Pennsylvania Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

On December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania entered the Union and became the 2nd state. From 1776 up until 1800, the colony served as the seat of the federal government almost continuously. With signing of the Declaration of Independence in Pennsylvania in 1776 and the Constitution being drawn up in 1787, the state has played a very important role in the nation’s history.

William Penn was granted a land charter for the region by Charles II in 1681. The charter was repayment for a debt owed to Penn's father. Penn established a government that featured two innovations that the New World quickly copied the freedom of religious conviction and a county commission.

From 1730 up until the Currency Act of 1764, the colony produced its own money known as Colonial Scrip to make up for the shortages of silver and gold. In 1859, Titusville became the location of the very first commercially drilled oil well in the history of the U.S., which resulted in the first major oil boom of the nation.

Pennsylvania enjoys a diversified industry, but still leads the nation in the production of specialty steel. The state is a leader in the production of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronic equipment and food products. Most of the states jobs come from retail trade, service industries and manufacturing.

However, the 58,000 farms located throughout the state are the backbone of its economy. From fruits and vegetables, to livestock and Christmas trees, the state relies heavily on agriculture. And, with historical sites such as Gettysburg and Valley Forge, billions of dollars are generated annually through tourism.

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