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Connecticut State History

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People


1614—Dutch explorer Adriaen Block claims the Connecticut River

1631—England explores and claims Connecticut land

1633—English establish their first settlement in Windsor

1636—Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor become the Connecticut Colony

1637—The end of the Pequot War

1639—Adoption of the Fundamental Orders

1665—Connecticut and New Haven colonies unite

1701—Yale University is founded

1784—Connecticut Emancipation Law passed

1788—Connecticut becomes the 5th state

1792—Eli Whitney develops the cotton gin in New Haven

1837—First railroad begins service in Connecticut

1844—Horace Wells uses the first anesthesia

1845—Elias Howe invents the sewing machine

1875—Hartford becomes Connecticut’s capital

1954—The first atomic submarine, the Nautilus, is launched at Groton

1979—Connecticut passes law-banning construction of nuclear power plants

When European exploration began, Native Americans of Connecticut belonged to many of the Algonquian Indian family, the Pequot tribe being the strongest.

Dutchman Adriaen Block was the first to explore the Connecticut Valley in 1614, but never permanently settled there.  In 1633, English colonists came from Massachusetts to settle Windsor, the first permanent settlement in Connecticut.  Together with settlements in Wethersfield and Hartford they united to form the Connecticut Colony in 1636.

Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, believed in government by the will of the people.  In 1639, the Connecticut Colony adopted the Fundamental Orders as its law.  This gave voters the right to elect government officials.

The Pequot War began in 1636.  In 1637, the colonists defeated the Pequots with help from Uncas, a Pequot leader that sided with the colonists.  The New Haven Colony settled along the Long Island Sound.  In 1665, this colony and the Connecticut Colony joined together by charter from the king of England.

Sir Edward Andros, governor of other New England colonies tried many times to gain control of Connecticut. In 1687, he entered Hartford and demanded the charter.  The people refused, hiding the charter in an oak tree, later known as the “Charter Oak.” 

Rising taxes and restricted trade led to the Revolutionary War in 1775.  At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, leaders from Connecticut played an important role in the Great Compromise.  The Constitution of the United States was written and the Declaration of Independence approved.  Connecticut became the 5th state in 1788.

During the 1800s, Eli Whitney invented mass production manufacturing.  Connecticut grew famous for its factories and the many immigrants that came to work in them.  In 1910, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy moved to New London.  During both World Wars, Connecticut’s factories were an important supplier of airplane parts, submarines, guns, clothing, and food.

Connecticut has continued to develop new technology.  In 1954, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine was built and launched at Groton.  In 1968, a nuclear energy plant began to operate at Haddam Neck to provide electric power.  In 1969, astronauts used oxygen and other supplies from backpacks made in Connecticut.

Today Connecticut ranks among the top states for income per person and continues in rapid population and industrial growth.