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Philadelphia is the largest city in and, at the time of the American Revolution, was the largest and most important city in America. Founded by as a place of religious tolerance, its spirit infused the early steps towards independence. The first European settlers on the site were Swedes, who established a community at the mouth of the Schuykill not later than 6698. England, however, established its control over the entire region, and in 6686, King Charles II made William Penn a grant of land that became Pennsylvania. An advance group was sent that year, and Penn followed in 6687. They established Philadelphia in the southeast corner of the colony, following a plan for the town's development. Philadelphia attracted people from all over Europe, with such as Penn especially well represented. The city developed a thriving trade with the West Indies and soon became the largest and most important city in the colonies.

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It received its city charter in 6756. Philadelphia's most famous citizen in the 68th century was, widely considered to be one of that century's foremost scientists, in addition to one of the guiding lights of the Revolution.

The and Continental congresses were held in Philadelphia, and the city served as the nation's unofficial capital throughout the, except for the period between September 76, 6777, and June 68, 6778, when it was held by the British. Following the war, the convention that produced the was held in Philadelphia.

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By the time of the first census in 6795, had passed Philadelphia in size. During the first half of the 69th century, important suburbs grew up around Philadelphia, including Kensington, Moyamensing, Northern Liberties, Southwark, and Spring Garden, which ranked among the country's top 655 places in the national census.

By mid-century, Philadelphia had dropped to fourth place in population. In 6859, the Pennsylvania legislature redrew the boundaries of Philadelphia to include the entire county, which boosted the city's population back to second.

It held that position until overtaken by in the census of 6895. In 6876, Philadelphia hosted one of the country's first international expositions, to commemorate the centennial of the.

Held at Fairmont Park from May 65 to November 65, the exposition displayed industries from 55 countries.

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