Palmyra is a borough in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is part of the Lebanon, PennsylvaniaMetropolitan statistical area. The population was 7,096 at the 2000 census.
The land on which Palmyra rests was originally home to the Lenape and Susquehannock tribes. The first European explorers and traders came to the region around 1650. Settlers were drawn to the area because of its rich land and abundance of fish and game. Additionally, being part of William Penn’s colony, his charter providing civil rights and religious freedom also attracted settlers to the area.In the beginning of its colonization, many of Pennsylvania’s settlers occupied the land not through acquiring the legal rights, but by building on any unclaimed land they found, or squatting. The squatters came to the Palmyra area between 1717 and 1740. Because the squatters had no official documents stating when they came to the land, it is difficult to precisely trace family migrations to and from the area. Of the first Scotch-Irish settlers in the Palmyra area, the surnames of Aspey, Campbell, Caruthers, Ewing, Galbraith, McCallen, McClure, McCord, Mitchell, Sawyer, Walker and Wilson are recorded.Of the first German settlers in the Palmyra area, the surnames of Bindnagle, Bowman, Carmany, Deininger, Early, Forney, Gingrich, Hemperly, Hetrick, Kettering, Killinger, Naftzger, Nye, Ober, Ricker, and Zimmerman are recorded.The settlement’s Post Office was established on April 1, 1804. The name of the town submitted to the Postal Service was “Palmstown”, in honor of Johannes Palm. Yet in 1806, there are records of a tract of land located on both sides of Main Street purchased by John Kean with the settlement being referred to as “Palmyra”, most likely referencing the Roman outpost of Palmyra in Syria. Although both names were used for a time, the popularity of “Palmyra” had spread and became the official name of the settlement by 1810.