Lancaster County locally sometimes nicknamed the Garden Spot of America or Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is a county located in the south central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 519,445. Its county seat is Lancaster. Lancaster County comprises the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The County of Lancaster is a popular tourist destination, with its Amish community a major attraction. The "Dutch" of Pennsylvania Dutch is the English form of Düütsch, the Low German cognate of Standard German Deutsch and Pennsylvania Dutch Deitsch. (Historically, the terms "German" and "Dutch" were used interchangeably to describe all of the Germanic peoples living within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.) The ancestors of the Amish began to immigrate to colonial Pennsylvania in the early 18th century to take advantage of the religious freedom offered by William Penn. They were also attracted by the area's rich soil and mild climate. Also attracted to promises of religious freedom, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled this area in 1710. There were also significant numbers of English, Welsh and Ulster Scots (also known as the Scotch-Irish in the colonies).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 984 square miles (2,550 km²), of which 944 square miles (2,440 km²) is land and 40 square miles (100 km²) (4.1%) is water.
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