Clockwise from top: Philadelphia skyline (2015); City Hall; Elfreth's Alley; paifang in Chinatown; Ben Franklin Bridge; SS United States at Port of Philadelphia; College Hall at UPenn; Museum of Art; Liberty Bell and Independence Hall Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within both the Mid-Atlantic region and the Northeast megalopolis.
The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
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.
In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina (present-day Wilmington, Delaware) and quickly spread out in the valley.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.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.