Record ID: 143

Site Name

Philadelphia

Type

Seaport - American

Description

Settled in 1682 by English as base for William Penn's new colony. Had earlier been settled by Swedes before their expulsion by the Dutch in the 1650s. Located 90 miles up the Delaware River, on the west bank, just above where the Schuylkill enters the Delaware. East side of Delaware is Camden, New Jersey. Became a significant commercial center almost from its founding and by 1750s had pulled abreast of Boston in population and maritime commerce, being advantaged by a deeper and more productive hinterland into Pennsylvania and New Jersey. At time of Revolution was the largest city in British North America (30,000).

Although Quakers were reluctant to resist British and city's upper ranks included many Tories, Philadelphia a more vigorous opponent of British trade and taxing policies than New York City. Briefly occupied in winter of 1777 by British troops.

Lost out to New York as the country's most populous city and leading seaport in the 1790s. In 2001, Philadelphia was the nation's 17th busiest port.
"East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia," by Nicholas Scull, 1756 (Image Id: 2010)
"East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia," by Nicholas Scull, 1756 (Image Id: 2010)


Map of Philadelphia, by French cartographer Jacques N. Bellin, 1764. (Image Id: 2011)
Map of Philadelphia, by French cartographer Jacques N. Bellin, 1764. (Image Id: 2011)

Military map of Philadelphia, by British surveyor general Benjamin Eastburn, 1776 (Image Id: 2012)
Military map of Philadelphia, by British surveyor general Benjamin Eastburn, 1776 (Image Id: 2012)

Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers in black (Image Id: 2013)
Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers in black (Image Id: 2013)