How Philadelphia Got It's Name

December 27, 2019

How Philadelphia Got It's Name

In 1681, Charles II of England bestowed a charter upon William Penn as part of debt repayment, and that charter included the land that would become the Pennsylvania Colony. However, Penn wanted to remain on good terms with the Lenape tribe that had originally settled on the land, and so he put the charter aside and purchased it directly from the Lenape people. After making a friendship treaty with a Lenape chief named Tammany, in what is now Philadelphia’s Fishtown (and was called Shackamaxon at the time), Penn named the city “Philadelphia,” which means “brotherly love” in Greek. With philos, meaning “love” or “friendship,” and adelphos, meaning “brother,” it’s easy to see how Penn settled on the name.




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