penn, william

Cultural Dictionary

Penn, William definition


A colonist of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; the founder of Pennsylvania. Penn, the son of a British admiral, became a Quaker as a young man. The British government repaid a debt to Penn by giving him title to what is now Pennsylvania, where he established a colony with broad religious toleration. Many Quakers, who were persecuted in England, settled in Pennsylvania. Penn was known for his friendly relations with the Native American tribes in his colony.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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