Pennsylvania Colony

Penn with Natives

The Pennsylvania Colony was a royal colony. It was founded under a charter given to William Penn. Penn was granted the charter as a place for Quakers to settle. Charles II, King of England owed money to Penn’s family. The land grant was made in exchange for paying of the King’s debt. The charter was issued in 1681. It granted the land from 12 miles North of Newcastle (along the Delaware River) until the 49th parallel.

The charter granted to Penn had more limitations than charters granted to earlier colonies. However, Penn remained unconcerned. As a Quaker he believed people were inherently good (as opposed to the attitude of the Puritans). Penn’s view of the government of Pennsylvania could be summed up in the words: “Let men be good and the government cannot be bad”. The first settlers left for the New World in October 1681. They settled on the East side of the Chesapeake River in extremely fertile land. They founded the city of Philadelphia. Penn also believed in creating favorable relations with the Native Americans. They purchased the land from the local Indians and began the colony with excellent relations with the area’s Native Americans. The Quakers, like the Puritans, were dedicated to hard work. They truly worked hard to create their new colony and their new city in Philadelphia.

While the Quakers were the majority of the early settlers, their belief in tolerance attracted people with a wide range of religious beliefs. At the end of the 17th century, England suspended Penn’s proprietary rights, only to reinstate them a short time later.