Natural resources, agriculture, manufacturing, commerce and transportation were some of the elements underlying the economy of colonial Pennsylvania. The colony, founded by William Penn in order to promote religious liberty, became an economic growth center well before the years leading to the Revolutionary War.Continue Reading
Agricultural production thrived from the colony's inception in 1681. By the 1750s, the southeastern section of Pennsylvania was well known as an agricultural center and exporter of grain. Wheat and corn were the primary crops, but colonists also grew rye, hemp and flax.
Natural resources included water, minerals, forests, fish and game. Settlers from England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, France and elsewhere gave the colony a cosmopolitan spirit. Their ingenuity employed natural resources in productive and creative endeavors.
Home-based industries early in the colony's development included arts and crafts and textile manufacturing. Sawmills, shipbuilding, iron manufacturing, grist mills, paper making, publishing, printing and tanning diversified the economy. Lancaster County contributed the Pennsylvania long rifle and the Conestoga wagon to the list of original colonial products.
The many rivers of the area supported trade until a system of roads was built connecting the agricultural areas with Philadelphia. Stage coach lines were also built to facilitate travel and trade. Philadelphia grew into a hub of foreign trade and commerce.Learn more about US History
There are ten different main business industries, including transportation and communications; mining; agriculture, forestry, and fishing; construction; manufacturing; finance, insurance, and real estate; retail trade; wholesale trade; services; and public administration. These categories are defined by the United States Department of Labor and tracked via the standard industrial classification, or SIC, code system.Full Answer >
Education in colonial Pennsylvania did not have a common system such as in New England, and was more focused on practical education. The first public school in the American Colonies was founded by the Quakers in Philadelphia.Full Answer >
Wheat and corn farming were very prosperous in colonial Pennsylvania, according to historian Rickie Lazzerini. Rye, hemp and flax were also grown. Pennsylvania's abundant natural resources also helped fuel iron production, gun manufacturing, ship-building and paper-making.Full Answer >
The key industries in Pennsylvania as of 2013 are agribusiness, energy, technology, advanced manufacturing and materials, tourism, life sciences and the film industry, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. Among the largest is the agribusiness industry, which ships $32 billion in food products annually.Full Answer >