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The Eastern Pennsylvania region takes in the easternmost third of the state, minus the metropolitan Philadelphia area. It varies greatly in character, from the quiet pastoral landscapes in the southern part (which includes a large portion of the famed "Pennsylvania Dutch" country), to the industrial cities of Allentown, Scranton, and Wilkes-Barre farther north.

The Pennsylvania Dutch area is a rolling, wooded landscape, highly fertile and watered by the Susquehanna River. It has long been famed for the produce of its farms, and especially noted for the Amish folk who settled here originally in the 18th century. Many of the early immigrants and their families never adopted English; and their cultural isolation was a decisive factor in keeping the region essentially agricultural and rural. Today, it is becoming steadily more popular with affluent ex-urbanites from the adjacent Philadelphia region, and it has long been popular with tourists.

To the north, the higher proportion of English speakers assured that when industrialization came, it would come here rather than in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. And it came with a vengeance: coal and steel production made Pennsylvania an economic powerhouse in the 19th and 20th centuries. Allentown and the surrounding Lehigh Valley make up the third-largest population center in Pennsylvania; and although Bethlehem Steel, once one of the largest producers in the world, closed down in 2003, the area is still home to smaller industries ranging from Crayola to Olympus and Mack Trucks.

Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, in the northern tier of the region, were once dominated by steel production and especially coal mining; but the steel companies moved and the mines played out, and the region became more famed as part of the "Rust Belt." But the cities endure, and have turned more to tourism as an important part of their economy, helped by their proximity to the Poconos to the east.



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