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Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

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There is a disputed proposal that this article should be merged with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

Image:Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County.png

Philadelphia County is a county located in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania. It is conterminous with the city of Philadelphia. As of 2000, the population is 1,517,550. Its county seat is Philadelphia6.

Philadelphia county is one of the three original counties, along with Chester, and Bucks counties, created by William Penn in November 1682. Its name to him signified “brotherly love,” though the original Philadelphia in Asia Minor was actually “the city of Philadelphus.”

History

Tribes of Delaware Indians were the original occupants in the area, which would become Philadelphia County. The first European settlers would be groups of Swedes and Finns who arrived in 1638. The Dutch then seized the area in 1655, but permanently lost control to England in 1674. Penn’s charter for Pennsylvania was received from Charles II of England in 1681, and was followed by Penn’s November 1682 division of Pennsylvania into three counties. In the same year Philadelphia was laid out, it was also made the county seat and the capital of the Province of Pennsylvania.

The city of Philadelphia, as laid out by Penn, comprised only that portion of the present city situated between South and Vine Streets and Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Settlements were made, however, outside of these boundaries, and in the course of time they became separately incorporated and had separate governments, making congeries of towns and districts, the whole group being known abroad simply as Philadelphia.

Several of these were situated immediately contiguous to the "city proper": Southwark and Moyamensing in the south, and Northern Liberties, Kensington, Spring Garden and Penn District to the north, and West Philadelphia to the west — which combined with the City of Philadelphia formed practically one town continuously built up, not unlike a modern-day London.

Besides these, there were a number of other outlying townships, villages and settlements near the built-up town, though detached from it. Among these were Bridesburg, Frankford, Harrowgate, Holmesburg, the unincorporated sections of Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, Nicetown, Rising Sun, Fox Chase, Germantown, Roxborough, Falls of Schuylkill, unincorporated Penn Township, Francisville, Hamilton Village, Mantua, Blockley, Kingsessing, Lower Dublin Township and Passyunk.

Over time, as the population expanded out from the City of Philadelphia, these also became absorbed in the congeries of towns of which Philadelphia was composed. On February 2, 1854, all municipalities within the county were consolidated with the City of Philadelphia, the boundaries of which are coincident with those of the County of Philadelphia, thus abolishing the patchwork of cities, boroughs, and townships that made up Philadelphia County since its founding. Most of these districts mentioned had marked characteristics, but over time, after the consolidation, these characteristics have mostly passed away. Today though the names of most of these districts are synonymous with neighborhoods in city, with the boundaries of which roughly matching their historic boundaries.

The county offices were merged with the city government in 1952, thus, for all practical purposes, eliminating the county as a governmental structure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the exception being its name and boundaries, which are still recognized by the Commonwealth.



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