Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

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Lancaster County, known as the Garden Spot of America or Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is a county located in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the United States.[1] With an estimated 2005 population of 490,562, Lancaster County forms the Lancaster Metropolitan Statistical Area, the 99th largest of 361 MSAs in the U.S.[2] The city of Lancaster[3] is the county seat.

Locally, Lancaster is pronounced /ˈlæŋkɨstər/ LANK-ist-ər, like the city in England for which it was named.[4]

Lancaster County is a popular tourist destination, due mostly to the many plain sect residents, known as the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch.[5] The term 'Pennsylvania Dutch' comes from the earlier use of "Dutch" to apply to all immigrants from Europe speaking German.[citation needed] They are the descendants of Germans ("Deutsch") who immigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries for the freedom of religion offered by William Penn,[6] and were attracted by the rich soil and mild climate of the area.[7] Freedom from poverty and political uncertainty also was a major factor. Also attracted to promises of religious freedom, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution with significant numbers of English, Welsh and Scotch-Irish [8] settled this area in 1710.[9]


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