currently appears on many road signs entering the state.
- Outline of Pennsylvania
- Index of Pennsylvania-related articles
- "2010 Public Transportation Fact Book" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. April 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- "Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Fact Book". Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. August 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
- Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (December 31, 2009). "Part 5: National Summaries" (PDF). Waterborne Commerce of the United States. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- Trostle, Sharon, ed. (2009). The Pennsylvania Manual 119. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of General Services. ISBN 0-8182-0334-X.
- Pennsylvania at DMOZ
- Gov. Andrew Curtin's Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, Civil War 1861–1864
- Official state government site
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
- Allegheny National Forest
- Pennsylvania Wilds
- USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Pennsylvania
- Energy Data & Statistics for Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania State Facts from USDA
- Official state tourism site
- Biography of William Penn from 1829
- Free Original Documents Online: Pennsylvania State Archives 1600s to 1800s
- Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
- National Association of Counties (information on each Pennsylvania County)
- Geographic data related to Pennsylvania at OpenStreetMap