By the 1750s, Philadelphia had surpassed Boston to become the largest city and busiest port in British America, and second in the British Empire after London. The free black community also established many schools for its children, with the help of Quakers.The state capital was moved to Lancaster in 1799, then Harrisburg in 1812, while the federal government was moved to Washington, D. New York City surpassed Philadelphia in population by 1790.These societies developed and financed new industries, attracting skilled and knowledgeable immigrants from Europe. The city remained the young nation's largest until the late 18th century, being both a financial and a cultural center for America.Philadelphia's importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America's revolutionaries. In 1816, the city's free black community founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black denomination in the country, and the first black Episcopal Church.Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as fire protection, a library, and one of the American colonies' first hospitals.A number of philosophical societies were formed, which were centers of the city's intellectual life: the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (1785), the Pennsylvania Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts (1787), the Academy of Natural Sciences (1812), and the Franklin Institute (1824).Major corporations in the 19th and early 20th centuries included the Baldwin Locomotive Works, William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Immigrants, mostly from Ireland and Germany, settled in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts.These immigrants were largely responsible for the first general strike in North America in 1835, in which workers in the city won the ten-hour workday.
As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely.In the 21st century, most Lenape reside in Oklahoma, with some communities living also in Wisconsin, Ontario (Canada) and their traditional homelands.Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey.In 1681, in partial repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony.Despite the royal charter, Penn bought the land from the local Lenape to be on good terms with the Native Americans and ensure peace for his colony.Hoping that Philadelphia would become more like an English rural town instead of a city, Penn laid out roads on a grid plan to keep houses and businesses spread far apart, with areas for gardens and orchards.