"C O N N E C T I C U T" Connecticut by S_J_Miller
Connecticut Travel Guide: 1,570 reviews and 4,279 photos
<b>The above picture is of the Foxwoods Casino on the Indian Reservation in Ledyard, CT.
If you read the history below you will understand the significance of this picture.
Other area's of Connecticut that I have traveled to will be published under their own city or towns name.
This page is dedicated to the intense history of Connecticut. To some this may seem like a boring page, to others it may not. I feel all places have a history and should be told. I find it fascinating to read up on the history of places I am going to travel to. It affords me with a greater appreciation of where i'm about to go. I truly hope you bear with me here.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Connecticut
was the home of a number of different Native American
groups, all of whom spoke related Algonquian languages.
Archaeological sites indicate these people lived
largely by hunting deer, catching fish and shellfish,
and growing corn, beans, and squash. They migrated from
forest to coastal areas to take advantage of seasonal
resources. The total native population is estimated at
about 7,000 people in the early 1600s, after an
epidemic that decimated Native Americans throughout New
Most powerful among the Connecticut people
were the Pequot, who lived in the east and along the
shore of Long Island Sound, an area they had conquered
from other native groups at the end of the 1500s.
Early in the 1600s, a number of Pequots split off from
the main group. Led by a chief named Uncas, they called
themselves Mohegan, and controlled an area near the
Other native groups were the Nipmuc
in the northeastern sections of Connecticut; the
Niantic along the eastern coast; and the Hammonasset,
Quinnipiac, Paugussett, Siwanoy, Podunk, Poquonock,
Massacoe, and Tunxi in the central and western sections.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in
Connecticut. In 1614 the Dutch mariner Adriaen
Block explored the southern shore of Long Island
Sound and sailed up the Connecticut River,
possibly as far as the Enfield rapids, north of
present-day Hartford. Later the Dutch acquired
land at the mouth of the Connecticut River and
carried on a prosperous trade in furs with the
Early in the 1630s, the fertile river valley
began to attract the attention of English
settlers from the Plymouth and Massachusetts
Bay colonies in Massachusetts. In 1633
colonists from Plymouth built a trading
post and stockade near the site of
present-day Windsor. That same year the
Dutch, anxious to protect their claim
to the region, erected their first and
only fort in Connecticut, at Hartford.
In 1634 and 1635 colonists from Massachusetts
Bay founded the towns that formed the core of
the Connecticut colony. English trader John
Oldham brought a large party from Watertown
to settle at Wethersfield. John Winthrop the
younger, son of the Massachusetts governor,
established Saybrook at the mouth of the
Connecticut River. Named after Lord Saye and
Sele and Lord Brooke, two of the colony's
founders, it is part of the present-day
towns of Deep River and Old Saybrook.
Roger Ludlow led colonists from Dorchester,
Massachusetts, to establish their own
settlement at Windsor. The largest migration
occurred in 1636, when a well-known minister,
Thomas Hooker, led about 100 colonists from
Newtown (now Cambridge, Massachusetts) to
settle at Hartford. Within a few years the
English-speaking colonists in Windsor,
Wethersfield, Saybrook, and Hartford
greatly outnumbered the Dutch.
Most of the Native Americans were generally
friendly to the colonists. Some native groups
invited the English to settle nearby, hoping
for trade and for allies against the aggressive
Pequots, who dominated the area. Settlers
purchased land from the native people, and
though whites often encroached on native territory,
disputes were usually settled without violence.
The exception to these friendly relations was friction
between the Pequots and settlers, which soon escalated
into New England's first major war, the Pequot War of
1637. The causes of the war are unclear, but it involved
a series of killings, raids and reprisals on both sides.
In May 1637 Connecticut declared war on the Pequots.
With the help of both the Mohegan and the Narragansett
to the east, the colonists launched a surprise attack
on a Pequot village at Mystic River. They set the village
on fire and killed Pequot inhabitants as they fled the
flames. Hundreds of native villagers died, including many
women and children, and most of the remaining Pequots were
killed or captured. The few who survived were scattered
throughout New England or sold into slavery, and the
Pequot all but disappeared.
In 1638 and 1639, representatives of Hartford, Windsor,
and Wethersfield, the three principal settlements in
the Connecticut River valley, met at Hartford to
discuss plans to unite the settlements into a
single colony. On January 14, 1639, the colony of
Connecticut was formed, and the colonists formally
adopted a basic set of laws known as the Fundamental
Orders. That document, said to be the first written
constitution in history, was a milestone in early American
constitutional history. Framed by Hooker, Ludlow, John Haynes,
and others, the laws provided for a self-governing colony
whose inhabitants were to owe their allegiance to the
colony rather than to England. Two general assemblies,
one legislative and the other judicial, were set up,
and representatives were chosen from each town.
Haynes, former governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,
was chosen as the first governor of the Connecticut colony.
Meanwhile, in 1638, merchant Theophilus Eaton and Puritan
minister John Davenport established a trading colony on the
former Pequot lands near the site of present-day New Haven.
First called Quinnipiac, it was renamed New Haven in 1640.
Later settlements at Milford, Stamford, Guilford, Branford,
and Southold (on Long Island) joined New Haven to form the
New Haven colony. The laws adopted by the New Haven colony
were less liberal than the Fundamental Orders of the Connecticut
colony. Only members of the Puritan church could vote, and strict
laws regulated the religious and moral life of the colonists.
The two colonies remained separate except for a brief period in
1643, when New Haven and Connecticut joined with the Massachusetts
Bay and Plymouth colonies in a mutual defense pact called the
New England Confederation. Both colonies in Connecticut acquired
additional settlements, and in 1644 the Connecticut colony purchased
the Saybrook colony.
The colonies were never self-sufficient economic units, and engaged
in trade from the beginning. The colonists raised grain, especially
corn, vegetables, and other crops for their own use, and also kept
a few animals. The land in the Connecticut River valley was especially
productive and soon provided the colonists with surplus crops and
livestock to trade with other settlements on the eastern seaboard.
The forests provided wood for fuel and construction, as well as furs,
trapped and traded by the Native Americans.
Until 1662 the colonies of Connecticut and New Haven were not
recognized in England as legally established colonies. A deed,
known as the Warwick Patent, had been given to the founders of
Saybrook by the earl of Warwick in 1632, and it was presumably
transferred to Connecticut when that colony purchased Saybrook.
However, the legality of the grant was questionable. John Winthrop
the younger, who had been elected governor of the Connecticut
colony in 1657, sailed to England in 1661, and the following year
he secured a royal charter from King Charles II. As set forth in
the charter, the boundaries of the Connecticut colony extended
from Massachusetts south to Long Island Sound and from
Narragansett Bay west to the Pacific Ocean. The charter thus
ignored the separate existence of New Haven. The New Haven
colonists protested their incorporation into Connecticut. However,
they agreed to the merger in 1664 in response to the possibility
that New Haven, a Puritan colony, might be included in the area
granted to the Duke of York; the Church of England was the official
religion in that area. Early in 1665 the two Puritan colonies of
New Haven and Connecticut were formally merged.
Under the royal charter of 1662, Connecticut retained much of its
previous autonomy. The charter incorporated the essential features
of the Fundamental Orders, and local government was conducted as
before with little interference from the English crown or from
Parliament. However, after Charles II died, his successor, James II,
attempted to consolidate New England under the administration of
Sir Edmund Andros. When Andros arrived in Hartford in 1687 to demand
the surrender of Connecticut's charter, the document mysteriously
disappeared. According to tradition it was hidden by the colonists
in the hollow of a large oak tree that came to be known as the
Charter Oak. Although Andros failed to secure the charter, he
ruled Connecticut as a part of New England until 1688, when
James II was overthrown. In 1689 Andros was arrested, and colonial
self-government was reinstated.
As in the rest of New England, religious matters played a major role
in the Puritan society of colonial Connecticut. Although membership
in the Congregational Church was not a requirement to vote, all
residents were taxed to support the church. By the end of the 17th
century, religious disputes among Puritans over church government and
congregational autonomy threatened the unity of the colony. To settle
the dispute, the legislature summoned delegates to a religious convention
at Saybrook in 1708. A compromise solution known as the Saybrook Platform
was adopted. It established a single confession of faith, or set of
beliefs, as the official religion of the colony, but gave individual
congregations substantial autonomy in other matters.
Connecticut suffered little damage in King Philip's War (1675-1676), the
last major resistance by Native Americans to white settlement of southern
New England. Most of Connecticut's tribes remained neutral or aided the
colonists when the Wampanoag chief Philip led an alliance of native peoples
against the Massachusetts colonies in retaliation for encroachments on
native lands. Connecticut troops joined in attacks on the Narragansett in
neighboring Rhode Island, killing hundreds when the neutral Narragansett
refused to give up Wampanoag refugees.
From the late 1680s until 1763, as Great Britain and France fought for
control of North America, Connecticut supplied troops and money but faced
little direct threat from the French and their Native American allies.
The citizens of Connecticut took an active part in the events leading up
to the American Revolution (1775-1783). In 1765 the colony sent delegates
to the intercolonial assembly that met in New York City to demand that
Parliament repeal the Stamp Act, which required all legal documents,
newspapers, and pamphlets to carry a British tax stamp. The colony was
also represented at the first Continental Congress in 1774. Two years
later, Connecticut legislator and judge Roger Sherman helped draft the
Declaration of Independence. Sherman and the other Connecticut
delegates, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott,
signed the declaration on behalf of the colony, an action endorsed
by the vast majority of the colonists, including Governor Jonathan
Trumbull. Reelected annually from 1769 to 1784, Trumbull was the
only colonial governor to be retained in office after the outbreak
of the revolution.
Except for isolated skirmishes with British troops at Stonington,
Danbury, New Haven, and New London, little fighting occurred on
Connecticut soil. But Connecticut troops contributed
disproportionately to the American cause, and participated in almost
every major battle of the revolution. Ethan Allen, Israel Putnam,
and Nathan Hale, three heroes of the revolution, were originally
from Connecticut, as was Benedict Arnold, the war hero turned traitor,
who joined the British in 1779. During the war Connecticut became known
as the Provisions State because it supplied food, arms, and ammunition
to the Continental Army.
<b>After the Revolution</b>
Connecticut was one of the original 13 states of the United States.
Sherman, Oliver Ellsworth, and William Samuel Johnson served as
Connecticut's delegates to the Constitutional Convention, which
met in Philadelphia in 1787. When the states became deadlocked
on the issue of national representation in Congress, Connecticut's
delegation introduced a plan that came to be known as the Connecticut,
or Great, Compromise. It established the present form of the Congress
of the United States: a lower house in which the states are represented
on the basis of population and an upper house in which they are
represented equally. On January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth
state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
In 1786 Connecticut ceded to the U.S. government most of the western
territory that it held, at least on paper, under the charter of 1662.
The state retained only the Western Reserve, a strip of land on the
south shore of Lake Erie in what is now Ohio. In 1792 part of the
Western Reserve was given to Connecticut citizens as compensation for
buildings burned by British raiding parties during the revolution.
The remainder was sold in 1795 for $1.2 million, with the proceeds
set aside for education.
In 1790 Connecticut had a total population of 237,946, or about 6
percent of the total population of the United States at that time.
The state grew slowly in the next few decades, partly because many
Connecticut residents emigrated to areas being settled in northern
New England, New York, and Ohio.
<b>Connecticut and Early U.S. Politics</b>
At the beginning of the 19th century, Connecticut was a politically
conservative state and a stronghold of the Federalist Party, which
was led by wealthy commercial interests and sought a stronger
central government. Connecticut strongly opposed the election of
Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800 because Jefferson led the
Republican forces opposing the Federalists and advocating
individual and states' rights.
Connecticut and the rest of New
England had developed a prosperous maritime trade by 1800.
But trade declined sharply after Jefferson initiated the
Embargo Act of 1807, which prohibited U.S. vessels from
trading with European nations. The law was an attempt to get
France and Britain, which were at war, to respect U.S.
neutrality, but it succeeded only in causing economic
hardship and widespread discontent among Americans,
especially among merchants and sailors in places
such as Connecticut. When the United States and Britain
went to war over neutrality issues in the War of 1812,
Connecticut refused to furnish troops for national service.
At the Hartford Convention in 1814, Connecticut Federalists
and delegates from other New England states secretly
discussed their common grievances against the federal
government. Rumors spread that the states were considering
seceding from the Union. The war ended soon after the
convention, and no secession action was taken, but the
Federalist Party was generally discredited and lost
control of Connecticut.
In 1816 the Republicans in Connecticut united with
religious minorities, especially Baptists and Anglicans,
to challenge the influence of the Congregational Church
and seek reform. They formed the Toleration Party, whose
candidate, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., was elected governor in
1817. The next year a new constitution was adopted to
replace the charter of 1662. Under the 1818 constitution,
church and state were separated for the first time in
Connecticut, with all religions given equal status. In
addition, the power of the governor was expanded, courts
were made more independent by giving judges lifetime
appointments, and voting laws were made more liberal.
<b>Development of Industry</b>
Manufacturing had flourished on a small scale in
Connecticut since early colonial times. It became
increasingly important after Congress passed the Revenue Act
in 1792, which authorized high tariffs on imported manufactured
goods and encouraged the development of industry in the United
States. In 1788 the first woolen mills in New England were established
at Hartford, and soon after, cotton mills were built in Manchester,
Vernon, Pomfret, and Jewett City. Inventor Eli Whitney began
manufacturing his cotton gins, which revolutionized the economy of the
South, at New Haven in 1793. In 1798 he helped develop the modern
system of mass production, using interchangeable parts to
manufacture firearms at Hamden, near New Haven. Inventor Eli
Terry began producing machine-made clocks in the 1790s at
Plymouth. In 1839 Charles Goodyear of Naugatuck discovered a
process called vulcanization that made natural rubber stronger,
more elastic and resistant to temperature change a discovery
that revolutionized the rubber goods industry.
When foreign trade was cut off during the War of 1812, many
New England shippers and traders invested their idle capital
in manufacturing. Yankee peddlers developed a market for
Connecticut products. They traveled as far as the South and
Midwest selling buttons, pins, needles, hats, combs, tinware,
brassware, clocks, rifles, tableware, and other items.
Railroads and canals encouraged large-scale industry.
The Civil War (1861-1865), with its heavy demand for
weapons, munitions and textiles, further stimulated the
state's industrial output. Thousands of European immigrants
arrived, providing relatively inexpensive labor for
Connecticut's factories and mills. By the end of the 19th
century, Connecticut was predominantly industrial and famous
for a variety of products: Colt and Winchester firearms,
International silverware, Seth Thomas clocks, Hitchcock chairs,
Stanley tools, Royal typewriters, Scovill brass, and a wide
range of precision metal goods.
Beginning in 1784, Connecticut had gradually abolished
slavery, and during the Civil War, Connecticut strongly
supported the Union. The Republican Party, which began
as an antislavery party, dominated state politics from
the end of the war until 1930.
By the first decades of the 20th century, Connecticut was
becoming primarily an urban, immigrant state, while the
system for electing legislators still gave rural areas
more power than city dwellers. Once overwhelmingly
Protestant, the population was swelled by newcomers from
Ireland, Italy, as well as from Poland and other Eastern
European countries, who made Roman Catholicism the largest
religious denomination. A number of Jewish immigrants also
settled in Connecticut. By 1910 about 30 percent of the
population was foreign-born.
As with the Civil War, World War I (1914-1918) stimulated
Connecticut industry, especially in munitions. After the war
ended the state remained prosperous until the Great Depression,
the economic hard times of the 1930s. Important industries
were machine tools, consumer goods, and financial services
especially insurance, which was centered in Hartford. During
the Depression rising unemployment, coupled with alienation
from the Republican business establishment, brought Democrats
into power. Led by a Yale University professor of English,
Governor Wilbur L. Cross (1931-1939), the state introduced
public works programs to provide jobs and passed laws to
establish a minimum wage, unemployment compensation, and
protection against job discrimination. Democrats also
improved state colleges, hospitals, and prisons, and
tightened regulation of business.
In 1938, however, a municipal corruption scandal helped the
Republican Party return to power, with the election of Governor
Raymond E. Baldwin. Since that time, Connecticut has remained a
competitive, two-party state.
World War II (1939-1945) restored Connecticut prosperity as new
military products, such as Pratt and Whitney airplane engines,
Hamilton Standard propellers, Cheney silk parachutes, and
Electric Boat submarines, joined old ones such as ships,
artillery, guns, munitions, and uniforms. When the war
ended, these high-wage union jobs were cut back, but production
increased again during the Cold War, the diplomatic and economic
struggle between the United States and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics (USSR) that followed World War II.
Connecticut became the first producer of nuclear-powered submarines
and a major supplier of Sikorsky military helicopters. By 1960
Connecticut was one of the nation's richest states, based on
income per person.
From the 1950s through the 1980s Connecticut thrived,
except for short downturns during national recessions. Many
major corporations, such as General Electric, American Brands,
and Union Carbide, moved their headquarters to the state's
southwest corner near New York City. The economic boom,
fueled by defense spending and financial services industries,
made Connecticut a mostly middle-class, suburban state, with
scattered, undeveloped rural pockets located away from its
cities and interstate highways.
However, Connecticut's growing population of blacks
and Hispanics did not share in the prosperity. As
whites left for the suburbs, Connecticut's cities
became increasingly poor and segregated. In the 1960s,
militant black and student activists pushed for
reforms, as the state made efforts to rebuild urban
neighborhoods and desegregate school systems. Race
riots occurred in major cities during the summers
from 1967 to 1969.
A 1964 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United
States forced Connecticut to reapportion its
legislature and adopt a new constitution to comply
with the principle of "one person, one vote". This
constitution finally broke the dominance of the
legislature by more rural areas at the expense of
In 1974 Ella T. Grasso was elected governor of
Connecticut, becoming the state's first female
chief executive and the first woman in the United
States elected governor in her own right, rather
than as succeeding her husband.
At the end of the 1980s, cutbacks in defense spending,
coupled with major changes in American business and a
national recession, put an end to Connecticut's 50-year
economic boom. In the first half of the 1990s
Connecticut lost population, as young people left in
search of jobs and retirees moved to warmer climates
where taxes were lower. The state lost more than
125,000 manufacturing jobs; the famous Colt firearms
company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and
defense-related companies such as United Technologies
and the Electric Boat Shipyard laid off thousands of
workers. To balance the budget, the state was forced
to impose a tax on earned income for the first time in
However, the 1990s saw progress for some of
Connecticut's Native American people. In 1983 one of
two surviving groups of Pequot, the Mashantucket
Pequots of Ledyard, gained federal recognition and
settled a land claim. The group, with 200 to 300
members, opened a gambling casino on their reservation
in 1992, and their large profits made them an economic
force in the area. Revenue from the casino has also
paid for many improvements on the reservation as well
as the construction of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
and Research Center. The Mohegan won federal
recognition in 1994 and also operate a successful
casino near Uncasville.
In the mid-1990s Connecticut led the nation in per
capita wealth, but its three largest cities "Bridgeport,
Hartford, and New Haven were among the nation's poorest.
Housing and school segregation continued for black
and Hispanic residents, as Connecticut, like much of
the United States, grappled with stark economic,
racial, and ethnic division.
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