Connecticut is a state rich in early American history. The region was first settled in the 1630s. It is nicknamed the "Constitution State" because the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut served as a model for the Constitution. The Fundamental Orders, written in 1639, were the first laws that acknowledged people as the true foundation of public authority. It gave voters the right to elect government officials and is sometimes considered to be the first written constitution.
Also, delegates from Connecticut helped to establish the Great Compromise, or the Connecticut Compromise, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The compromise decided how many representatives each state would elect to Congress.
Connecticut is a New England state bordered by Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and New York to the west. It is the southernmost of the New England states and one of the original 13 colonies. Connecticut is the third smallest state; only Delaware and Rhode Island are smaller. The abbreviation for Connecticut is CT.
Connecticut's landscape includes lakes, waterfalls, rivers, river valleys, sandy shores, rocky coastlines, and forests. The Connecticut River runs through the center of the state and empties into Long Island Sound, Connecticut's outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is the longest in the nation without a major port at its mouth. The name of the river comes from the Native American word "Quinnehtukqut," meaning "beside the long tidal river." The state was named for the river.
The people of Connecticut have always been very creative and industrious. The state received more patents in proportion to its population than any other state in the first 150 years of the United States Patent Office. This led to industry in cities like New Haven, Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Danbury, and Meriden. Hartford, the state capital, is called the "Insurance City" because about 50 insurance companies have headquarters there.
Connecticut is also important because of its production. Workers in the state were the first to make bikes, dyed silk, friction matches, printing type, repeating pistols, rubber shoes, and vulcanized rubber. United States steel manufacturing began in Connecticut. The world's first nuclear powered submarine, the Nautilus, was launched in the state in 1954. Today, Connecticut is an important producer of electronic equipment, aircraft engines, helicopters, propellers, nuclear-powered submarines, spacecraft equipment, ball and roller bearings, cutlery, machine tools, and optical equipment. The state is also a chief processor of copper.
There are many things to see in Connecticut. Yale University, founded in 1701 in New Haven, is the third oldest college in the country. One can step back into the 1800s at a New England whaling village in Mystic. In Bridgeport, there is a circus museum named after publicity genius P.T. Barnum. And since Connecticut has the largest income per capita, as well as one of the lowest unemployment rates, sight seers sometimes travel Greenwich looking at the jaw-dropping million-dollar mansions.
West Hartford is the boyhood home of Noah Webster, creator of the first American dictionary. Eli Whitney developed interchangeable gun parts in Connecticut as well. His methods led to current high-speed industrial production. Visit Hartford and see where the Colt .45, made famous by the gunfighters of the Old West, was invented.