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Revised 27 December 2010

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut settlement began in 1665 by former Massachusetts colonists.  Some of them left Massachusetts after being expelled by the narrow religious leaders.  Others left because they had become weary of the intolerant attitude displayed by those leaders.  The Connecticut valley was green and abundant with opportunities for material prosperity.  Most of the settlers in the Massachusetts towns of Newtown, Watertown, and Dorchester, all near Boston, moved with their families and all of their belongings to the central part of Connecticut, where they established three new communities along the Connecticut River, which later came to be called Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield.    An Indian attack on these three communities sparked what is known as the Pequod Indian War.

Approximately 1614, a Dutch seafarer, Adriaen Block, sailed up the board river, which he named the Warsche River. It was from the Indians that the early Massachusetts settlers learned of the fertile river sections. In 1635, about fifty people left what is now Cambridge (at the time, known as Newtown) and established the town of Sucklaug (now known as Hartford.) The Dutch remained at the trading posts or forts, the English spread all over the territory.

From 1635 to 1644, another English colony flourished at Saybrook, but then faded away. In 1643, New Haven was extended as a colony to include the settlements of Milford (1639), Guilford (1639) and Stamford (1641).

From the period of 1640 to 1650, settlement was heavy in the area. The new settlers came almost entirely direct from England. There was then another forty year period which saw a tremendous migration away from this newly settled district. People gradually moved westward in search of land and independence. In many cases, the entire town decamped and established themselves anew with the same old neighbors, but in a new location.

In about 1772, about 30 English families under the leadership of the Rev. Richard Mosely left Litchfield Connecticut for the Kingsborough Patent in Fulton County, New York.

During the early days of the American colonies, Connecticut was known for having more home industries than any other colony. It was through the invention of new household goods, all manufactured through these cottage industries, that created what was later called the "Yankee Peddlers", who carried their goods all over the eastern section of what was then the United States. They were known to have traveled even as far south as New Orleans.

With the movement of people away from the colony, the Connecticut people sent invitations to Europe for more families to settle. This occurred about the same time as the Irish Famine. Thousands of the Irish came to Connecticut in the late 1849s, In the 1880s, large groups of Germans moved into the area

The Germans were said to seldom live in solid nationality groups, but preferred to intermingle with the already existing population. Canada also contributed freely to the population of Connecticut. The English-Canadians generally came to the Hartford area or some of the other larger cities, while the French Canadians preferred to settle in some of the North-eastern industrial cities where there was available employment in the textile industries. The next wave of emigrants through the area came from Scandinavia. These groups included people from Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Most of these people worked in the mechanical arts, while others preferred gardening and farming. After that, the Italians emigrants joined the population. Most of these settled around the area of Hartford. These were joined with residents from Poland, who settled around the areas of Bridgeport and New Britain, and the Lithuanians, who settled around the factories and industrial plants of Waterbury. The Czechoslovakian emigrants appear to have settled around Bridgeport and the Magyars, also known as Hungarians, also joined in the mix.

Connecticut was the ninth of our original Colonies and became a state in January 9, 1788.

COUNTY FORMATION

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Fairfield 1666 Original County Danbury & Bridgeport
Hartford 1666 Original county Hartford & New Britain
Litchfield 1751 Hartford, Fairfield Litchfield
Middlesex 1785 Hartford, New London, New Haven Middletown
New Haven 1666 Original County Waterbury & New Haven
New London 1666 Original County New London & Norwich
Tolland 1786 Windham Rockville
Windham 1726 Hartford, New London Putnam & Willimantic
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CONNECTICUT HISTORY WEBLINKS

Connecticut GenWeb Project Connecticut History Online
Connecticut History Resources The Museum of Connecticut History Home Page
Connecticut History Resources Quinnipiac's Digitized Connecticut History Books - Quinnipiac University
KIDS- Early Connecticut History The Association for the Study of Connecticut History
Connecticut Colonial History Connecticut History on the Web
Connecticut Colony History of Connecticut
Connecticut's Heritage Gateway Connecticut, USA History. Historia de Connecticut, usa - Omninternet ...
Slavery in Connecticut Connecticut Indian Tribes and Languages
Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center Connecticut Historical Society