March 4, 1681 marks which important event in Pennsylvania’s history?

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March 4, 1681 marks which important event in Pennsylvania’s history?

2017-03-06 16:47

Answer: William Penn receives the state’s charter from King Charles II

In March of 1681, William Penn, the scion of a respected English family and a prominent member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), received a charter for a large tract of land in North America from the king of England, who had owed a great debt to Penn's father. With this charter, Penn became the sole owner and ruler of a territory of over 45,000 square miles. He intended to use this land to establish a province in which religious dissenters such as Quakers could live freely according to the dictates of their conscience. His province, "Pennsylvania," meaning "Penn's woods," would be a "Holy Experiment" defined by Quaker principles of nonviolence, democracy, religious and personal freedom, and acceptance of people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Penn set to work corresponding with his agents in the province, advertising the new colony to potential settlers, selling land to investors, and making contact with the people who already inhabited the land. 

While the original 1681 charter that William Penn once possessed is held by the Pennsylvania State Archives, HSP has a facsimile of the document in its library (call number Va .9999 v. 1). HSP also owns the papers of the Penn family (#485A), among which is a plethora of documents and correspondence relating to the founding of the state.

 

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