(prior to 1681)
When first discovered by Europeans, Pennsylvania, like the rest of the continent, was inhabited by groups of Native Americans living a simple life. Tools, weapons and household equipment were made from stone, wood, and bark. Transportation was on foot or by canoe. Houses were made of bark, clothing from the skins of animals. Tribes included the Delawares, the Susquehannocks, the Shawnees and the Iroquois Confederacy (Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas).
The rise of nation-states in Europe brought a desire for territorial gains beyond the seas, first by Spain and Portugal and later by England, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Wars in southern Germany caused many Germans to migrate eventually to Pennsylvania. The struggle in England between the Crown and Parliament also had a pronounced effect on migration to America. The Reformation led to religious problems, and minorities of various faiths sought refuge in America. Such an impulse brought Quakers, Puritans, and Catholics from England, German Pietists from the Rhineland, Scotch Calvinists via Ireland, and Huguenots from France. Also, great economic changes took place in Europe in the 17th century. The old manorial system was breaking down, creating a large class of landless men ready to seek new homes. An increase in commerce and trade led to an accumulation of capital available for colonial ventures.
The English based their claims in North America on the discoveries of the Cabots (1497), while the French pointed to the voyage of Verrazano in 1524. The Spanish claim was founded on Columbus' discovery of the West Indies, but there is evidence that Spanish ships sailed up the coast of North America as early as 1520. It is uncertain, however, that any of these explorers touched land that became Pennsylvania. Captain John Smith journeyed from Virginia up the Susquehanna River in 1608, visiting the Susquehannock Indians. In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the Dutch service, sailed the Half Moon into Delaware Bay, thus giving the Dutch a claim to the area. In 1610, Captain Samuel Argall of Virginia visited the bay and named it for Lord de la Warr, governor of Virginia. After Hudson's time, the Dutch navigators Cornelis Hendricksenm (1616) and Cornelis Jacobsen (1623) explored the Delaware region more thoroughly, and trading posts were established in 1623 and in later years, though not on Pennsylvania soil until 1647. The Swedes were the first to make permanent settlement, beginning with the expedition of 1637-1638, which occupied the site of Wilmington, Delaware. In 1643, Governor Johan Printz of New Sweden established his capital at Tinicum Island within the present limits of Pennsylvania, where there is now a state park bearing his name. In the mid 1600s, trouble broke out between the Swedes and the Dutch, who had trading posts in the region. English laws and civil government were introduced by The Duke of Yorke's Laws in 1676.