Chester is a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. With a population of 33,972 at the 2010 census it is the largest city in Delaware County. Incorporated in 1682, Chester is the oldest city in Pennsylvania and is located on the western bank of the Delaware River between the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.
The Indian tribe that owned the land where Chester now stands were the Okehockings, removed by order of William Penn in 1702 to other lands in Chester County. The original Indian name of Chester was Mecoponaca.
The first European settlers in the area were members of the New Sweden colony. The settlement that became Chester was first called "Finlandia" (the Latin name for Finland) and then "Upland" after the Swedish province of Uppland. The New Sweden settlers built Fort Mecoponacka in 1641 to defend the settlement.
In 1644, the present site of Chester was a tobacco plantation operated by the New Sweden colonists.
By 1682, Upland was the most populous town of the new Province of Pennsylvania. On October 27, the ship Welcome arrived bearing William Penn on his first visit to the province. Penn renamed the settlement after the English city of Chester.
Chester County originally stretched from the Delaware River to the Susquehanna River from its founding in 1682 until 1729 when Lancaster County was formed from the western part. Chester served as the county seat for Chester County from 1682 to 1788.