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Connecticut, state, United States


(kənĕt`ĭkət), southernmost of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (N), Rhode Island (E), Long Island Sound (S), and New York (W).

Facts and Figures

Area, 5,009 sq mi (12,973 sq km). Pop. (2010) 3,574,097, a 4.9% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Hartford. Largest city, Bridgeport. Statehood, Jan. 9, 1788 (5th of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). Highest pt., Mt. Frissell, 2,380 ft (726 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Constitution State. Motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet [He Who Transplanted Still Sustains]. State bird, American robin. State flower, mountain laurel. State tree, white oak. Abbr., Conn.; CT


Generally rectangular in shape, Connecticut extends c.90 mi (145 km) from east to west and c.55 mi (90 km) from north to south. The state is divided into two roughly equal sections, usually called the eastern highland and the western highland, which are separated by the Connecticut Valley lowland. The ConnecticutConnecticut,
longest river in New England, 407 mi (655 km) long, rising in the Connecticut Lakes, N N.H., near the Quebec border, and flowing S along the Vt.-N.H. line, then across Mass. and Conn. to enter Long Island Sound at Old Saybrook, Conn.; drains c.
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 River, which flows through only the northern half of this lowland, veers off to the southeast at Middletown in central Connecticut. In the south along Long Island Sound is a low, rolling coastal plain. The western highland, with the Taconic Mts. and the Litchfield Hills, is more rugged than the eastern highland. A few isolated peaks in the west are over 2,000 ft (610 m) high. The Thames and the rivers emptying into it drain the eastern highland, and the Housatonic, with its chief tributary, the Naugatuck, drains the western highland. The Connecticut shore is a popular summer resort area, and the protected waters of Long Island Sound lure boating enthusiasts. BridgeportBridgeport,
city (1990 pop. 141,686), Fairfield co., SW Conn., on Long Island Sound; inc. 1836. Long a chief industrial city in Connecticut, it makes electrical appliances, transportation equipment, clothing, ammunition, metal products, wiring devices, machinery, helicopters,
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 is the largest city, with HartfordHartford,
city (1990 pop. 139,739), state capital, Hartford co., central Conn., on the west bank of the Connecticut River; settled as Newtown 1635–36 on the site of a Dutch trading post (1633; abandoned 1654), inc. 1784.
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, the capital, and New HavenNew Haven,
city (1990 pop. 130,474), New Haven co., S Conn., a port of entry where the Quinnipiac and other small rivers enter Long Island Sound; inc. 1784. Firearms and ammunition, clocks and watches, tools, rubber and paper products, and textiles are among the many
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 next in size.


Though famed for its rural loveliness, Connecticut derives most of its wealth from industry. Textiles, silverware, sewing machines, and clocks and watches are among Connecticut's historic manufactures. The state's principal industries today produce jet engines and parts, electronics and electrical machinery, computer equipment, and helicopters. Much of Connecticut's manufacturing is for the military. Firearms and ammunition, first produced here at the time of the American Revolution, are still made, and Groton is still a center for submarine building. Declines in federal defense spending, however, have adversely affected the state's economy.

Agriculture accounts for only a small share of state income; dairy products, eggs, vegetables, tobacco, mushrooms, and apples are the leading farm items. High-grade broadleaf tobacco, used in making cigar wrappers, has been a specialty of Connecticut agriculture since the 1830s. Largely shade-grown in the Connecticut Valley, it remains a valuable crop. Many varieties of fish, as well as oysters, lobsters, and other shellfish, are caught in Long Island Sound, but the fishing industry is small and has been hampered by pollution of the waters. Stone, sand, and gravel account for most of the limited income derived from mining.

Insurance is important in Connecticut; the Hartford metropolitan area is one of the industry's world centers, with the home offices of many insurance companies. Financial, real estate, and service industries are also of major importance. The Foxwoods gambling casino and resort on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation has since its opening in 1992 become one of the largest employers in the state, and the nearby Mohegan Sun casino has joined it in attracting visitors to SE Connecticut.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Connecticut's state senate has 36 members and its house of representatives has 151; members of both houses are elected for two-year terms. The state executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a term of four years. In 1994, John G. Rowland, the state's first Republican chief executive in 24 years, was elected. He was reelected in 1998 and 2002 but resigned in 2004 as he faced impeachment proceedings over suspected corruption. (Rowland subsequently pleaded guilty to a federal charge of corruption.) Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell, also a Republican, succeeded Rowland, and she won election to the post in 2006. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, was elected governor in 2010 and reelected in 2014. Connecticut's counties have lost most of their governmental functions to the state's towns and cities. Connecticut is represented in the U.S. Congress by five representatives and two senators and has seven electoral votes.

Institutions of higher learning in Connecticut include Yale Univ., at New Haven; Trinity College, at Hartford; Wesleyan Univ., at Middletown; the Univ. of Connecticut, at Storrs; and the United States Coast Guard AcademyUnited States Coast Guard Academy,
at New London, Conn.; for training young men and women to be officers of the U.S. Coast Guard; established 1876, opened 1877 as United States Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction, took its present name in 1915.
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 and Connecticut College, at New London.


Dutch and English Exploration and Settlement

In 1614 the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block sailed through Long Island Sound and explored the Connecticut River. The Dutch built a small fort in 1633 on the site of present-day Hartford, but they abandoned it in 1654 as English settlers moved into the area in increasing numbers.

Edward Winslow of Plymouth Colony was apparently the first English colonist to visit (1632) Connecticut, and in 1633 members of the Plymouth Colony established a trading post on the site of WindsorWindsor
, town (1990 pop. 27,817), Hartford co., N Conn., at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut rivers, just N of Hartford. Settled by Plymouth Colony in 1633, the town was named Dorchester in 1635 and renamed Windsor in 1637.
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. This small Pilgrim enterprise was soon absorbed by Puritan settlers from the Massachusetts Bay Company. These settlers had been attracted to the area by the excellent reports brought back by one of their members, John Oldham, in 1633. Oldham returned to the Connecticut area in 1634 and established still another trading post, which became WethersfieldWethersfield
, town (1990 pop. 25,651), Hartford co., central Conn., on the Connecticut River, adjoining Hartford on the north; settled 1634 by colonists from Watertown, Mass.; inc. 1637.
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. The following year Puritans flocked in great numbers to the Connecticut River Valley.

In 1636, Thomas Hooker and his congregation left Newtown and settled near the Dutch trading post that had been established on the site of Hartford. The PequotPequot
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). The Pequot are of the Eastern Woodlands cultural area (see under Natives, North American).
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 people resisted white settlement, but they were defeated by the English in the short Pequot War of 1637. Relations remained relatively peaceful until King Philip's War in 1675–76. In 1638–39 representatives of the three Connecticut River towns—Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield—met at Hartford and formed the colony of Connecticut. They also adopted the Fundamental OrdersFundamental Orders,
in U.S. history, the basic law of the Connecticut colony from 1639 to 1662, formally adopted (Jan. 14, 1639) by representatives from the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor, meeting at Hartford.
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, which established a government for the colony.

A second colony, Saybrook, had been established at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635 by an English group. The colony's founders (who included Viscount Saye and Sile and Baron Brooke, for whom the colony was named) sold the Saybrook settlement to Connecticut colony in 1644. Connecticut's population expanded gradually, and by 1662 the colony included over a dozen towns, including Saybrook, New LondonNew London,
city (1990 pop. 24,540), New London co., SE Conn., on the Thames River near its mouth on Long Island Sound; laid out 1646 by John Winthrop, inc. 1784. It is a deepwater port of entry, with shipbuilding, high-technology research and engineering, pharmaceutical
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, FairfieldFairfield.

1 City (1990 pop. 12,200), Jefferson co., N central Ala., an industrial suburb of Birmingham; inc. 1919. Founded (1910) by the United States Steel Corp., its steel industry has greatly declined, negatively affecting the city's economy.
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, and NorwalkNorwalk

1 City (1990 pop. 94,279), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; settled in the 1850s, inc. 1957. With the arrival (1875) of the Southern Pacific RR, it became a center for the dairy and logging industries, but Norwalk's main growth occurred with the rapid
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, as well as East Hampton and Southampton on Long Island. Another Puritan settlement, New Haven, was established in 1638. It was not connected with Connecticut colony.

The New England Confederation

In 1643, New Haven and Connecticut colonies joined with Massachusetts Bay colony and Plymouth colony to form the New England ConfederationNew England Confederation,
union for "mutual safety and welfare" formed in 1643 by representatives of the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven.
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, a loose union for mutual defense. In 1662, Connecticut sent its governor, John Winthrop (1606–76), to London to secure a royal charter for the colony. He obtained the charter, by which Connecticut won its legal right to exist as a corporate colony and also acquired New Haven.

The years from 1750 to 1776 saw much bitter disagreement between radicals and conservatives in the colony. In 1776, the patriot governor, Jonathan Trumbull, was reelected almost unanimously (Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only colonies privileged to elect their chief executives), and he was the only governor of any colony to be retained in office after the outbreak of the American Revolution. There was little fighting in Connecticut during the Revolution—skirmishes at Stonington (1775), Danbury (1777), New Haven (1779), and New London (1781)—even though the state was the principal supply area for the Continental Army.

After the war the state relinquished (1786) to the United States its claims to western land, except for the Western ReserveWestern Reserve,
tract of land in NE Ohio, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, retained by Connecticut in 1786 when it ceded its claims to its western lands (see Northwest Territory).
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 (an area in Ohio). This claim was retained until part of the land was given to Connecticut citizens in 1792 and the remainder sold in 1795. In 1799, Connecticut's long dispute with Pennsylvania over the Wyoming ValleyWyoming Valley,
c.20 mi (30 km) long and 3 to 4 mi (4.8–6.4 km) wide, in Luzerne co., NE Pa., through which flows the Susquehanna River. Wilkes-Barre is the major city of this once-rich anthracite coal region.
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 was finally settled. Connecticut was one of the first states to approve the U.S. Constitution (see Constitutional ConventionConstitutional Convention,
in U.S. history, the 1787 meeting in which the Constitution of the United States was drawn up. The Road to the Convention

The government adopted by the Thirteen Colonies in America (see Confederation, Articles of, and Continental
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The Embargo Act of 1807, passed during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, was vehemently denounced throughout New England; the ports on Long Island Sound and on the Connecticut River had developed a lively carrying trade with which the embargo interfered. The War of 1812 was also so unpopular that New England Federalists, meeting at the Hartford ConventionHartford Convention,
Dec. 15, 1814–Jan. 4, 1815, meeting to consider the problems of New England in the War of 1812; held at Hartford, Conn. Prior to the war, New England Federalists (see Federalist party) had opposed the Embargo Act of 1807 and other government measures;
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 in late 1814, considered secession. In 1818 the Jeffersonians came into power in the state, and a new constitution, replacing the old charter of 1662, was adopted. It disestablished the Congregational Church and greatly extended the franchise, although universal manhood suffrage was not proclaimed until 1845.

Early Manufacturing

Meanwhile, after Connecticut's shipping industry had been ruined by the embargo and the war, the state turned to manufacturing. Artisans and craftsmen had become increasingly numerous in late colonial days, and from native iron ore Connecticut forges had produced guns for the Patriot soldiers. Modern mass production had its beginning in the state when Eli Whitney, probably the best known of Connecticut's inventors, established (1798) at New Haven a firearms factory that began making guns with standardized, interchangeable parts. Earlier, in 1793, he had invented and manufactured the cotton gin at New Haven. The manufacture of notions (buttons, pins, needles, metal goods, and clocks) gave rise to the enterprising "Yankee peddler," who, with horse and cart, traveled the nation hawking his wares. Connecticut's insurance industry also developed during this period, and in 1810 the Hartford Fire Insurance Company was established.

Wars and Industrial Expansion

Connecticut, which had placed limitations on slavery in 1784 and abolished it in 1848, supported the Union during the Civil War with nearly 60,000 troops. During and after the war, industry expanded greatly. Immigration provided a cheap labor supply as English, Scottish, and many Irish immigrants, who had arrived in large numbers even before the war, were followed by French Canadians and, in the late 19th and early 20th cent., by Italians, Poles, and others.

During World Wars I and II Connecticut prospered, providing munitions and other supplies for the war effort. Between the two wars, however, the Great Depression left many unemployed. Connecticut's industries continued to grow and develop in the years following World War II. In 1954 the world's first nuclear-powered submarine was launched at Groton, and guns, helicopters, and jet engines were among key manufactures of the cold war period.

During the 1970s, as manufacturing began to decline, Connecticut's heavy industry–dependent major cities fell into a state of decay. The growth of financial, insurance, real estate, and service industries, however, helped make Connecticut one of the wealthiest states in the nation; many of these business moved to the state from New York. This wealth has been enjoyed primarily by the state's affluent suburbs, while the central cities have further crumbled, as evidenced by Bridgeport's bankruptcy filing in 1991. The development of Native-American-owned casinos in SE Connecticut during the 1990s supplanted defense industries as the main economic engine in that region. In 2012 many of the state's coastal communities suffered significant flooding during Hurricane Sandy.


See R. J. Purcell, Connecticut in Transition: 1775–1818 (1963); R. L. Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee (1967); D. M. Roth, ed., Series in Connecticut History (5 vol., 1978); W. J. Haliburton, The People of Connecticut (1985); T. R. Lewis and J. E. Harmon, Connecticut: A Geography (1986); W. Hubbell, Connecticut (1989).

Connecticut, river, United States


longest river in New England, 407 mi (655 km) long, rising in the Connecticut Lakes, N N.H., near the Quebec border, and flowing S along the Vt.-N.H. line, then across Mass. and Conn. to enter Long Island Sound at Old Saybrook, Conn.; drains c.11,000 sq mi (28,500 sq km). Holyoke Falls, at 57 ft (17 m), is the highest of many falls and rapids. The river is navigable to Hartford, Conn. The Connecticut Valley is one of the best agricultural regions in New England. World-famous cigar binder and wrapper tobacco are grown in the lower part of the valley; truck farming and dairying are also important. The Connecticut's water power led to the rise of industrial cities along the river in the 19th cent., and the valley became a manufacturing region; large centers include Holyoke and Springfield, Mass., and Windsor, Conn. Several hydroelectric and nuclear facilities also lie along the river. After severe 1953 floods, the Connecticut River Flood Control Compact was established to sponsor flood-control measures on the river.

Connecticut State Information

Phone: (860) 622-2200

Area (sq mi):: 5543.33 (land 4844.80; water 698.53) Population per square mile: 724.50
Population 2005: 3,510,297 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 3.10%; 1990-2000 3.60% Population 2000: 3,405,565 (White 77.50%; Black or African American 9.10%; Hispanic or Latino 9.40%; Asian 2.40%; Other 6.80%). Foreign born: 10.90%. Median age: 37.40
Income 2000: per capita $28,766; median household $53,935; Population below poverty level: 7.90% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $41,489-$42,972
Unemployment (2004): 4.90% Unemployment change (from 2000): 2.60% Median travel time to work: 24.40 minutes Working outside county of residence: 24.80%

List of Connecticut counties:

  • Fairfield County
  • Hartford County
  • Litchfield County
  • Middlesex County
  • New Haven County
  • New London County
  • Tolland County
  • Windham County
  • Connecticut Parks



    a state in the northeastern USA, in New England. On the south it borders Long Island Sound. Area, 12,900 sq km. Population, 3 million (1970), of which 77.4 percent is urban. The capital and largest city is Hartford. A great portion of the state is occupied by the sloping northern spurs of the Appalachians (elevations to 587 m); in the central part there is the broad valley of the Connecticut River. The shores of Long Island Sound are uneven, forming many convenient harbors. The climate is temperate and maritime, and the weather is unstable.

    Connecticut is an industrial state. Of its economically active population 40 percent is engaged in industry. Various branches of machine building and metalworking employ about two-thirds of the 475,000 people that work in manufacturing (1969), which uses mainly imported raw materials and fuel. The leading branches are electrical engineering and radio electronics and the production of machine tools, equipment, instruments, aircraft engines, helicopters, submarines (including atomic submarines), bearings, and clocks. Other important industries are chemicals, rubber, printing, textiles, haberdashery, and hats.

    Intensive suburban agriculture employs less than 3 percent of the population; its main branches are dairy livestock and poultry raising, which account for three-fifths of the commodity output of agriculture. In 1970 the state had 122,000 head of cattle, of which 74,000 were milch cows. There are tobacco plantations in the valley of the Connecticut River. Southwestern Connecticut borders on New York City and is virtually part of its suburban zone.




    a river in northeastern USA. Length, 552 km; basin area, 29,000 sq km. It rises in lakes in the northern part of the Appalachians, flows south through a deep graben valley, forms the “Falls Line,” and empties into Long Island Sound in the Atlantic Ocean. It is fed by snow and rain and is in high water in April and May. The average water flow at the mouth is 606 cu m per sec. The rapids and waterfalls of the Connecticut River are used by hydroelectric power plants. Bypass canals make the river navigable for small oceangoing ships as far as Hartford and for river vessels as far as Holyoke.


    Fifth state; adopted the U.S. Constitution on January 9, 1788

    State capital: Hartford

    Nickname: The Constitution State

    State motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet (Latin “He Who Trans­planted Still Sustains”)

    State aircraft: Corsair F4U

    State animal: Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

    State bird: American robin (Turdus migratorius)

    State cantata: “The Nutmeg”

    State composer: Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954)

    State fish: American shad

    State flagship: Schooner Amistad

    State flower: Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

    State folk dance: Square dance

    State fossil: Eubrontes giganteus

    State hero: Nathan Hale (1755-1776)

    State heroine: Prudence Crandall (1803-1890)

    State insect: European (praying) mantis (Mantis religiosa)

    State mineral: Garnet

    State shellfish: Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

    State ship: USS Nautilus (first nuclear-powered submarine)

    State song: “Yankee Doodle”

    State tartan: Connecticut State Tartan

    State tree: Charter oak or white oak (Quercus alba)

    More about state symbols at:


    AmerBkDays-2000, p. 41
    AnnivHol-2000, p. 7


    State web site:

    Office of the Governor
    210 Capitol Ave
    Hartford, CT 06106
    fax: 860-524-7395

    Secretary of State
    210 Capitol Ave

    Rm 104 Hartford, CT 06106 860-509-6200 fax: 860-509-6209

    Connecticut State Library 231 Capitol Ave Hartford, CT 06106 860-757-6510 fax: 860-757-6503

    Legal Holidays:

    Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
    Lincoln DayFeb 12
    Washington's BirthdayFeb 21, 2011; Feb 20, 2012; Feb 18, 2013; Feb 17, 2014; Feb 16, 2015; Feb 15, 2016; Feb 20, 2017; Feb 19, 2018; Feb 18, 2019; Feb 17, 2020; Feb 15, 2021; Feb 21, 2022; Feb 20, 2023


    1. a state of the northeastern US, in New England. Capital: Hartford. Pop.: 3 483 372 (2003 est.). Area: 12 973 sq. km (5009 sq. miles).
    2. a river in the northeastern US, rising in N New Hampshire and flowing south to Long Island Sound. Length: 651 km (407 miles)
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