Connecticut History - the history of Connecticut
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Connecticut   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Connecticut History

   
 

Connecticut History


Prior to European settlement, the area that is today known as Connecticut, was inhabited by various Algoquian tribes. The Dutch were the first Europeans to arrive in the area: Dutch navigator, Adriaen Block, is known to have sailed up the Connecticut River, at least as far as Hartford in 1614. The Dutch West India Company is also known to have been trading furs in the area in 1623, and to have later set up fortifications in the area.

English colonists from Massachusetts began to arrive in the 1630s, and created settlements at Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), Hartford (1636), Saybrook (1636) and New Haven (1637). As might be expected, there was indeed considerable competition between the English and Dutch. This led the Dutch to send a party up river with the intention of taking gifts to the Indians and encouraging them to trade - however, the Dutch inadvertently transmitted smallpox into the Indian population, which wiped out 75% of the Indians within a year. Eventually the English gained the upper hand, and following the 1654 Treaty of Hartford, the Dutch withdrew completely from the area.

In 1662, the Connecticut Colony gained a Royal Charter that confirmed self-government, and granted a western limit to the colony of the Pacific Ocean. This claim, stretching across the entire North American continent, led to clashes with other colonies, that continued well into the late 18th century.

Connecticut was one of the 13 colonies involved in the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), but its internal self-government continued unchanged after it adopted the US Constitution on January 9th, 1788. The state in fact continued to operate under its 1662 Charter until 1818, when a new state constitution was finally adopted.

In the 20th century, large numbers of European immigrants arrived in Connecticut, including many immigrants from Italy and Poland, gradually transforming the ethnic mix in the state. Connecticut was an important supplier of military equipment in both World Wars, during the Cold War. Today the state is primarily suburban and middle-class, although there are still some rural areas. In recent years, the Pequot Native Americans (indigenous to the area) have gained official recognition, and the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation is now one of the richest in the country.


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Hidden History of Connecticut

By Wilson Faude

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2010-11-26
Paperback (128 pages)

Hidden History of Connecticut
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Connecticut's history is full of engaging and fascinating stories, rocks that are national monuments, the "people's sculptor," football players on chapel finials, moons on the Travelers calendars, artists Frederic Church and Eric Sloane and even a Thanksgiving Day touch football game with a future president. These are tales from Greenwich to Enfield, from Sharon to Old Lyme and so much in between. Follow along with historian Wilson Faude in this "must-have" Connecticut book as he traverses the state in search of hidden history.

A History of the Connecticut River

By Wick Griswold

The History Press
Released: 2012-04-12
Paperback (128 pages)

A History of the Connecticut River
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Paddle from Enfield Rapids to Long Island Sound and travel down one of America's most famous waterways, the Connecticut River. Its calm waters conceal an unruly past, where native tribes lost ground to Dutch and English colonists who vied for the river's immense economic power. The skyline of Hartford looms on the western shore, with the gold dome of the capitol as a remnant of this robust economy centered on world trade. Many have found a deep inspiration along the river, including Lady Fenwick, a local legend; David Bushnell, creator of the first American submarine; and even Albert Einstein, who contemplated the cosmos while relaxing on the riverbanks. Author Wick Griswold takes readers on a provocative journey as he traces the history of the Connecticut River.

Spooky Trails and Tall Tales Connecticut: Hiking the State's Legends, Hauntings, and History

By Stephen Gencarella

Falcon Guides
Released: 2019-09-01
Paperback (240 pages)

Spooky Trails and Tall Tales Connecticut: Hiking the State s Legends, Hauntings, and History
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Connecticut—a New England state with a proud history and vibrant culture. But there is more to this place than white church steeples and town greens. In the forests and meadows surrounding these quaint, colonial towns lurk spine-chilling ghosts protecting Captain Kidd’s treasure, the abode of the Devil himself, and shadowy creatures such as the Glawackus, all awaiting the next hiker to stumble down the trail.

For years, the stories of these mysterious beings and places existed only in whispers and campfire tales, but now for the first time these legends have been collected and retold in one volume:
Spooky Trails and Tall Tales Connecticut. Alongside each of these captivating tales is the necessary route and trailhead information brave readers will need to go beyond their town lines and test their nerve.


Proud to support Friends of Connecticut State Parks with a portion of the royalties.

A History of Connecticut Food: A Proud Tradition of Puddings, Clambakes & Steamed Cheeseburgers (American Palate)

By Eric D. Lehman

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2012-05-22
Paperback (176 pages)

A History of Connecticut Food: A Proud Tradition of Puddings, Clambakes & Steamed Cheeseburgers (American Palate)
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A History of Connecticut Food aims to acquaint the reader with the long and storied relationship of the state's people and their provisions. Each chapter will focus on a different crop, livestock, game, or prepared dish that Connecticut has either pioneered or made its own. Along with these brief histories, the book will feature traditional and modernized recipes. In short, A History of Connecticut Food will both inform the people of Connecticut about their culinary past and inspire them to explore it.

A Primary Source History of the Colony of Connecticut (Primary Sources of the Thirteen Colonies and the Lost Colony)

By Ann Malaspina

Brand: Rosen Central
Paperback (64 pages)

A Primary Source History of the Colony of Connecticut (Primary Sources of the Thirteen Colonies and the Lost Colony)
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Uses primary source documents to provide an in-depth look into the history of the colony of Connecticut and includes a timeline, glossary, and primary source image list.

Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture (Garnet Books)

By Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Brand: Wesleyan
Hardcover (176 pages)

Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture (Garnet Books)
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In a series of entertaining essays, geoscientist Jelle Zeilinga de Boer describes how early settlers discovered and exploited Connecticut's natural resources. Their successes as well as failures form the very basis of the state's history: Chatham's gold played a role in the acquisition of its Charter, and Middletown's lead helped the colony gain its freedom during the Revolution. Fertile soils in the Central Valley fueled the state's development into an agricultural power house, and iron ores discovered in the western highlands helped trigger its manufacturing eminence. The Statue of Liberty, a quintessential symbol of America, rests on Connecticut's Stony Creek granite. Geology not only shaped the state's physical landscape, but also provided an economic base and played a cultural role by inspiring folklore, paintings, and poems. Illuminated by 50 illustrations and 12 color plates, Stories in Stone describes the marvel of Connecticut's geologic diversity and also recounts the impact of past climates, earthquakes, and meteorites on the lives of the people who made Connecticut their home.

Connecticut: a Fully Illustrated History of the State From the Seventeenth Century to the Present

By Albert E. Van Dusen

Random House
Hardcover (470 pages)

Connecticut: a Fully Illustrated History of the State From the Seventeenth Century to the Present
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Hidden History of Connecticut Union Soldiers

By John Banks

History Pr
Released: 2015-10-26
Paperback (208 pages)

Hidden History of Connecticut Union Soldiers
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Over fifty thousand Connecticut soldiers served in the Union army during the Civil War, yet their stories are nearly forgotten today. Among the regiments that served, at least forty sets of brothers perished from battlefield wounds or disease. Little known is the 16th Connecticut chaplain who, as prisoner of war, boldly disregarded a Rebel commander's order forbidding him to pray aloud for President Lincoln. Then there is the story of the 7th Connecticut private who murdered a fellow soldier in the heat of battle and believed the man's ghost returned to torment him. Seven soldiers from Connecticut tragically drowned two weeks after the war officially ended when their ship collided with another vessel on the Potomac. Join author John Banks as he shines a light on many of these forgotten Connecticut Yankees.

The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History, and Culture (The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books)

By Peter M. LeTourneau

Wesleyan University Press
Paperback (208 pages)

The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History, and Culture (The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books)
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Stunning photography and fact-filled text reveal new perspectives on southern New England's most unique natural region. A picturesque journey through the traprock highlands from New Haven, Connecticut to Amherst, Massachusetts, this book captures the majesty of wild windswept cliffs, panoramic summit vistas, and intimate details of the natural world through the eyes of an artist and the mind of a scientist. By tracing the influence of natural history on cultural development in the Connecticut Valley, the authors present a compelling argument that the rocky highlands are landscapes of national significance, where the particular combination of geology, geography, water resources, climate, and human settlement fostered vital developments in Early American science, education, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and the creative arts. Through vibrant color photographs of high alpine crags and lush forests, thundering waterfalls and splashing cascades, and close-up views of the rocks, flowers, and birds, The Traprock Landscapes of New England presents the incomparable beauty of the region as never before. Overflowing with information, long-time fans, first-time visitors, nature lovers, rock climbers, history buffs, land use managers, and many others will find plenty to satisfy in the detailed text and captions, crisp photos, historical images, informative maps, and more. Showcasing popular locales, and revealing "secret spots," this must-have resource will encourage old friends and newcomers alike to visit the rugged crags once called "the boldest and most beautiful" landscapes in New England.

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663

By Richard S Ross

McFarland & Company
Paperback (344 pages)

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663
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Decades before the Salem Witch trials, 11 people were hanged as witches in the Connecticut River Valley. The advent of witch hunting in New England was directly influenced by the English Civil War and the witch trials in England led by Matthew Hopkins, who pioneered "techniques" for examining witches.

This history examines the outbreak of witch hysteria in the Valley, focusing on accusations of demonic possession, apotropaic magic and the role of the clergy.

Although the hysteria was eventually quelled by a progressive magistrate unwilling to try witches, accounts of the trials later influenced contemporary writers during the Salem witch hunts. The source of the document "Grounds for Examination of a Witch" is identified.



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