History of Philadelphia - Birthplace of America & First World Heritage City in the U.S.A

Founded in 1682 by William Penn, an English Quaker 

William Penn named Philadelphia, meaning “City of Brotherly Love” in Greek, to reflect his views toward religious tolerance.

Due to its excellent location on the Atlantic Coast and accessible port facilities, Philadelphia grew rapidly in the 18th century until it was the second largest English-speaking city in the world.

Called the “Athens of the Americas,” Philadelphia was the cultural center of the New World.


Philadelphia - America's Birthplace

From 1774 to 1800, Philadelphia was a pivotal site of the American Revolution.

Independence National Historical Park, “America's most historic square mile,” has two of the U.S.A.'s most famous monuments to freedom – the Liberty Bell, symbol of the nation's freedom, and Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the nation, where a group of dissatisfied colonists adopted Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.


One of America's first capitals

From 1774-1776, Philadelphia was an early capital of the United States, as representatives from the 13 colonies convened for the First Continental Congress at Carpenters' Hall and the Second Continental Congress at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Through the period of the American Revolution, the U.S. capital moved to various temporary locations outside of Philadelphia and then eventually to New York from 1785-1790. New York became the first capital of the United States after the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Philadelphia once again became a temporary location from 1790-1800 while the U.S. Capitol Building was being built in Washington, D.C.


Philadelphia – a city of American “firsts”

Includes: first art school and art museum (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts), hospital (Pennsylvania Hospital), botanical garden (Historic Bartram's Garden), zoo (Philadelphia Zoo), stock exchange, commercial bank, university (University of Pennsylvania), computer (ENIAC), modern skyscraper in the U.S.A. (formerly the PSFS building, now the Loews Philadelphia hotel) and the first American convention (the Continental Congress which first met in 1774).


Philadelphia Today

Vibrant city with renowned museums, restaurants, hotels, exciting nightlife, cultural and entertainment venues. Combines Old World architecture with modern buildings. Businesses include biotechnology, health care, pharmaceutical, finance and technology.


Recent Accolades

“City of the Year,” GQ

Best Place in the United States to Visit (#1), Lonely Planet

Best Historic Destination in the U.S.A. (#2), U.S. News & World Report

Best Places to Visit in the U.S.A. (#2), U.S. News & World Report

Top 8 trips to take in 2018 (#7), Bravo

Best Shopping City in the World (#2), Condé Nast Traveler

World's Most Exciting Restaurant Cities (#8), Travel + Leisure

America's Best Food Cities: Philadelphia (#5), The Washington Post




For further press information please contact:

Kimberly Barrett, International Communications Manager

T: +1 (215) 636-3416

E: kimberly@discoverPHL.com


Anthony Stipa, Communications Manager

T: +1 (215) 636-3412

E: anthony@discoverPHL.com


For latest press releases, hi-res images and B-rolls, go to www.discoverPHL.com/pressroom


About Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), a private non-profit, membership corporation, is the official tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia globally, and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The PHLCVB is an economic engine for the city – creating jobs and fueling economic growth by encouraging overseas visitation and by bringing ethnically diverse regional, national and international meetings, conventions and sporting events to Philadelphia.