View of Philadelphia, Circa 1770


Philadelphia, site of both Continental Congresses, was one of the largest and most advanced cities in America in the 18th century. This print from the 1770s, probably made shortly before the start of the American War of Independence, depicts Philadelphia as a European port city, with substantial buildings along a busy waterfront. The caption at the bottom reads, in German and in French: “Philadelphia, the capital of the North American province of Pennsylvania, which was founded by William Penn (who was granted the entire province by King Charles II of England) in 1682 between two navigable rivers, and which was called Philadelphia so that the city’s inhabitants might live together in brotherly harmony.” Located along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, Philadelphia developed in the colonial period as a major Atlantic port and center of commerce and government. The print is by Balthasar Friedrich Leizelt, an engraver who was active in Augsburg, Germany in the later part of the 18th century.

Last updated: February 12, 2016