The Lenape were the first inhabitants of the lands that are now known as Bucks County, located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. It consists of Piedmontese land surrounded by the cities of Allentown, Pennsylvania. In addition to Delaware, the county is drained by Cooks, Tohickon, Neshaminy and East Branch Perkiomen Streams. Recreational areas include Nockamixon and Galena Lakes and five state parks. The Quakers who settled in Bucks County believed in the equality of all people in the eyes of God.
However, this did not prevent social disparities from emerging, particularly with regards to the plight of enslaved people. Although most settlers employed family members to work on their farms, some owned slaves, including William Penn who held slaves at Pennsbury Manor. After the Pennsylvania legislature passed the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in 1780, slave ownership declined rapidly. The 1790 federal census counted 261 enslaved people in Bucks County; by 1810, only eleven Africans were still enslaved. The early decades of the 20th century saw strong industrial development in Lower Bucks, especially in the shipyards along the Delaware River.
This was due to the cheaper land prices and easy access to Philadelphia and other Atlantic ports. Meanwhile, residents of Central and Upper Bucks complained about having to travel long distances to do business. This led to investment in the Central Bucks campus of Bucks County Community College. Fleeing Africans often stopped at Mount Gilead's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Central Bucks on their way north by wagon or carriage. Upper Bucks was more sparsely populated than other sections of the county during the revolutionary period; however, a group of German farmers attracted national attention by encouraging the so-called French Fries Rebellion in 1798-99. Exceptions to this pattern occurred in Central Bucks urban centers such as Doylestown, Newtown and New Hope where Democrats outperformed Republicans in polls. The first English settlers arrived in lower Bucks County along the Delaware River before moving north to townships such as Newtown, Wrightstown and Buckingham.
In 1830 a canal was built connecting Lower Bucks to Easton and other upstream cities. This allowed factories in Bristol to use Pennsylvania coal to run their machines. George Washington's army (1732-1729) encamped at Central Bucks during their campaign in Trenton. Some older Central Bucks districts reacted to population growth by encouraging developers to build new homes on vacant lots in established neighborhoods - a strategy known as landfill development. In 1837, the Bucks County Anti-Slavery Society held its first meeting which focused primarily on eliminating slavery beyond county borders. Despite the disappearance of heavy industries at the end of the 20th century, Bucks County retained part of its manufacturing sector - although not enough to employ workers who operated milling machines and assembly lines.
Immigrants also contributed to the county's diversity in the late 20th century, particularly in Lower Bucks.