William penn william penn english quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom who oversaw the founding of the american commonwealth of pennsylvania as a refuge for quakers and other religious minorities of europe. William penn portrait by francis place historical society of pennsylvania english quaker william penn founded pennsylvania in 1681 when king charles ii granted him a charter for over 45000 square miles of land. A history of william penn founded the province of pennsylvania pennsylvania much longer than in the other english colonies penn began construction . The pennsylvania colony was one of the 13 original colonies of what would become the united states of america founded in 1682 by the english quaker william penn
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