Connecticut State History
The Dutch navigator, Adriaen Block, was the first European of record to explore the area, sailing up the Connecticut River in 1614. In 1633, Dutch colonists built a fort and trading post near present-day Hartford but soon lost control to English Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. English settlements established in the 1630s at Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford united in 1639 to form the Connecticut Colony under the Fundamental Orders, the first modern constitution.
Connecticut played a prominent role in the Revolutionary War, serving as the Continental Army's major supplier. Sometimes called the “Arsenal of the Nation,” the state became one of the most industrialized in the nation.
Today, Connecticut factories produce weapons, sewing machines, jet engines, helicopters, motors, hardware and tools, cutlery, clocks, locks, silverware, and submarines. Hartford has the oldest U.S. newspaper still being published—the Hartford Courant, established 1764—and is the insurance capital of the nation.
Connecticut leads New England in the production of eggs, pears, peaches, and mushrooms, and its oyster crop is the nation's second largest. Poultry and dairy products also account for a large portion of farm income.
Connecticut is a popular resort area with its 250-mile Long Island Sound shoreline and many inland lakes. Among the major points of interest are Yale University's Gallery of Fine Arts and Peabody Museum. Other famous museums include the P. T. Barnum, Winchester Gun, and American Clock and Watch. The town of Mystic features a re-created 19th-century New England seaport and the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium.
Famous Connecticut natives and residents:
- Ethan Allen American Revolutionary soldier;
- Benedict Arnold American Revolutionary general;
- P. T. Barnum showman;
- Henry Ward Beecher clergyman;
- Charles Goodyear inventor;
- Nathan Hale American Revolutionary officer;
- Dorothy Hamill ice skater;
- Katharine Hepburn actress;
- Charles Ives composer;
- Edwin H. Land inventor;
- Annie Liebovitz photographer;
- Frederick Law Olmsted landscape designer;
- Meg Ryan actress;
- Benjamin Spock pediatrician;
- Harriet Beecher Stowe author;
- Mark Twain author;
- Noah Webster lexicographer.