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Connecticut, state, United States
Connecticut (kənĕtˈĭkət), 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
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. Connecticut's counties have lost most of their governmental functions to the state's towns and cities. Democrats dominated state politics from the mid-1930s through 1990, when former Republican Lowell Weicker was elected governor running on the ACP (A Connecticut Party) ticket (1990-94); he was followed by another Republican, John G. Rowland. 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 Academy 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 Windsor. 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 Wethersfield. 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 Pequot 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 Orders, 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 London, Fairfield, and Norwalk, 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 Confederation, 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 Reserve (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 Valley was finally settled. Connecticut was one of the first states to approve the U.S. Constitution (see Constitutional Convention).
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 Convention 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.
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 1994, John G. Rowland, the state's first Republican chief executive in 24 years, was elected. He was reelected twice, but resigned in 2004 as he faced impeachment proceedings over suspected corruption. (Rowland pleaded guilty to a federal charge of corruption in Dec. 2004 and spent 10 months in prison and 4 months under house arrest.) Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell, also a Republican, succeeded Rowland, and she won election to the post in 2006, serving one full term. Since 2010, Democrats have held the governorship, beginning with Dannel Malloy (2010-2018) and his successor, Ned Lamont (2018-). Malloy inherited a large budget deficit, and negotiated large concessions from the government's unions and enacted tax increases, both contributing to his initial low approval ratings; however, he was lauded for his quick response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which helped the state avoid the large scale damage that neighboring New York and New Jersey suffered. Lamont continued Malloy's liberal policies, and also initially suffered low approval ratings, but these improved as he effectively led the state's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
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
Connecticut State Information
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:
- US National Parks
- Urban Parks
- State Parks
- National Wildlife Refuges
- National Scenic Byways
- National Heritage Areas
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.
V. M. GOKHMAN
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
Secretary of State
210 Capitol Ave
Rm 104 Hartford, CT 06106 860-509-6200 fax: 860-509-6209 www.sots.state.ct.us
Connecticut State Library 231 Capitol Ave Hartford, CT 06106 860-757-6510 fax: 860-757-6503 www.cslib.org