Which of the 13 Colonies Was Created to Repay a Debt?

The colony of Pennsylvania was created to repay a debt owed by the British crown to the father of William Penn.
The colony of Pennsylvania was created to repay a debt owed by the British crown to the father of William Penn.

Accruing debt can be costly, but it usually doesn't take creating an entire U.S. state to pay it off. This happened in 1681, though when England's King Charles II granted a huge expanse of land west of the Delaware River to William Penn, the son of British Admiral Sir William Penn. The grant was meant to pay back England's debt to the senior Penn, who had used his personal wealth to rebuild and feed the Royal Navy.

As students of American history will know, the younger Penn came up with the idea to turn the land into a colony that would incorporate his beliefs about religious tolerance and a fairer justice system. Although the king granted the land, he denied William Penn the names he wanted: either New Wales or Sylvania. Instead, Charles II insisted that the place be called Pennsylvania, in honor of Admiral Penn.

Inside Pennsylvania:

  • America's first baseball stadium opened in Pittsburgh in 1909.

  • In 1784, the country's first daily newspaper was published in Philadelphia.

  • The first public zoo in the United States was opened in Philadelphia in 1874.

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    • The colony of Pennsylvania was created to repay a debt owed by the British crown to the father of William Penn.
      The colony of Pennsylvania was created to repay a debt owed by the British crown to the father of William Penn.