Penn's Philadelphia and Early signs of Extra-urban Development
After receiving an enormous land grant from the King of England in 1681, William Penn promptly began to establish the layout of his new colony, Pennsylvania. He located Philadelphia between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, ensuring that ships would have easy access to the colonial capital. While this piece of planning reflected much foresight, the boundaries that Penn initially envisioned for his city encompassed an unmanageably large quantity of land. In his revised plans, he excluded a large area from the northern and western parts of the city and designated this tract "the liberty land of free lots." He also decreed that 100 hundred acres of this land and two lots within city limits would be granted to anyone who bought 5,000 acres in the colony. Not until 1854 did the "Liberties" (as they came to be known) become part of Philadelphia proper.
Officially founded in 1682, Philadelphia experienced prosperity and rapid population growth over the next few decades. The city's geographic location facilitated trade, and Penn's commitment to religious tolerance within his colony proved equally attractive. By 1720, roughly 10,000 people could call themselves Philadelphians. Like Penn himself, most of the early settlers were Quakers, and while their numbers included merchants, far more were artisans. At the start of the eighteenth century they were joined by immigrants from Germany, Ireland and Scotland.2