William Penn was an English real estate entrepreneur, a philosopher, and a Quaker. In 1681 King Charles II, heavily involved in expanding his empire to the New World, handed over present day Pennsylvania to William Penn to pay off an old debt! It probably sounded like a good deal, but Penn had to accept the pay-off sight unseen – the territory being across the Atlantic Ocean from his home in England. Weeks later Penn sailed to the new country to take a peek at his new asset. The territory was quite wild with ill-defined borders and in the very early stages of having settlers move in.
Penn’s plan was to name the new colony “Sylvania”, which meant Woods, but the King insisted on the name “Pennsylvania.” The humble William Penn, influenced by his Quaker upbringing, was embarrassed by the name and worried that people would think he had named it after himself. But one learns early in life that it doesn’t pay to argue with the King, so the name stood.
Penn brought his religious ideals with him and immediately established his new territory as a Quaker territory. It wasn’t uncommon in those early days that territories identified themselves with one religious offshoot or another, but as populations grew and people began to relocate and build cities, those designations became harder to enforce.