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Philadelphia

History

William Penn made Philadelphia his capital in 1682, basing its plan on a grid with wide streets and public squares – a layout copied by many US cities. For a time the second-largest city in the British Empire (after London), Philadelphia became a center for opposition to British colonial policy. It was the new nation’s capital at the start of the Revolutionary War and again after the war until 1790, when Washington, DC, took over. By the 19th century New York City had superseded Philadelphia as the nation’s cultural, commercial and ­industrial center.