geographical name

City (pop., 2000: metro area, 71,329), eastern Pennsylvania, U.S. With Allentown and Easton it forms an urban industrial complex. Founded in 1741 by Moravian missionaries, it was the site of a hospital for Continental soldiers during the American Revolution. Industrialization began with the opening of the Lehigh Canal (1829) and the founding of the forerunner of the Bethlehem Steel Corp. (1857); the city became a major steel-producing centre. Its economy has since diversified to include textiles, metal products, furniture, and chemicals.

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