Erie, Pennsylvania, the seat of Erie County. It is on Lake Erie, in the northwestern part of the state, 80 miles (129 km) southwest of Buffalo, New York. Erie is the state's only Great Lakes port. Presque Isle Peninsula protects the harbor. Erie is an important manufacturing and commercial city. Mercyhurst and Behrend colleges and Gannon University are in Erie.
The French built Fort Presque Isle here in 1753 but abandoned it, and the English took it over in 1760. Pontiac's Indians drove them out in 1763. The United States acquired the area in 1785 and sold it to Pennsylvania in 1792. Erie was laid out in 1795. It became the seat of Erie County in 1803. Most of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet in the War of 1812 was built here. Perry's headquarters is marked by a state park. The city was incorporated in 1851. Erie was a stop on the Underground Railway, an escape route for Southern slaves. The city has the mayor-council form of government.