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Rich in historic lore, Pennsylvania territory was disputed in the early 1600s among the Dutch, the Swedes, and the English. England acquired the region in 1664 with the capture of New York, and in 1681 Pennsylvania was granted to William Penn, a Quaker, by King Charles II.
Philadelphia was the seat of the federal government almost continuously from 1776 to 1800; there the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution drawn up in 1787. Valley Forge, of Revolutionary War fame, and Gettysburg, site of the pivotal battle of the Civil War, are both in Pennsylvania. The Liberty Bell is located in a glass pavilion across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Each year on Christmas day the "Crossing of the Delaware" is reenacted at Washington Crossing.
Pennsylvania's rich heritage draws billions of tourist dollars annually. Among the chief attractions are the Gettysburg National Military Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Dutch region, the Eisenhower farm near Gettysburg, and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Drake Well Museum in Titusville is on the site where Edwin L. Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859 and launched the modern petroleum industry. The mining of iron ore and coal led to the development of the state's steel industry. More recently Pennsylvania's industry has diversified, although the state still leads the country in the production of specialty steel. The service, retail trade, and manufacturing sectors provide the most jobs; Pennsylvania is a leader in the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, food products, and electronic equipment.
Pennsylvania's 58,000 farms are the backbone of the state's economy, producing a wide variety of crops. Leading commodities are dairy products, cattle and calves, mushrooms, greenhouse and nursery products, poultry and eggs, a variety of fruits, sweet corn, potatoes, maple syrup, and Christmas trees. Hershey is considered the Chocolate Capital of the United States.
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. Pennsylvania is also nicknamed the "Keystone State" because of the number of important American documents signed in the state including the Declaration of Independence. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia.
Benjamin Franklin founded the Philadelphia Zoo, the first public zoo in the United States. Actor Jimmy Stewart was born and raised in the town of Indiana. Each year at Christmas the downtown area is decorated in the theme of the film "It's a Wonderful Life". Nazareth is the home of Martin guitars since 1833. George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing of Bradford in late 1932. He started with a simple idea: create a product that answers a real need, design it to work, and guarantee it to last.
Punxsutawney citizens are proud to be over shadowed by their town's most famous resident the world-renowned weather forecasting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney is billed as the weather capital of the world.