Berks, a S. E. county of Pennsylvania, intersected by Schuylkill river, and drained by Tulpehocken, Maiden, Manatawny, and Little Swatara creeks; area, 920 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 106,701. On its N. W. boundary is the Kitta-tinny range or Blue mountains; another chain, called here South mountain, but known in Virginia as the Blue Ridge, traverses the S. E. central part; and between these two ranges lies the extensive and fertile Kittatinny valley, comprising the greater part of the county. The soil here is of limestone formation, and is carefully cultivated. There are rich iron mines, in which copper is found in small quantities. The Schuylkill and Union canals, the Philadelphia and Reading, the Reading and Columbia, the Lebanon Valley, the East Pennsylvania, and several branch railroads, pass through the county. Berks was settled by Germans in 1734, and German is still commonly spoken. The chief productions in 1870 were 930,653 bushels of wheat, 281,867 of rye, 1,267,194 of Indian corn, 1,425,157 of oats, 400,846 of potatoes, 114,651 tons of hay, and 2,658,031 lbs. of butter. There were 16,783 horses, 32,112 milch cows, 19,215 other cattle, 56,110 sheep, and 37,553 swine.

Capital, Reading.