History of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At the point where Monongahela River and Allegheny River meets to form the Ohio River, stands the Pittsburgh region, whose heart is Pittsburgh City.

For centuries, this region has been a strategic point that lures many inhabitants. Pittsburgh is a metropolitan and also the most populated city after Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

About 15 thousand years ago, descendants of Asians are believed to be the first human beings to live in Pittsburgh. Their main economic activities were hunting and gathering, alongside canoe making and fishing. Later, they practiced corn farming and participated in barter trade. The individuals transported their trading goods via footpaths in the forested Pennsylvania, or used canoes to transport them upstream and downstream the rivers to the market places.

In the 1600s, the arrival of Europeans greatly affected the native settlers’ lives in Pittsburgh. The Europeans introduced European diseases in the region and the original inhabitants had no resistance against them. The Europeans also introduced the fur trade, which depleted the game supply, hampering hunting as a major economic activity for the natives. As a result, this might have consumed the population of the native inhabitants.

The British and the French realized that the forks of Ohio was a strategic place for meeting and trading in furs with Indian traders. Having claimed the Louisiana Territory, the French also saw that the only option that they could use to connect with the New France (Canada) was by using the Valley of Ohio River. The two European powers, therefore, had special interests in Pittsburgh.

In the year 1755 Colonel George Washington, who was sent on a mission to survey for the British, observed that the region was well positioned for a fort. This is because it had a command of the three rivers. A group of British men were sent to build a fort called Fort Prince George in Pittsburgh. Having common interests, French troops invaded the region, outnumbered the British and easily captured it. The French then built a bigger fort called Fort Duquesne at the same point. This happened without any bloodshed.

Three years later, a treaty was agreed upon and signed in the Europe to end French and the Indian war. The French razed down the fort that they had built in Pittsburgh and vacated. This left a vacancy and the English reclaimed back the control over the region in the year 1758. The English then resolved to build a very large fort, which they named ‘Fort Pitt’ as an honor to their Prime Minister at that time, William Pitt. Fort Pitt was excellently designed and became the most elaborate and largest fort in all the colonies that existed at that particular time.

Nucleated settlements accumulated around Fort Pitt and yielded a village first known as “Pittsborough.” Over time, this village grew and today, it is what we see as the Pittsburgh City.

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