New England, collective name given to the six states of the north-eastern United States, namely, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is bordered on the west by New York State, on the north by Canada, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south by Long Island Sound; the land rises in the north and west to the New England system of the Appalachian Mountains. The coast is the most important commercial arrea, although during the 20th century industry and tourism have largely superseded the traditionally important activities of fishing and shipbuilding. Many of the major events of America’s colonial period, including the start of the American War of Independence, took place in New England.
Maine, one of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north and east by the Canadian province of New Brunswick; on the south by the Gulf of Maine (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean); onn the west by New Hampshire; and on the north-west by Quebec Province. The Saint John and St Francis rivers form part of the northern boundary, the St Croix River forms part of the south-eastern boundary, and the Salmon Falls Ri
Maine entered the Union on March 15, 1820, when it was separated from Massachusetts to form the 23rd state. Manufacturing began to play a leading role in the Maine economy in the late 19th century. Tourism is also an important industry, and the state’s extensive fisheries are noted for producing lobsters. The name Maine probably originated as the word used by English explorers to refer to the mainland; it may also be derived from the province and region of Maine in north-western France. Maine is known as the “Pine Tree State”. Its major ciities are Augusta (the capital); Portland; Leinston; Bangor; Auburn; and South Portland.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
Maine has an area of 87,389 sq km (33,741 sq mi) and is the largest state in New England; 0.8 per cent of its land area is owned by the federal government. The state’s extreme dimensions are 500 km (311 mi) from north to south and 325 km (202 mi) from east to west. Elevations range from sea level, along the coast, to 1,606 m (5,268 ft), from the top of Mount Katahdin, in the central pa
A Physical Geography
Maine can be divided into three major geographical regions: the Seaboard Lowland, the New England Upland, and the White Mountains. Along the coast is the Seaboard Lowland, composed of a rolling landscape cut by numerous bays and estuaries. The sharp and jagged headlands are typical of a glacially drowned coast, where the weight of vast ice sheets depressed the land; most offshore islands are made up of the summits of submerged hills. One of the most spectacular rocky headlands is the granite mass of Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island, the state’s largest island.
Most of Maine consists of a part of the New England Upland, composed in some places of a rough, hilly landscape and in other places, especially around Bangor and in Aroostook County, of a much flatter plain. Both the Seaboard Lowland and the New England Upland are largely underlain by hard metamorphic rocks.
The highest elevations in Maine are found in the White Mountains region, which extends into New Hampshire and Vermont. This scenic area includes resistant gr
Thick glacial deposits cover much of Maine. Infertile and excessively drained, these soils are good for growing pine trees and potatoes, for which the state is famous, but poor for most other agricultural uses. Winding across parts of the New England Upland and the Seaboard Lowland are many long ridges of glacial gravel, called eskers, which once were the beds of streams flowing under glaciers. They are also known locally as horsebacks or hogbacks.
Maine has more than 5,100 rivers and streams, most of which are swift flowing. Drainage is towards the Atlantic Ocean, chiefly via the Saint John, St Croix, Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Saco rivers. There are also more than 2,200 lakes and ponds.
Maine has three principal climatological areas: the coastal, northern interior, and southern interior divisions. The coastal division, which extends inland for about 32 km (20 mi), has a maritime climate: winter temperatures are much milder than those inland, and summer temperatures are cooler.
The northern interior division, which occupies about 60 per cent of the state’s area, has a continental climate. Large areas have growing seasons of less than 100 days, and winter cold is severe.
The southern interior di
As in most of New England, tornadoes are rare in Maine, but occasionally hurricanes coming up the Atlantic coast strike the state. More frequent coastal storms, called north-easters, bring strong winds and heavy rain or snow to the coastal division in Maine.
C Plants and Animals
Almost 80 per cent of Maine is covered with forest, about two thirds of which is made up of softwoods such as white pine, pitch pine, Norway pine, balsam fir, hemlock, and spruce. Among the state’s hardwoods are black cherry, used in furniture making, and white ash, which is prepared for other uses. Other common trees include red and white oak, sugar maple, and white and yellow birch. In Washington and Hancock counties in the south-east, blueberry bushes thrive in the sandy soil. Cranberries are widely distributed in the marshlands. Common wild flowers include anemone, black-eyed Susan, buttercup, daisy, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and violet.
White-tailed deer are numerous, and other large mammals include moose and black bear. Typical small mammals include beaver, muskrat, bobcat, otter, red and grey squirrel, skunk, raccoon, mink, and rabbit. Among the many birds of Maine are chickadees, sparrows, wrens, and such seabirds as ducks, loons, gulls, petrels, and cormorants. Inland waters abound in trout, salmon, bass, and pike; there is also a wide variety of marine species. Seals live along the coast.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
As in the other New England states, metallic minerals have never been important in Maine, which has limited deposits of iron ore, managanese, copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold, platinum, and tin. Non-metallic minerals found in the state include asbestos, sand and gravel, stone, peat, granite, limestone, quartz, mica, feldspar, graphite, and gemstones.
Principal farm and agricultural products include potatoes, dairy products, chicken eggs, hay, beef cattle, pigs, apples, wheat, oats, beans, peas, sugar beet, and blueberries.
More than 95 per cent of Maine’s extensive forests are privately owned, and each year a considerable amount of pulp for paper-making and timber is produced. Softwoods make up about 65 per cent of the annual harvest. Maine is famous for its seafood and has an important fishing industry, with lobster the most valuable product, and clams, scallops, shrimp, cod, herring, and menhaden also caught in significant quantities.
Leading manufactured goods are paper and wood products, footwear and other leather goods, electronic equipment, processed food, clothing, and textiles. Shipbuilding is an important industry.
According to the 1990 census, Maine had 1,227,928 inhabitants, an increase of 9.1 per cent over 1980. In 1997 the population was estimated to be 1,242,051. The average population density in 1990 was 14 people per sq km (36 per sq mi); the highest population density was in the south-west. Whites made up 98.4 per cent of the population and blacks 0.4 per cent. In addition, the population included 5,945 Native Americans, the largest groups being the Penobscot and the Passamaquoddy, as well as some 1,262 people of Chinese ancestry, 1,058 people of Filipino descent, 858 people of Korean origin, and 642 people of Vietnamese extraction. Approximately 6,800 people were of Latino background, and a substantial number of people were of French-Canadian origin.
A Education and Culture
The first schools in Maine were established in the early 18th century, and a state school system began to be developed in 1828. In the late 1980s Maine had 751 state elementary and secondary schools. About 152,300 elementary pupils and 61,500 secondary students attended the state schools each year. In addition, about 11,200 students were enrolled in private schools. In the mid-1990s Maine spent about US$5,440 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of about US$5,310.
In the mid-1990s Maine had 31 institutions of higher education. Major institutions included the University of Maine (1865), at Orono; the University of Southern Maine (1878), at Portland; Bates College (1855), at Lewiston; Bowdoin College (1794), at Brunswick; and Husson College (1898), at Bangor.
Maine has a variety of cultural institutions. Among the state’s museums are the Portland Museum of Art, with a significant collection of 19th-century American painting; the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, in Rockland; the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, in Brunswick, with a large collection of European, American, and Asian art; the Maine State Museum, in Augusta, with displays on historical, ethnographical, and scientific topics; the Robert Abbe Museum of Stone Age Antiquities, in Acadia National Park near Northeast Harbor; the Anthropology Museum of the University of Maine, in Orono; the Penobscot Marine Museum; the Shaker Museum, near Poland Spring, with buildings and handicrafts of a Shaker religious group founded in the late 18th century; and the Colby Museum of Art, in Waterville.
B Places of Interest
A prime attraction is Acadia National Park, mostly on Mount Desert Island, which include rugged coastal areas. Mount Katahdin, in Baxter State Park, is the northern terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which runs south to Georgia. Roosevelt Campobello International Park, encompassing the summer home of the family of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, near Maine.
Numerous mansions, old houses, and rural churches recall Maine’s past. St Croix Island International Historic Site, near Calais, encompasses the site of a short-lived French settlement of 1604-1605. In Burnham Tavern (1770), in Machias, Americans plotted the capture (1775) of the British warship Margaretta in the first naval encounter of the American War of Independence. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, in Portland, was the childhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
C Sports and Recreation
The sea coast and interior lakes, streams, mountains, and forests of Maine provide many opportunities for swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, and hunting. The state also has a number of ski resorts. Thoroughbred races are held at Scarborough Downs, near Old Orchard Beach.
D Government and Politics
Maine is governed under a constitution that became effective in 1820, the year in which the state entered the Union. The chief executive, and the only popularly elected executive official, is the governor, who is elected to a four-year term. The governor may serve any number of terms, but not more than two in succession. The legislature elects the secretary of state, state treasurer, and Attorney-General.
Legislative authority is vested in a legislature consisting of a 151-member House of Representatives and a 35-member Senate. All legislators are elected to two-year terms. At a national level, the state elects two senators and two representatives to the US Congress. Maine has four electoral votes in presidential elections.
The Republican party dominated politics from the 1850s to the 1950s, when the Democrats began to show considerable strength at the state and local levels. In 1968 Edmund S. Muskie, a US senator from Maine, was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. His party carried Maine that year, but normally the state votes Republican in presidential elections.
At the time of the arrival of the Europeans, Maine was inhabited by some 20 related Algonquian tribes, united in a loose organization known as the Abenaki or Wabanaki (“people of the dawn”). Only the Penobscot and the Passamaquoddy remain today. Many were converted to Roman Catholicism by French missionaries in the 17th century and fought on the side of the French in their wars against the English.
A Colonial and Revolutionary Periods
Laying claim to all of New England, based on the explorations of John Cabot a century earlier, King James I of England authorized the Plymouth Company to colonize the area in 1606. The following year the company founded a settlement at the mouth of the Kennebec River on Sagadahoc Peninsula, but it lasted only a year. French settlements on St Croix Island and on Mount Desert Island also failed.
In 1620 King James named John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges proprietors of lands between the Merrimac and Kennebec rivers, but they did little to develop the region, and in 1658 Massachusetts asserted its jurisdiction over Maine; in 1691 it became part of Massachusetts.
Although there was some land speculation before the American War of Independence, Maine remained primarily a source of furs, timber, and forest products. During the Revolution the British established a base near present-day Castine, on Penobscot Bay. The Penobscot expedition (1779), in which a Massachusetts force tried to expel them, was a disastrous failure.
The movement to separate from Massachusetts began in 1785, but it did not pick up momentum until 1816, when the Brunswick Convention popularized the separatist movement. In 1819, when the Massachusetts General Court agreed to an Act of Separation, a state constitutional convention was held in Portland. Maine petitioned Congress for admission to the Union in December 1819 and was admitted under the Missouri Compromise as the 23rd state in 1820. Maine was first prominent in national affairs for its leadership in the temperance movement in the 1820s and its adoption of a prohibition law in 1851.
By the time Maine won independence, about half its total land area had been distributed; much of the remainder was still unsurveyed, and a dispute developed about the boundary separating Maine from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. By the late 1830s both Canadian and Maine forestry workers sought control of disputed territory in present-day Aroostook County. The so-called Aroostook War was ended by US forces under General Winfield Scott, and the boundary issue was resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
C Maine’s Changing Society
Before the American Civil War, Maine’s economy expanded as it supplied the nation with timber products and with ice for food packing. Other emerging industries were lime and granite quarrying, textile milling, fishing, and shipbuilding. Transport needs encouraged railway construction. After the American Civil War, the emergence of steel-hulled ships and the movement of the textile industry out of New England contributed to economic decline. Maine increasingly relied on the paper and pulp industries, and beginning in the 1880s tourism became a major industry.
The state remained predominantly Republican in the first half of the 20th century. By the mid-1950s the Democrats began to be successful, twice electing Edmund Muskie as governor. He achieved national prominence as a US senator and later as Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter. Another prominent Maine Democrat, George Mitchell, was elected majority leader of the US Senate in 1988.
Maine suffered from both rural and urban poverty after World War II. Issues involving energy and the environment aroused major controversies in the 1970s and 1980s, as citizens’ groups repeatedly tried and failed to revoke the licence of the state’s lone nuclear power plant. The 1980s brought an economic boom to Maine, as to most of New England; between 1980 and 1989, Maine’s rank among all states in disposable personal income per capita rose from 39th to 21st.
New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north by Quebec Province, Canada; on the east by Maine and the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by Massachusetts; and on the west by Vermont. The Connecticut River forms almost all the western border; Halls Stream forms part of the north-western boundary.
New Hampshire entered the Union on June 21, 1788, as the ninth of the 13 original states. Manufacturing and services (including tourism) are the leading industries. The state’s name is taken from that of the English county of Hampshire. US President Franklin Pierce was born in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is known as the “Granite State”. Its major cities are Concord (the capital), Manchester, Nashua, Rochester, and Portsmouth.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
New Hampshire has an area of 24,043 sq km (9,283 mi); 13 per cent of the land area is owned by the federal government. The state is roughly triangular in shape and has a maximum length of 291 km (181 mi) from north to south and a maximum width of 151 km (94 mi) from east to west. Elevations range from sea level, along the Atlantic Ocean, to 1,917 m (6,288 ft), from the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak of the north-eastern United States. The approximate mean elevation of the state is 305 m (1,000 ft). New Hampshire has a tidal shoreline of 211 km (131 mi). Three of the rocky Isles of Shoals, in the Atlantic, are part of the state.
A Physical Geography
New Hampshire can be divided into three major geographical regions: the Seaboard Lowland, the New England Upland, and the White Mountains. The smallest region is the Seaboard Lowland, a coastal plain in the south-east, which includes sand beaches on the Atlantic. The largest region, a section of the New England Upland, combines rolling hills with an abundance of lakes and ponds. This terrain is occasionally broken by outcroppings of more resistant metamorphic rock that rise well above the surrounding peneplain. These rock hills are named monadnocks after Mount Monadnock, which is located in the south-west. Other monadnocks in the state are Mount Sunapee, Mount Cardigan, and Mount Kearsarge.
In the north is the region of the rugged White Mountains, which includes the Presidential Range. Most of the rock in this area is either granite or granite-related syenite and monzonite of the Devonian geological period. As is true in other parts of the state, the most fertile soil is located in the river valleys. Some of the most interesting features of the White Mountains are the mountain gaps known as notches. Franconia Notch, which encompasses a natural stone profile called the Old Man of the Mountain, is especially picturesque.
New Hampshire is drained by five major rivers: the Merrimack, Connecticut (the state’s longest river), Androscoggin, Saco, and Piscataqua. It has many lakes, the largest of which is island-dotted Lake Winnipesaukee, a favourite tourist spot in the central part of the state. Other bodies of water include Newfound, Ossipee, Squam, Sunapee, and Winnisquam lakes.
Prevailing westerly and north-westerly winds are largely responsible for New Hampshire’s continental climate. These winds bring cold, dry air during the winter and pleasantly cool, dry air in the summer. Easterly and north-easterly winds cause the more significant rainstorms and snowstorms. Average monthly temperatures vary according to season and elevation. Concord, in the New England Upland, has an average July temperature of about 21° C (70° F) and a mean January temperature of about -6° C (21° F); at the top of Mount Washington the average July temperature is about 10° C (50° F) and the mean January temperature about -14° C (6° F). The recorded temperature in the state has ranged from -43.3° C (-46° F), in 1925 at Pittsburg in the north, to 41.1° C (106° F), in 1911 at Nashua in the south.
C Plants and Animals
About 83 per cent of New Hampshire’s land area is forested. Trees include white pine, hemlock, oak, white birch, maple, spruce, and balsam fir, along with yellow birch, sugar maple, and white ash. Flowers such as goldenrod, purple lilac, violet, lady’s slipper, rhododendron, daisy, and wild iris are found at lower elevations, and alpine flowers grow on the mountains.
At lower elevations white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, chipmunk, fox, rabbit, raccoon, porcupine, skunk, woodchuck, and squirrel are common. Black and brown bear inhabit the mountains, and on rare occasions moose can be seen. Among New Hampshire’s many birds are the warbler, thrush, purple finch, sparrow, woodpecker, crow, barn owl, robin, and blue jay. Game birds include ruffed grouse, pheasant, woodcock, and wild turkey. Common snakes include the garter snake, milk snake, blacksnake, and water snake. Of all the freshwater game fish of New Hampshire waters, trout ranks as the most popular. At least one of four species (rainbow, brook, lake, brown) can by found in nearly every lake, pond, or river. Other fish include pickerel, suckers, catfish, eel, landlocked salmon, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass. Lobster and shrimp live in coastal marine waters.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
New Hampshire has a small mining industry. Its more important mineral resources include granite, sand and gravel, gemstones, and mica.
The agricultural sector is also small, with nearly half of the annual agricultural income deriving from sales of livestock and livestock products. Leading farm commodities are dairy products, hay, chicken eggs, beef cattle, and apples. Other agricultural products include pigs, sheep, blueberries, turkeys, and greenhouse products.
About 83 per cent of the state is covered with forest, and each year substantial amounts of timber and pulp (for use in making paper) are produced. The state supports some fishing industry; the annual catch is valued at about $10 million. Lobster, shrimp, cod, tuna, and pollack are major components of the catch.
Manufacturing accounts for about 28 per cent of the annual gross state product. Chief manufactured products are industrial machinery, precision instruments, electronic equipment, rubber and plastic goods, printed materials, paper goods, primary metals, and clothing and textiles.
According to the 1990 census, New Hampshire had 1,109,252 inhabitants, an increase of 20.5 per cent over 1980. The estimated population in 1997 was 1,172,709. In 1990 the average population density was 46 people per sq km (119 per sq mi). Most of the population was concentrated in the south-eastern part of the state. Whites made up 98 per cent of the population and blacks 0.6 per cent; additional population groups included 2,075 Native Americans and 2,314 people of Chinese descent. Approximately 11,300 people were of Latino background.
A Education and Culture
Although an act in 1647 provided that towns with 100 or more families should maintain a grammar school, it was not until 1708 that the first free state school was founded and not until 1830 that the first state high school opened in New Hampshire. A statewide educational system was established in 1919. In the late 1980s New Hampshire had 444 state elementary and secondary schools, with a combined annual enrolment of about 124,400 elementary pupils and 47,300 secondary students. Noted private preparatory schools are Phillips Exeter Academy (1781), in Exeter, and St Paul’s School, in Concord. In the mid-1990s New Hampshire spent about US$6,430 on each student’s education, compared to the national average of about US$5,310. About 15,800 students attend private schools.
The oldest institution of higher education is Dartmouth College, founded in Hanover in 1769. In the mid-1990s New Hampshire had 30 institutions of higher education; besides Dartmouth, notable institutions include the University of New Hampshire (1866), in Durham, and St Anselm College (1889) and New Hampshire College (1932), in Manchester.
Several of New Hampshire’s foremost museums are in Manchester and Concord. The Currier Gallery of Art, in Manchester, has an outstanding collection of American art, and the New Hampshire Historical Society museum, in Concord, features exhibits of decorative and fine art and of historical memorabilia related to the state. In addition, the Hood Museum, with collections of art and anthropological artefacts, is in Hanover, and the Lamont art gallery is located in Exeter.
B Places of Interest
The large White Mountain National Forest and Lake Winnipesaukee are leading attractions. The many historical sites include Old Fort Number 4, in Charlestown, a reconstruction of a mid-18th-century fort; the Shaker Village (1792), in Canterbury; Strawbery Banke, in Portsmouth, a restoration project with houses dating from 1695; and the St-Gaudens National Historic Site, near Lebanon, which encompasses the studio and home of the sculptor Augustus St-Gaudens. Among the state’s other historical homes are the Daniel Webster birthplace, near Franklin; the Franklin Pierce homestead, near Hillsboro; and the Horace Greeley birthplace, in Amherst.
C Sports and Recreation
New Hampshire’s mountains, forests, lakes, and seashore provide opportunities for a variety of recreational activities such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and boating. Horse racing and skiing are also popular.
D Government and Politics
The chief executive is a governor, who is popularly elected to a term of two years and who may be re-elected any number of times. The president of the state Senate succeeds the governor should the latter resign, die, or be removed from office. The governor is assisted by an Executive Council, the five members of which are popularly elected to two-year terms. The state legislature elects the Secretary of State and treasurer; the adjutant-general, Attorney-General, commissioner of agriculture, and comptroller are appointed by the governor with the consent of the Executive Council.
Legislative authority is vested in the bicameral New Hampshire General Court, made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 24 members of the Senate and the 400 members of the House are popularly elected to two-year terms. At a national level, New Hampshire elects two senators and two representatives to the US Congress. The state has four electoral votes in presidential elections.
The Pennacook, members of the Algonquian culture, were the largest group of Native American inhabitants of New Hampshire. The first European to explore the region was the English captain Martin Pring, who anchored in Piscataqua Harbor in 1603. Two years later the French explorer Samuel de Champlain sailed along the coast and reached the Isles of Shoals. In 1614 the English colonist and soldier John Smith visited Piscataqua Harbor and some inland regions. In 1620 the region was granted to the Council for New England, formerly the Plymouth Company, by James I, King of England. The council, in 1622, granted all the land lying between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers for 97 km (60 mi) inland to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason. The title of the grant was the Province of Maine. In 1623 the town of Little Harbor was established on the site of present-day Rye. On November 7, 1629, the province was divided, and that part lying between the Piscataqua and Merrimack rivers was given to Mason; the title of the grant was New Hampshire.
Several trading stations were established within the grant, the most important of which was Strawbery Banke, later Portsmouth. The Council for New England was dissolved in 1635, and Mason was confirmed in all his grants by the Crown and given an additional 40,500 hectares (100,000 acres) west of the Kennebec River. In 1638 John Wheelwright, a clergyman banished from Massachusetts, founded the settlement of Exeter. The Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony looked with disfavour on the settlements of the Royalists and Churchmen in New Hampshire and laid claim to the territory. In 1641 all the settlements were joined to the Massachusetts Bay Colony except Exeter, which followed in 1643. Mason’s grandson, Robert Mason, became sole heir to the province in 1655, and he applied to the Crown for restitution of the territory. Legal difficulties delayed a decision until 1677, when it was ruled that Massachusetts had usurped possession of the territory. In 1679 a decree declaring New Hampshire a royal province was issued. From 1686 to 1689 the province of New Hampshire was part of the Dominion of New England, which was under the governorship of Sir Edmund Andros. Attempts made by residents of New Hampshire to establish a provincial authority met with failure, but in 1692 a royal government was established.
In 1776 New Hampshire became the first colony to adopt its own constitution. During the American War of Independence the majority of its inhabitants were patriots. At Bennington, Vermont, New Hampshire and Vermont troops inflicted a costly defeat on the British. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state by ratifying the US Constitution. With the exception of 1804, when the majority of the people of the state voted for Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican candidate for the presidency, New Hampshire was Federalist in national politics until 1816. In that year the Democrats gained control by capturing both state and national elections. The Democrats lost power in 1855, when the Know-Nothings, a third party, won the state’s electoral votes.
During the years preceding the American Civil War (1861-1865), reform movements advocating temperance and the abolition of slavery gained strength in New Hampshire. After the Civil War, industry, especially the textile industry, transport, and communications expanded rapidly.
During the latter half of the 19th century, large-scale immigration of French-Canadians into the state altered the ethnic composition of the population, which had been chiefly English and Scots-Irish. Many of these immigrants worked in the rapidly growing leather and shoe industries. As cities and factories expanded, rural life became less and less the norm. By the mid-1960s shoe manufacturing had sharply declined and was being replaced by a major electronics industry. State agencies actively sought to attract other new enterprises as well, and in the 1970s manufacturing was the largest economic sector.
Tourism, which has played an important role in the state’s economy since the turn of the century, expanded rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s. The state encouraged the growth of tourism by passing anti-pollution measures during the same period. A long-standing controversy over energy and the environment ended in 1990 with the licensing of the Seabrook nuclear power plant.
Between 1950 and 1990 the state’s population grew dramatically from 533,000 to more than 1 million. Much of the growth came as businesses and workers moved from Massachusetts across the border into the lower Merrimack Valley. The mixture of this new, more affluent population with the more rural, traditionally “Yankee” residents has caused some strain within and between communities, especially over such public issues as taxation, educational policies, and environmental concerns in industrial development. In the 1990s tensions have been intensified by some renewed economic difficulties, although by 1996 those efforts had begun to show significant success and New Hampshire began to share in the national trend of renewed economic health.
Vermont, one of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north by the Canadian province of Quebec; on the east by New Hampshire; on the south by Massachusetts; and on the west by New York. The western bank of the Connecticut River forms the eastern boundary, and part of the western boundary runs through Lake Champlain.
Vermont entered the Union on March 4, 1791, as the 14th state (from 1777 to 1791 Vermont had been an independent republic). Its economy was chiefly agricultural until the 20th century, when manufacturing became the leading sector. Tourism and other services are also economically important, and the state is known for its many ski areas. Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Calvin Coolidge were born in Vermont. The name of the state is derived from the French words vert (“green”) and mont (“mountain”), and Vermont is known as the “Green Mountain State”. Its major cities are Montpelier (the capital), Burlington, Rutland, Essex, and Bennington.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
Vermont has an area of 24,903 sq km (9,615 sq mi); 6 per cent of its land area is owned by the federal government. The state is roughly triangular in shape, and its extreme dimensions are about 251 km (156 mi) from north to south and about 143 km (89 mi) from east to west. Elevations range from 29 m (95 ft), at Lake Champlain in the north-west, to 1,339 m (4,393 ft), at the top of Mount Mansfield in the north; the mean elevation is about 305 m (1,000 ft).
A Physical Geography
Vermont is topographically the most diverse of the New England states, and it is the only one without a seacoast. The state has five distinct landform regions: the White Mountains, the New England Upland, the Green Mountains, the Champlain Valley, and the Taconic Mountains. In north-eastern Vermont is the White Mountains region, a high, wild, and rugged granite area closely related to New Hampshire’s adjacent White Mountains. The average base elevation is about 365 m (1,200 ft), and isolated mountains, called monadnocks, rise to more than 1,006 m (3,300 ft).
In eastern Vermont is the New England Uplands, an area of mostly hilly land deeply cut by fast-flowing streams that extends south into Massachusetts. The upland is underlaid by complex metamorphic rocks, with occasional granite mountains, such as Mount Ascutney in Windsor and Spruce Mountain in Groton, rising above the hilltops. Fertile lowlands are in the east, along the Connecticut River.
The Green Mountains region of central Vermont is composed of a complexly folded north-to-south mountain system. North of Rutland, the Green Mountains consist of two roughly parallel ridges, and to the south, where ancient rocks are exposed, the mountains almost form a flat plateau, with streams such as the West and Deerfield rivers running through deep valleys.
The Champlain Valley region, in the north-west, is a relatively flat area underlaid by sedimentary rocks, mainly sandstones and limestones. Isolated summits, such as Snake Mount in Addison, rise to more than 305 m (1,000 ft). The general flatness, combined with soils that are stone free and less acidic than in the rest of the state, makes the region well suited for agriculture.
The Taconic Mountains region in south-western Vermont is geologically complex. The rocks are generally metamorphic and are associated with the state’s important slate and marble belts. The highest summit is Mount Equinox, towering above the town of Manchester, which lies in the narrow Valley of Vermont; this valley is sometimes considered a distinct region separating the Taconic Mountains and the Green Mountains regions.
Principal rivers are the Connecticut, Hudson, Winooski, Lamoille, and Otter Creek (the longest in the state). Important streams draining into the Connecticut River are the White, West, Waits, Williams, Black, and Passumpsic.
Vermont has many lakes. The largest is Lake Champlain, which extends into New York and Quebec Province. The next biggest is Lake Memphremagog, also partly in Quebec. The largest body of water entirely in Vermont is Bomoseen Lake, near Rutland. There are numerous lakes in the north-east.
Vermont has long winters and short summers. Differences between winter and summer temperatures are greater in this state than in most other parts of New England. Overall, the coldest temperatures generally prevail in Vermont’s mountains and in the north-east, and the warmest temperatures are recorded in the valleys. St Johnsbury, in the north-east, has an average January temperature of about -8.1° C (17.5° F) and an average July temperature of about 20.8° C (69.5° F); Rutland, in the central part of the state, has a mean January temperature of about -5.8° C (21.5° F) and a mean July temperature of about 20.8° C (69.5° F). The recorded temperature in Vermont has ranged from -45.6° C (-50° F), in 1933 at Bloomfield in the north-east, to 40.6° C (105° F), in 1911 at Vernon in the south-east. Almost all of Vermont receives heavy snowfall, with some mountain areas getting up to 3,175 mm (125 in) a year. Vermont is rarely struck by hurricanes or tornadoes.
C Plants and Animals
About three quarters of Vermont is forested—mostly dominated by hardwoods such as ash, beech, birch, hickory, maple, and oak. Big softwood forests in the north-east include pine and spruce. Among the state’s many wild flowers are anemone, arbutus, gentian, orchid, rose, and violet.
The white-tailed deer is the most important large game animal in Vermont. Moose and black bear are occasionally seen. Bobcat and coyote are common, as are beaver, muskrat, otter, rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck, and raccoon. Lake Champlain provides sport fishing for salmon, lake trout, muskellunge, northern pike, wall-eye pike, and perch. Brook, rainbow, and brown trout inhabit Vermont’s streams.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
The state has a history of mining resources such as copper, tin, iron ore, silver, manganese, and gold. However, no metals have been mined here since the late 1950s, although there is still some significant production of non-metallic minerals such as asbestos, talc, marble, granite, slate, sand, and gravel.
Vermont’s farming sector is comparatively small, but is an important part of the state economy. The most valuable agricultural commodity is milk; also important are cattle, eggs, hay, apples, and maple syrup.
There is a relatively small but locally significant forestry industry. The annual wood harvest is used mostly to make paper, furniture, and other prepared timber products.
Manufacturing is a leading sector of the economy. Principal products include electronic equipment, industrial machinery, printed materials, paper and paper items, goods made of stone and wood, processed food, precision instruments, and aerospace and other transport equipment. Wood-burning stoves are an important manufactured item.
According to the 1990 census, Vermont had 562,758 inhabitants, an increase of 10 per cent over 1980. The population estimate for 1997 was 588,978. The average population density in 1990 was 23 people per sq km (59 per sq mi). Whites made up 98.6 per cent of the population and blacks 0.3 per cent. Additional population groups included 1,650 Native Americans, 679 people of Chinese origin, 563 people of Korean descent, and 529 people of Asian Indian ancestry; approximately 3,700 people were of Latino background.
A Education and Culture
The Vermont constitution of 1777 provided for the establishment of elementary schools in towns and for a grammar school in each county. In 1823 the first teacher-training school in the United States was founded at Concord. In the late 1980s Vermont had 336 state elementary and secondary schools; total yearly enrolment was about 69,100 elementary pupils and 25,700 secondary students. About 6,500 students attended private schools. In the mid-1990s Vermont had 22 institutions of higher education with a combined enrolment of about 35,900 students. Among these institutions were Bennington College (1932), in Bennington, and the University of Vermont (1791), in Burlington. In the mid-1990s Vermont spent about US$6,710 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of about US$5,310.
Many of Vermont’s museums display American art and the art and artefacts of the state’s early settlers. Among these are the Bennington Museum, in Bennington; the Sheldon Art Museum, in Middlebury; the Robert Hull Fleming Museum, in Burlington; the Vermont Historical Society Museum, in Montpelier; the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, in St Johnsbury; and the Shelburne Museum, a recreation of an early New England village with about 35 buildings, in Shelburne.
B Places of Interest
Vermont contains a number of historic homes such as the birthplace of President Chester A. Arthur, in Fairfield, and the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge, in Plymouth. Also of historical interest are the Bennington Battle Monument, which commemorates the American victory over the British at Bennington in 1777 (see Bennington, Battle of), and a monument, near Sharon, marking the birthplace of the Mormon leader Joseph Smith.
C Sports and Recreation
Vermont’s mountains, parks, lakes, and rivers provide fine conditions for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and golfing. Skiing is one of the state’s most popular sports, and Vermont has more than 25 ski areas. Green Mountain National Forest, in the central and southern parts of the state, is a popular outdoor recreation area.
D Government and Politics
Vermont is governed under a constitution adopted in 1793, as amended. The chief executive is a governor, who is popularly elected to a two-year term and who may be elected any number of times. Other elected officials include the lieutenant-governor, Secretary of State, Attorney-General, treasurer, and auditor of accounts.
Legislative authority is vested in a bicameral legislature called the General Assembly, made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 30 members of the Senate and the 150 members of the House are elected to two-year terms. At a national level, Vermont elects two senators and one representative to the US Congress. The state has three electoral votes in presidential elections.
In presidential elections since the 1850s, the state has been a stronghold of the Republican Party. Democratic Party strength has been increasing, however, and in 1974 Vermont voters for the first time sent a Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy, to the US Senate. An avowed socialist, Bernard Sanders, was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1990.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Iroquoian tribes of New York and the Algonquian tribes of New England fought for possession of the Vermont area. The first European known to have explored the region was the Frenchman Samuel de Champlain, who in 1609 reached the lake that was later named after him. In 1666 the French built a fort on Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain. The first British settlement was in the south at Fort Dummer, or Brattleboro (1724). Two British colonies, New Hampshire and New York, claimed jurisdiction over the Vermont area. After the French were expelled as a result of the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the New York-New Hampshire Rivalry intensified.
In the 1760s, a stream of settlers from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts arrived, and New York began to issue its own grants within the disputed territory, initiating ejectment suits against the New Hampshire grantees in 1770. Among the newcomers from Connecticut was Ethan Allen; he and his five brothers assumed leadership in the drive to block New York’s efforts at ejectment. When legal means failed, the Allen brothers organized an armed force called the Green Mountain Boys and began terrorizing those farmers who accepted New York’s jurisdiction.
A American War of Independence
The American War of Independence, which broke out in 1775, brought the two sides together against their common enemy, Great Britain. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, aided by Benedict Arnold, captured Fort Ticonderoga and cleared the Lake Champlain region of British forces months before American independence was declared. Two years later, when a British army under General John Burgoyne invaded the area, Vermonters under Seth Warner fought them at the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington. In 1777 the settlers adopted a separate constitution, and after the war they formed an independent republic that lasted until 1791. When New York relinquished its claims to the New Hampshire Grants, Vermont applied for statehood and was admitted to the Union in 1791.
B Statehood and the 20th Century
Vermont experienced a population boom from the 1790s to the 1820s. Thereafter, scarcity of land, a turning to pasturage for sheep and dairy herds, soil misuse, and a shortage of manufacturing jobs impelled Vermonters to leave the state in significant numbers for the fertile and newly available lands of western New York, the Ohio Valley, and the trans-Mississippi region. Some economic aid came with the railways, which created depot towns and new opportunities, but this was offset by a lack of manufacturing facilities and a tendency to concentrate on agriculture as the state’s economic mainstay. Marble and granite quarrying, specialized machine-tool industries, and the development of a tourist industry became important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After World War II, smaller hill farms disappeared and were replaced by summer-home sites.
Conservative in its way of life, Vermont was a Republican bastion from 1860 to 1959, after which time the Democrats began to play a role in state politics; this Democratic trend has been augmented by an influx of newcomers from New York and Massachusetts. Steadfastly independent, Vermonters abhorred the McCarthyism of the 1950s and more recently refused federal funds for the creation of a proposed Green Mountain Parkway. The state has kept in close touch with its roots by remaining rural in its political and social outlook.
Massachusetts, officially Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north by Vermont and New Hampshire; on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and several of its arms (such as the Gulf of Maine, Massachusetts Bay, Boston Bay, and Cape Cod Bay); on the south-east by the Atlantic Ocean and a number of its arms (such as Nantucket Sound and Buzzards Bay); on the south by Rhode Island and Connecticut; and on the west by New York.
Massachusetts entered the Union on February 6, 1788, as the sixth of the 13 original states. It soon became an important intellectual centre, known for Harvard University and the cultural institutions of Boston. In the 19th century, it developed into a major manufacturing state, noted for textiles and footwear; in the mid-20th century, electronic components and other high-technology items became leading manufactured products. Massachusetts is famous for its summer resorts, such as the sand beaches of Cape Cod. Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and John F. Kennedy were born in the state, and President Calvin Coolidge spent most of his life here. The name of the state is probably derived from an Algonquian village and may mean “place of big hills”. Massachusetts is known as the “Bay State”. Its major cities are Boston (the capital), Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, New Bedford, and Cambridge.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
Massachusetts has an area of 23,934 sq km (9,241 sq mi), 44th in size among the states; about 1.6 per cent of its land area is owned by the federal government. The state is roughly rectangular in shape, and its extreme dimensions are 295 km (183 mi) from east to west and 182 km (113 mi) from north to south. Elevations range from sea level, along the Atlantic Ocean, to 1,064 m (3,491 ft), from the top of Mount Greylock, in the north-west. The approximate mean elevation is 152 m (500 ft). The state has a coastline of 309 km (192 mi) and a tidal shoreline of 2,445 km (1,519 mi).
A Physical Geography
Massachusetts can be divided into six major geographical regions: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Seaboard Lowland, the New England Upland, the Connecticut Valley Lowland, the Western New England Upland, and Berkshire Valley. The Atlantic Coastal Plain, in the east, encompasses Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. In this region glacial deposits lie on top of sedimentary rocks; the deposits are generally sandy, and wave action and the northward sweep of the Gulf Stream ocean current have reworked the material into the fine beaches of the region and have given the Cape its distinctive shape. Soils are exceedingly sandy and of little agricultural use.
The Seaboard Lowland provides a transition to the hillier areas of the interior. In this region softer sedimentary and metamorphic rocks are more often than not buried by glacial debris. Occasional undulations in the underlying bedrock produce low hills in areas where the cover of glacial drift is thin. Between the hills the cover of glacial drift is thicker, and in some areas, especially around Wareham, depressions in the deposits are now important cranberry bogs. In the Boston area are some beautiful elongated hills, called drumlins, which are features of a glacial origin. Perhaps the most famous of these drumlins is Bunker Hill.
The Seaboard Lowland grades almost imperceptibly into the New England Upland, a region that dominates most of New England and in Massachusetts is divided into two parts by the Connecticut Valley Lowland. In the upland the rocks are harder and therefore have better resisted erosion. The undulating hilly landscape is veneered with a thin covering of generally infertile glacial deposits. The upland is, for the most part, smoother in the east and south and rougher in the west and north. Wachusett Mountain (611 m/2,006 ft) is a striking summit rising above the hilltops in central Massachusetts. It is a geological feature called a monadnock.
The state’s fourth major region, the Connecticut Valley Lowland, contains red sandstones and shales that have been worn down to a flat plain through millions of years of erosion. Alluvial deposits from the Connecticut River and clays from an ancient glacial lake help to provide a fertile agricultural region. Some drumlins are found in the valley. Occasional linear ridges, such as Mount Tom (366 m/1,202 ft), near Holyoke, are composed of ancient lava flows that have been tilted and then eroded.
The regions of western Massachusetts are complex. The Western New England Upland, as it becomes rougher, grades into the Green Mountains, which are far more pronounced in the north. Here, as in southern Vermont, the region is more a deeply cut plateau than a linear mountain ridge.
Separating the Green Mountains section from the Taconic Mountains is the deep and narrow valley of the Hoosic and Housatonic rivers, the Berkshire Valley. Some patches of dairying remain in the wider southern part of the valley, but most of the area is non-agricultural. The Taconics, lower than in Vermont, contain the highest point in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock.
The Charles River is the longest river wholly within Massachusetts, but the Housatonic and the Connecticut rivers are more important. Disastrous floods have occurred on both, and many communities are protected by elaborate flood-control levées built after the 1936 flooding on the Connecticut River. The Merrimack is an important river of the north-eastern part of the state.
Quabbin Reservoir, on the Swift River in the central part of Massachusetts, is the largest body of fresh water in the state. Wachusett Reservoir, near Worcester, is another big artificial lake. Both are used to supply water to the Boston area.
Massachusetts has a humid continental climate; summers are typically warmer and winters milder than farther north. The western part of the state generally has cooler temperatures than the eastern region. Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, however, usually have cooler summer temperatures because of the moderating effects of the ocean, which also give the region somewhat warmer temperatures in winter. Pittsfield, in the west, has an average annual temperature of about 7.2° C (45° F); Boston, in the east, about 10.8° C (51.5° F); and Nantucket, about 9.7° C (49.5° F). The recorded temperature in Massachusetts has ranged from -37.2° C (-35° F), in 1981 at Chester in the west, to 41.7° C (107° F), in 1975 in New Bedford, in the south-east, and Chester.
The coastal areas are prone to severe storms, known as north-easters, and to occasional hurricanes. The state is usually struck by several tornadoes each year; a particularly damaging tornado battered the Worcester area in 1953.
C Plants and Animals
Forests cover about 55 per cent of the land area of Massachusetts. Typical trees are birch, beech, maple, oak, larch, white and red pine, and hemlock. Other plants include rhododendron, bloodroot, wild columbine, arbutis, violets, azaleas, and mountain laurel.
Animals abound in Massachusetts. The white-tailed deer is the largest game animal; small mammals include skunk, raccoon, beaver, weasel, opossum, grey and red squirrel, woodchuck, fox, and rabbit. Among the state’s freshwater fish are trout, bass, pickerel, and perch. Lobsters, clams, scallops, bluefish, cod, herring, and flounder are some of the species inhabiting the state’s marine waters.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
The limited mineral resources of Massachusetts include coal and building materials such as granite and marble, basalt, sand and gravel, clay, peat, and lime. The most valuable agricultural crops are greenhouse and nursery products, cranberries, hay, apples, tobacco, potatoes, and other vegetables. Principal livestock products are dairy items, eggs, beef cattle, pigs, turkeys, and sheep.
Fishing is of considerable importance. In the late 1980s the annual fish catch was valued at $273 million, the second highest (after Alaska) in the United States. Principal species of fish landed are cod, flounder, haddock, hake, pollack, swordfish, tuna, scallops, clams, shrimp, and lobster.
Massachusetts is one of the leading US states in manufacturing. The principal products are industrial machinery such as textile-, shoe-, and paper-making machinery, office equipment, and engines; electronic equipment, especially high-technology electronic components; and precision instruments, notably scientific measuring devices. Other major manufactured products include textiles, clothing, metal, paper and paper products, processed food, footwear, and printed materials.
According to the 1990 census, Massachusetts had 6,016,425 inhabitants, an increase of 4.9 per cent over 1980. The population estimate for 1997 was 6,117,520, showing a reversion to the trend of slow population growth established in the 1970s. The average population density in 1990 was 296 people per sq km (768 per sq mi); higher population concentrations were found in the eastern third of the state, where most of the people lived. Whites made up 89.8 per cent of the population (down from 93.5 per cent in 1980) and blacks 5 per cent; additional groups included 53,792 people of Chinese ancestry, 19,719 Asian Indians, 15,449 people of Vietnamese background, 14,050 people of Cambodian origin, 11,857 Native Americans, and 11,744 people of Korean descent. More than 287,000 Massachusetts residents claimed Latino ancestry, double the number in 1980.
A Education and Culture
The first state school in the United States colonies, the Boston Latin School, was opened by the Puritans in 1635. In 1647 the Massachusetts Bay Colony government required that towns containing 100 families or more have a school. In 1821 the first state high school in the United States, English High School, in Boston, was opened, and in 1852 Massachusetts became the first state to pass legislation making school attendance mandatory. During the late 1830s and 1840s Horace Mann had done much to improve education in the state.
In the late 1980s Massachusetts had 1,817 state elementary and secondary schools with a combined annual enrolment of some 590,200 elementary pupils and 235,350 secondary students. In the mid-1990s Massachusetts spent about US$6,360 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of about US$5,310. Massachusetts is known for its excellent private schools, and about 108,600 students attended non-state schools. The oldest and one of the most highly respected institutions of higher education in the United States, Harvard University, in Cambridge, was founded in 1636. In the mid-1990s Massachusetts had 117 institutions of higher education with a combined enrolment of about 426,600 students per year. Among the most notable of these institutions, besides Harvard, were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1865) and Radcliffe College (1879), in Cambridge; Tufts University (1852), in Medford; Boston University (1839), in Boston; Boston College (1863), in Chestnut Hill; Clark University (1887) and the College of the Holy Cross (1843), in Worcester; and the University of Massachusetts (1863), with campuses in Amherst and Boston.
Some of the finest art museums in the United States are in Massachusetts. These include the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, known for its American, European, and Asian treasures; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in Boston, noted for its holdings of Italian Renaissance art; the Worcester Art Museum, in Worcester; the Fogg Art Museum and the Busch-Reisinger Museum of Harvard University, in Cambridge; and the Addison Gallery of American Art, in Andover. Also of note are the De Cordova and Dana Museum, in Lincoln; the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, and the Museum of Science, in Boston.
The first library in the US colonies was established in 1638, when John Harvard donated his collection of books to Harvard College. The library has since amassed more than 11 million volumes. The Boston Public Library and the Boston Athenaeum also house important collections of books. The John F. Kennedy Library, in Boston, contains papers of President Kennedy and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, a US Attorney-General and senator.
B Places of Interest
Attractions include the summer holiday areas of Cape Cod and nearby Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island, and the many historical sites, some commemorating colonial days and the revolutionary war period. Among the most famous are Plymouth Rock, where the Pilgrims are said to have landed in 1620, and Plimoth Plantation, a reconstruction of the first Pilgrim community, in Plymouth; Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, including a recreation of the first integrated iron works in North America (begun 1646); Boston National Historical Park, encompassing several noted buildings such as Faneuil Hall and Old North Church; and Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Among the many historical homes in Massachusetts are those of Paul Revere, in Boston; Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, in Lynn; the poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Concord; and the poet Emily Dickinson, in Amherst. Adams National Historic Site, in Quincy, includes the home of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams as well as other noted members of the Adams family, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, in Brookline, contains the birthplace of President Kennedy.
C Sports and Recreation
Massachusetts’s ocean coastline, rivers, lakes, and mountains provide ample opportunity for swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, golf, and winter sports. Cape Cod National Seashore includes ocean beaches and duneland.
D Government and Politics
Massachusetts is governed under a constitution adopted in 1780, as amended. The chief executive is a governor, who is popularly elected to a four-year term and may be re-elected any number of times. Other elected state officials in Massachusetts include the lieutenant-governor, secretary of the commonwealth, Attorney-General, treasurer and receiver-general, and the auditor of the commonwealth.
Legislative authority is vested in the bicameral Massachusetts General Court, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 40 members of the Senate and the 160 members of the House are popularly elected to serve two-year terms.
At a national level, Massachusetts elects two senators and ten representatives to the US Congress. The state has 12 electoral votes in presidential elections.
In presidential elections since the 1930s, Massachusetts voters have usually supported the Democratic nominee. The Kennedy family—including John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States (1961-1963), and Edward M. Kennedy, a US senator—has played a leading role in state politics.
Before the arrival of English settlers, six major Native American groupings lived in what is now Massachusetts: the Massachuset people, the Wampanoag south of Boston, the Nauset on Cape Cod, the Pennacook and Nipmuc in northern Massachusetts, and the Pocumtuc in the Connecticut River valley.
Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing in the service of France, explored the Massachusetts coast in 1524, but no settlement resulted from his voyage. In the early 1600s two Englishmen made important explorations: Bartholomew Gosnold landed at Provincetown on Cape Cod in 1602, and Captain John Smith sailed along the coast in 1614. Smith gave New England its name and later wrote a travel account that contributed greatly to further explorations.
A Colonial Massachusetts
The colonial period of Massachusetts’s history began when the Pilgrims—members of a dissident religious community that had broken away from the Church of England—landed at Plymouth on December 21, 1620. Theirs was the first permanent settlement by Europeans in Massachusetts. Even before they set foot on shore, the Pilgrims made history by drawing up the famous Mayflower Compact (see Mayflower) that established a theoretical framework for the government of the Plymouth Colony.
Within a decade English people began to swarm into Massachusetts. New settlements appeared around Plymouth. In the late 1620s settlers arrived in the Boston area. These were Puritans, religious dissenters who, like the Pilgrims, were dissatisfied with the religious atmosphere in England. In 1630 a fleet of ships brought over a thousand Puritan settlers led by John Winthrop, beginning what is called the Great Migration. These settlers founded the towns of Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Lynn, Medford, Roxbury, and Watertown, which became the heartland of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
As the coastal settlements expanded, relations with the once-friendly Native Americans began to crumble. In 1637 Massachusetts and Connecticut settlers joined in a war against the Pequot people of Connecticut that virtually annihilated the tribe. In King Philip’s War (1675-1676) the English destroyed the Wampanoag and their allies, the Narragansett of Rhode Island.
Massachusetts’s charter was revoked by King Charles II in 1684, but eight years later Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay were united under a new charter granted by William and Mary (see William III (of England, Scotland, and Ireland)). The colony figured prominently in the French and Indian War and was mainly responsible for the successful New England expedition against the French at Louisbourg (1745).
B Revolutionary and Early National Periods
Massachusetts also led colonial resistance to British taxation in the years before the American War of Independence. The Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770), in which British troops killed five colonial taunters, was a great stimulant for revolution. Three years later, in the famous Boston Tea Party, townsmen disguised as Native Americans and led by the fiery Samuel Adams dumped a cargo of British tea into Boston Harbor. This militant action further fanned the flames of rebellion.
In April 1775 the American War of Independence broke out at Lexington Green when a band of Massachusetts militiamen resolutely challenged a British force searching for munitions. Lexington was followed by the battle at the North Bridge in nearby Concord, where the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired. Lexington and Concord became symbols of resistance for the Americans as the war erupted in full fury.
One of the most dramatic events of the war was the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 1775), in Boston, in which the British were defeated by a colonial force under George Washington. After the British evacuated Boston in March 1776, no further fighting took place in Massachusetts.
In the early national period, Massachusetts underwent a profound economic revolution. Freed from British restraints, its ships and sailors roamed the world, opening up new trade routes and carrying goods from nation to nation. The state’s maritime interests opposed the War of 1812 as a hindrance to trade. The Federalist Party served as their voice, and even secession from the Union was considered. Only the threat of a direct attack by the British could stimulate Massachusetts into a patriotic posture.
C 19th Century
After the war, overseas trade resumed, and Massachusetts became an important industrial state, manufacturing textiles and shoes. What set Massachusetts apart from the other north-eastern states was the emergence of a remarkably talented group of men and women who became national figures in a wide spectrum of activity, from art to literature to social reform. These included the writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, and Herman Melville; the anti-slavery leaders William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips; the architect Henry Hobson Richardson; the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes; the historians Francis Parkman, Henry Adams, and William Hickling Prescott; the sculptor Horatio Greenough; the painter John Singer Sargent; and the reformers Horace Mann, Dorothea Dix, and Lucy Stone. It was an amazing galaxy of talent for so small a state. Perhaps the key to this powerful intellectual group was the Massachusetts educational system, one of the strongest in the nation.
D 20th Century
Modern Massachusetts is a pluralistic commonwealth that continues to undergo changes. Its economy has been transformed and highly diversified in the past few decades. The decline of the once powerful textile and leather industries from the Great Depression to the post-World War II era was a severe economic setback. The later explosive growth of high-technology industry has more than compensated for the earlier decline, however. The greater Boston area, in particular, has become an important scientific centre, with many firms exploring the possible applications of new discoveries in nuclear physics, computers, differential analysers, and other highly technical devices and machines. Although many of its old, family-owned firms have merged into national corporations, Massachusetts continues to spawn new companies at a high rate. Its economy remains vibrant and creative.
Like most highly urbanized, industrialized states, Massachusetts is also affected by a host of new economic and social problems: air pollution, energy needs, inadequate mass transport, toxic wastes, racial unrest, and tensions in both housing and schooling. With urbanization continuing at a relentless rate, these basic problems are certain to persist into the future.
Rhode Island, in full, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, one of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts; on the south by Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound (arms of the Atlantic Ocean); and on the west by Connecticut. Narragansett Bay deeply indents the south-eastern part of the state. The Pawcatuck River forms part of the south-western boundary.
Rhode Island entered the Union on May 29, 1790, as the last of the 13 original states (although it had been the first to declare independence in 1776). One of the first non-Native American settlers in the area of Rhode Island had been the religious leader Roger Williams, who in 1636 founded Providence, now the state capital. In the late 18th century the first US textile mill driven by water-power was built in Rhode Island. In the early 1990s manufacturing was the state’s second leading economic activity, exceeded only by the service sector. The origin of the state’s name is unclear; it may refer to the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea or derive from a Dutch word meaning “red”. Rhode Island is known as the “Ocean State” or “Little Rhody”. Its major cities are Providence (the capital), Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, and East Providence.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
With an area of 3,188 sq km (1,231 sq mi), Rhode Island is the smallest US state; about 0.7 per cent of its land area is owned by the federal government. The state is roughly rectangular; its extreme north to south distance is 98 km (61 mi), and its extreme east to west distance is 64 km (40 mi). Elevations range from sea level to 247 m (812 ft), from the top of Jerimoth Hill in the north-west. Rhode Island includes about 35 islands, most of which are in Narragansett Bay in the south-east. Larger islands are Rhode Island (Aquidneck), Conanicut Island, Prudence Island, and Block Island (New Shoreham). The state has a coastline of 64 km (40 mi) and a 618-km (384-mi) tidal shoreline, which takes in land bordering tidal inlets as well as coasts of islands.
A Physical Geography
The landscape of Rhode Island can be divided into two major regions: the Seaboard Lowland, which includes the Atlantic coast area and the Narragansett Lowland or Basin, and the Eastern New England Upland, in the west. Both regions, which extend into other New England states, have relatively infertile soil.
Facing the Atlantic in Rhode Island is a nearly unbroken line of beaches, behind which lie many salt marshes and low hills. The whole coast is part of a belt of glacially deposited hills reworked by wave action into the many fine beaches. Some sandy areas also characterize the islands in Narragansett Bay. Away from the Atlantic, most of the Seaboard Lowland is somewhat flatter and is largely a sandy plain composed of materials spread out in front of retreating ice sheets. Occasional depressions in the sand, such as Lonsdale and Hammond ponds, mark the places where large masses of glacial ice were detached from the main glacier, became buried, and then melted to form kettle holes in which the lakes are now located. Most of the sedimentary rocks that underlie the Seaboard Lowland region are deeply buried by the glacial deposits.
The Eastern New England Upland in Rhode Island, a region of low hills and a few small lakes, is composed of metamorphic and granitic rocks thinly covered with a mixture of sand, clay, and boulders called glacial till. In some places the veneer of glacial deposits has been removed by erosion.
Chief rivers include the Providence and Seekonk system and the Sakonnet, which form part of Narragansett Bay; the Blackstone, the waters of which enter the Seekonk; the Hunt, Pawtuxet, Pettaquamscutt, Potowomut, and Woonasquatucket, which flow into Narragansett Bay; and the Pawcatuck, which enters Block Island Sound. The state has many small natural lakes and ponds. The biggest body of fresh water is Scituate Reservoir, formed by Kent Dam on the Pawtuxet River. Also sizeable are Flat River Reservoir and Watchaug and Worden ponds.
The climate of Rhode Island is milder than that of the other New England states, with few extremes of heat or cold. Summer temperatures are moderated by proximity to the ocean, though winters are relatively cold. Providence has an average January temperature of about -2° C (28° F) and an average July temperature of about 22° C (72° F); Block Island has a mean January temperature of about -1° C (31° F) and a mean July temperature of about 21° C (70° F). The recorded temperature in Rhode Island has ranged from -30.6° C (-23° F), in 1942 at Kingston, to 40° C (104° F), in 1975 at Providence. Coastal areas are occasionally struck by damaging hurricanes.
C Plants and Animals
At least 60 different species of common trees grow in Rhode Island, including pin oak, tulip, ash, hickory, elm, maple, willow, poplar, Atlantic white cedar, birch, and sugar maple. Altogether, about 58 per cent of Rhode Island’s land area is covered with forest. Seaweed grows profusely in coastal areas. Flowering plants in the state include azalea, dogwood, blue gentian, iris, lily, and orchid.
Among the widespread mammals of Rhode Island are white-tailed deer, beaver, otter, rabbit, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, and woodchuck. Sealife includes large numbers of swordfish, bass, bluefish, mackerel, flounder, tuna, jellyfish, and clams. Freshwater fish include bass, perch, pike, and trout. The state of Rhode Island has many birds, including the blue jay, owl, robin, duck, partridge, pheasant, quail, ruffed grouse, gull, and tern.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
Rhode Island’s yearly mineral output is worth only about $11 million. Leading products are limestone, granite, sand and gravel, and gemstones. Rhode Island has a small farming sector. Leading farm commodities are greenhouse and nursery items, dairy products, eggs, potatoes, hay, apples, beef cattle, pigs, and chicken.
There is an insignificant forestry industry, but fishing—with an annual catch worth about $75 million—is of some importance; the main species landed include flounder, lobster, clam, squid, scallop, butterfish, bluefish, tuna, scup, cod, herring, and whiting.
Manufacturing accounts for about 21 per cent of the annual gross state product. The state’s chief products are metals, precision instruments, clothing and textiles, printed materials and plastic items, industrial machinery, electronic goods, transport equipment, chemicals, and processed foods.
According to the 1990 census, Rhode Island had 1,003,464 inhabitants, an increase of 5.9 per cent over 1980. The estimated population for 1997, however, showed a fall-back to 987,429. The average population density in 1990 was 315 people per sq km (815 per sq mi), the second highest density in the United States. Whites made up 91.4 per cent of the population and blacks 3.9 per cent; additional population groups included some 3,987 Native Americans, 3,655 people of Cambodian ancestry, 3,170 people of Chinese background, and 2,579 people of Laotian origin. Approximately 45,750 people were of Latino background.
A Education and Culture
A free school was opened in Newport in 1640. A statewide state school system in Rhode Island was initially established in 1800; although abolished in 1803, it was re-established in 1828. In the late 1980s Rhode Island had 294 state elementary and secondary schools, with an annual enrolment of about 98,400 elementary pupils and 37,300 secondary students. In addition, some 19,900 students attended Roman Catholic and other private schools; noted private college-preparatory schools are the Moses Brown School, in Providence, and Portsmouth Abbey School, in Portsmouth. In the mid-1990s Rhode Island had 14 institutions of higher education. These institutions included Brown University (1764), Johnson and Wales University (1914), Providence College (1917), Rhode Island College (1854), and Rhode Island School of Design (1877), all in Providence; and the University of Rhode Island (1892), in Kingston. In the mid-1990s Rhode Island spent about US$6,410 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of about US$5,310.
Some of Rhode Island’s prominent museums are in Providence and Newport. In the former city are the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Rhode Island Historical Society museum, and in the latter are the Naval War College museum, the Newport Historical Society museum, and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, with displays of US art. Also of interest are the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, in Bristol; the Museum of Primitive Culture, in Peace Dale; and the Western Rhode Island Civic Historical Society museum, in Washington.
B Places of Interest
Of particular historical interest in Rhode Island are two Newport buildings: the Friends Meetinghouse (begun 1699) and Touro Synagogue National Historical Site, encompassing the oldest synagogue (built in 1763) in the United States There are many other colonial structures throughout the state, and Newport contains a number of opulent 19th-century mansions such as The Breakers (1895). The birthplace of the 18th-century portrait painter Gilbert Stuart is in Saunderstown, and the homestead of the American War of Independence general Nathanael Greene is in Anthony.
C Sports and Recreation
Rhode Island offers varied opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, and other water-related activities. Golf, tennis, and horse riding are also popular sports. Diamond Hill State Park, near Woonsocket, has skiing facilities. The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum is in Newport.
D Government and Politics
Rhode Island is governed under a constitution adopted in 1843, as amended. The chief executive is a governor, who is popularly elected to a four-year term and may serve an unlimited number of terms. Also elected to four-year terms are the lieutenant-governor, Attorney-General, treasurer, and the Secretary of State.
Legislative authority is vested in a General Assembly, consisting of a 50-member Senate and a 100-member House of Representatives. Members of both houses are popularly elected to two-year terms.
At a national level, Rhode Island is represented in the US Congress by two senators and two representatives. The state casts four electoral votes in presidential elections.
From the 1850s to 1933, the governorship of Rhode Island was held mostly by Republicans. Since then, Democrats have generally been in power and have held a commanding lead in elections for Rhode Island’s seats in the US Senate and House of Representatives. The state is solidly Democratic in presidential voting.
The Native American tribes of the Narragansett Bay area before the coming of the Europeans included the Niantic, the Nipmuc, the Wampanoag, and the dominant Narragansett.
A Exploration and Settlement
The English, who established settlements around Massachusetts Bay beginning in 1620, moved south into the Narragansett country in the following decade. Roger Williams, a minister expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of his religious views, founded the town of Providence on land purchased from the Narragansett in 1636. Other religious dissidents from Massachusetts settled at Portsmouth (1638), Newport (1639), and Warwick (1643). Massachusetts claimed sovereignty over portions of Rhode Island in the 1630s and 1640s, but in 1644 Williams acquired a charter from the English parliament that recognized the four new settlements as the separate colony of Providence Plantations. Quakers (see Friends, Society of) seeking freedom of worship began arriving in significant numbers in the 1650s and 1660s, and Jewish immigrants from Barbados settled in Newport. In 1663, King Charles II gave a new charter to the colony—now called Rhode Island—guaranteeing religious liberty and establishing the boundaries that exist today. In 1675-1676 Rhode Island joined with the other New England colonies to defeat the Narragansett and Wampanoag in King Philip’s War (see Philip (Native American Chief)).
B American War of Independence
In the 18th century, Rhode Island prospered as an exporter of naval stores, molasses, preserved meats, cider, and dairy products. Rhode Islanders were active in whaling and the slave trade, and Newport became one of the leading commercial centres in British America. The fortunes of many of the town’s merchants depended on smuggling, and when the British government began to enforce trade restrictions in the 1760s, Rhode Island immediately felt the effects—one of the first acts of resistance preceding the American War of Independence took place on the shores of Narragansett Bay. Rhode Island also paved the way for the convening of the First Continental Congress. When Massachusetts rose in rebellion in 1775, Rhode Island sent 1,000 militiamen to aid the rebels and organized a naval force to do battle with British vessels blockading Newport Harbor. As early as May 1776, the colonial assembly approved a measure to abrogate its allegiance to the Crown, and its representatives signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4. The British occupied Newport from December 1776 to October 1779, repulsing a combined French and American attack in 1778. In 1780 and 1781 the town was the headquarters of the French army serving under Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau.
Having successfully thwarted England’s efforts at regulating its monetary policies and trade, Rhode Island was reluctant to surrender self-regulation to the federal government after independence, but the state finally ratified the US Constitution in May 1790. A gradual emancipation act adopted in 1784 began the process of eliminating slavery. Most blacks were free after 1807, but segregation continued.
C The 19th Century
During the early 19th century the state’s seafaring merchants traded in the Baltic, China, India, and the East Indies, and, beginning in the 1840s, with the Pacific coast of the United States. The War of 1812 was followed by a shift from commerce to industry, and textile manufacture became dominant. With the shift to industrialization and banking activities, Providence displaced Newport as the most important city. Economic growth encouraged immigration and urbanization, but newcomers found themselves disenfranchised under the existing charter of 1663, which limited suffrage to landowners. A revised constitution in 1843 gave the newly industrialized centres increased representation but disenfranchised the foreign-born. Rhode Island sympathized with the South’s position in the period before the American Civil War, but in 1860 cast its vote for Abraham Lincoln in an effort to maintain the Union. Following the close of the Civil War, business interests dominated state politics and cast a particular glow over a revived Newport as a favoured summer resort of the wealthy. An important state and national figure was the Republican Nelson W. Aldrich, who rose from humble beginnings to become a US senator and was recognized as the political boss of the Senate at the turn of the century.
D The 20th Century
The composition of the population underwent a dramatic transformation by 1900. The old Yankee stock was replaced by Irish, French-Canadians, Italians, and Portuguese. The Republicans maintained control over state affairs until the rise of ethnic involvement in state government in the 20th century. By the 1920s the Democrats had made inroads in the Republican-controlled state legislature. This produced a bitter power struggle and eventually a swing towards Democratic control of city and state affairs.
The economic damage caused by the Great Depression was never fully repaired. Rhode Island in the early 1980s had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The economy improved later in the decade, as increases in the government and service sectors offset a continued decline in the textile industry. In the early 1990s, however, the insolvency of several state-insured banks and credit unions led to another economic crisis.
Connecticut (state), southernmost of the New England states of the United States, bordered on the north by Massachusetts; on the east by Rhode Island; on the south by Long Island Sound; and on the west by New York State.
Known as the “Constitution State”, because its delegates played a crucial role in drawing up the US Constitution at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Connecticut entered the Union on January 9, 1788, as the fifth of the original 13 states. By the mid-19th century the state’s economy was dominated by manufacturing, and Hartford, its capital, had become one of the chief centres of the US insurance industry. In the early 1990s Connecticut was particularly noted for producing aircraft engines, helicopters, submarines, and firearms. The state’s name is derived from an Algonquian term probably meaning “beside the long tidal river”, referring to the Connecticut River. Its major cities are Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, and Stamford.
II LAND AND RESOURCES
With an area of 14,359 sq km (5,544 sq mi), Connecticut is the third-smallest state in the United States; 0.4 per cent of its land area is owned by the federal government. The state has a rectangular shape, and its extreme dimensions are about 163 km (101 mi) from east to west and about 117 km (73 mi) from north to south. The surface of Connecticut increases gradually from sea level along Long Island Sound, in the south, to a high point of 725 m (2,380 ft) in the north-west, on the southern slope of Mount Frissell. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 152 m (500 ft). Its coastline on Long Island Sound is 995 km (618 mi) long.
A Physical Geography
Connecticut has five major landform regions: the Taconic Mountains in the north-west; the Connecticut Valley Lowland in the centre; the Coastal Lowlands; the Western New England Upland; and the Eastern New England Upland.
Underlain by metamorphic rocks, the Taconic Mountains contain steep slopes and narrow valleys; soils are relatively infertile. The state’s highest elevations are here.
The Connecticut Valley Lowland is a river valley that extends north into Massachusetts. Some 40 to 56 km (25 to 35 mi) wide in Connecticut, the valley rises from the river in a series of low terraces to form a smooth, level plain of rich, fertile soils.
The Western New England Upland rises gradually from low elevations in the south to nearly 460 m (about 1,500 ft) in the north. Its surface varies from rolling to hilly. The Eastern New England Upland is considerably lower, with maximum elevations seldom higher than about 215 m (700 ft). Relief is less striking, with the terrain best described as rolling to somewhat hilly. Continental glaciation left both the Western Upland and the Eastern Upland covered with acidic soils and numerous boulders.
The principal rivers are the Connecticut, the Housatonic, and the Thames. Connecticut’s lakes are generally small bodies of water formed by glacial action. Most of the lakes, including the largest, are in the Western New England Upland. The two largest bodies of water are both artificial: Lake Candlewood, near Danbury, and Barkhamsted Reservoir, in the north.
Connecticut has a humid continental climate. The average yearly temperature along the coast is 10.6° C (51° F), and in the north-west it is 7.2° C (45° F); for most of the rest of the state the yearly mean temperature ranges between 8.3° C and 9.4° C (47° F and 49° F). The recorded temperature in Connecticut has ranged from -35.6° C (-32° F), in 1943 at Falls Village, to 40.6° C (105° F), in 1926 at Waterbury. Violent storms are rare, but several hurricanes have struck along the coast. A tornado, rare for this region, touched down north of Hartford in 1979 and caused extensive damage.
C Plants and Animals
About 56 per cent of Connecticut is wooded and typical trees include northern hardwoods such as beech, birch, maple, and oak.
Principal mammals are deer, rabbit, squirrel, fox, chipmunk, otter, and woodchuck. Among the larger game birds are pheasant, grouse, and duck. Other birds include robin, bluejay, woodpecker, crow, warbler, and sparrow. Clams, oysters, striped bass, and bluefish are found in the marine waters of Long Island Sound, and shad, perch, pickerel, bass, and trout inhabit the freshwater rivers and lakes.
D Resources, Products, and Industries
Connecticut’s mineral deposits are limited, and include iron ore, copper, tungsten, lead, and silver. The principal minerals of economic value in the 1990s were stone, sand, gravel, lime, and clay.
Major agricultural products are chicken eggs, dairy products, beef cattle, hay, apples, vegetables, and tobacco. Fishing is of relatively little importance, although there is some oystering in Long Island Sound.
In the 1990s the leading industry in Connecticut was the manufacture of transport equipment, particularly aircraft (including helicopters), aircraft parts, ships, and submarines. Other leading industries included manufacture of precision instruments and industrial machinery; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; and fabricated metals, including small arms and hand tools.
According to the 1990 census, Connecticut had 3,287,116 ininhabitants, an increase of 5.8 per cent from 1980. The population estimate for 1997 was 3,269,858. The average population density in 1990 was 229 people per sq km (593 per sq mi), making Connecticut one of the most densely populated states in the United States. Whites made up 87 per cent of the population and blacks 8.3 per cent; additional groups included 11,755 people of Asian Indian ancestry, 11,082 people of Chinese extraction, 6,472 Native Americans, 5,160 people of Filipino descent, and 5,126 people of Korean background. Some 213,100 people were of Latino ancestry.
A Education and Culture
The state school system in Connecticut was established in 1650 with the passage of a law that required towns with more than 50 families to maintain an elementary school and towns with more than 100 families to maintain a secondary school as well. In the late 1980s Connecticut had approximately 985 public elementary and secondary schools. About 338,400 pupils were enrolled each year in elementary schools, and about 123,200 students attended secondary schools. In addition, some 58,700 students were enrolled in private schools. In the mid-1990s Connecticut spent about US$7,560 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of about US$5,310
In 1701 the Collegiate School, later to become Yale University, was founded in Branford. Yale was opened in Killingworth (now Clinton) in 1702, and was later relocated to Saybrook (now Old Saybrook) and then to Milford before finally settling at New Haven, its present location, in 1716. In the mid-1990s Connecticut had 42 institutions of higher education; among the most notable, besides Yale, were the University of Connecticut (1881), in Storrs, and Trinity College (1823), in Hartford.
Connecticut houses a wide diversity of cultural institutions, including the oldest free public art museum in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum (1842), in Hartford. Other noteworthy museums are the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art and British Studies, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, all in New Haven; the Shoreline Trolley Museum, in East Haven; the American Clock and Watch Museum, in Bristol; the P. T. Barnum Museum, in Bridgeport, featuring displays on circus history; and the Connecticut Historical Society museum, in Hartford.
B Places of Interest
Popular attractions include Gillette State Park, in Haddam; Hammonassett Beach State Park, in Madison; Sherwood Island Park, in Westport; and Dinosaur State Park, in Rocky Hill. There are also many historical sites commemorating Native American groups or events of the American War of Independence. Fort Shantok State Park, near Norwich, includes the site of an old Mohegan (Mohican) village; Groton Monument, in Groton, honours revolutionary war patriots killed by the British; and the Nathan Hale Homestead, in South Coventry, exhibits furnishings of the famous American revolutionary officer’s family. Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, features a re-creation of a 19th-century whaling town.
C Sports and Recreation
Connecticut’s recreational activities encompass many outdoor sports. The coastline along Long Island Sound is noted for its beaches and boating and fishing facilities, and the state’s rivers and woods attract many fishers and hunters. Lime Rock is a motor-racing centre, and the state contains several popular ski areas.
D Government and Politics
Connecticut is governed under a constitution adopted in 1965, as amended. The chief executive is a governor, who is popularly elected to a four-year term. No specified limit is put on the number of terms a governor may serve. The same conditions apply to the lieutenant-governor, who succeeds the governor should the latter resign, die, or be removed from office. Also elected to the state’s executive department are the Secretary of State, Attorney-General, treasurer, and comptroller.
Legislative authority is vested in a bicameral General Assembly that is divided into a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 36 members of the Senate and 151 members of the House are popularly elected to two-year terms. Special sessions of the General Assembly may be called by the governor or by a majority of each chamber of the state legislature.
At a national level, Connecticut elects two senators and six representatives to the US Congress. The state has eight electoral votes in presidential elections.
In both state and national elections, Republican candidates were more often victorious from the 1850s to the 1930s. By the mid-20th century the Democrats had gained in strength; during the 1950s and 1960s the state party organization played an influential role in national Democratic politics. Connecticut’s governors have been predominantly Democratic in recent decades, while in presidential elections the state has tended to favour Republicans. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., was elected governor as an independent in 1990.
The Native Americans who lived in the area before the coming of the Europeans belonged to the Algonquian group. Between 6,000 and 7,000 Native Americans made up the 16 tribes found in Connecticut. With the exception of the Pequots, who resisted European encroachment, Connecticut’s Native Americans dwelt in peace with the settlers. They lived mostly by hunting, gathering, and fishing; their agriculture was limited to raising corn, pumpkins, beans, sweet potatoes, and squash.
A Colonial Period
The Connecticut River valley, first explored by the Dutchman Adriaen Block in 1614, remained a fur-trading area until the mid-1620s, when the Dutch fortified several localities. The Dutch were followed by the English under Edward Winslow of Plymouth, who established a settlement at Windsor in 1635. Interest in the fertile soils and rich timber stands of Connecticut soon spread among the Massachusetts colonists, and many of them moved here. The largest migration, led by the Congregationalist clergyman Thomas Hooker in June 1636, aroused the Pequot people, and they were subsequently exterminated in a war with the settlers (1636-1637).
Under a Massachusetts General Court decree of March 1636, Connecticut settlers were able to create a form of self-government that continued until supplemented by the Fundamental Orders of 1639, which remained the basis for government until the colony was reorganized by the royal charter of 1662.
In 1685 Connecticut authorities were informed by King James II that the colony was scheduled for inclusion in a newly formed Dominion of New England. When the royal governor, Edmund Andros, appeared in person in October 1687 to accept the surrender of Connecticut’s charter, the document, according to local legend, was “secreted in a large hollow tree”, the Charter Oak. Connecticut remained part of the dominion until King James was overthrown by the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689.
In the late 17th century and much of the 18th, extensions in the North American colonies of conflicts in Europe brought renewed attacks by Native Americans, now allied with the French. At the beginning of the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War) in 1754, Connecticut settlers organized a subdivision of the colony in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, under Connecticut control until 1786.
B War of Independence and Early National Period
Connecticut vigorously opposed the Stamp Act and figured prominently in the American War of Independence. The colony officially severed its ties with Great Britain in July 1776, and the following October Connecticut became an independent state. More than 40,000 of its men served in the revolutionary army. The British burned Danbury in 1777 and pillaged New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk in 1779. In September 1781, British troops commanded by Benedict Arnold largely destroyed New London and Groton by fire.
The War of 1812 proved unpopular in Connecticut. When Massachusetts issued a call for delegates to gather and oppose the war, Connecticut approved and offered a site for the meeting. The Hartford Convention subsequently urged the adoption of several constitutional amendments curbing the powers of the federal government, but none were adopted.
Connecticut abolished slavery in 1848. In the presidential election of 1860, it supported Abraham Lincoln, and during the American Civil War it supplied both men and ammunition to the Union. The war brought economic prosperity to the state, and the expansion of its industries, banking, and railways also changed the nature of its agricultural pursuits. By the 1870s subsistence farming was giving way to specialization, brought on by urbanization, increased population, industrialization, and competition from farms in the Midwest. Industrialization was accompanied by an influx of immigrants. By 1910 the foreign-born constituted about 30 per cent of the population of 1,114,756, most coming from Ireland, Italy, Russia, Germany, and Austria.
In the 20th century specialized industries that had been established in the state during the 19th century expanded; included were those that produced steel and brass fittings, firearms, silverware, and clocks. Hartford became a leading insurance centre of the United States. Developments after World War II wrought further changes, making the state one of the principal US producers of aircraft parts, submarines, and instruments for the US space programme. The predominance of defence-related industries helped lessen the impact on Connecticut of several nationwide recessions. In the 1980s the state’s income per capita was among the highest in the United States, and its unemployment rate was among the lowest. In the early 1990s, however, the finance, insurance, and property markets were hit hard by recession. To balance the budget, the state was forced, for the first time, to impose a tax on earned income.
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, which allowed them to earn large profits and become an economic force in the area. The Paugussett and Mohegan also sought federal recognition and filed land claims.
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.