State of Connecticut
Flag of Connecticut State seal of Connecticut
Flag of Connecticut Seal of Connecticut
Nickname(s): The Constitution State, The Nutmeg State[1]
Motto(s): Qui transtulit sustinet[1]
Latin meaning "He who is transplanted still sustains"
Map of the United States with Connecticut highlighted
Official language(s) English
Capital Hartford
Largest city Bridgeport[2]
Largest metro area Hartford Metro Area[3]
Area  Ranked 48th in the U.S.
 - Total 5,543[4] sq mi
(14,356 km2)
 - Width 70 miles (113 km)
 - Length 110 miles (177 km)
 - % water 12.6
 - Latitude 40°58′ N to 42°03′ N
 - Longitude 71°47′ W to 73°44′ W
Population  Ranked 29th in the U.S.
 - Total {{{2000Pop}}}
 - Density 702.9/sq mi  (271.40/km2)
Ranked 4th in the U.S.
 - Median household income  $55,970 (4th)
 - Highest point South slope of Mount Frissel[5]
Note: The peak of Mount Frissel
is in Massachusetts
2,380 ft ({{{HighestElev}}} m)
 - Mean 500 ft  (152 m)
 - Lowest point Long Island Sound[5]
sea level
Admission to Union  January 9, 1788 (5th)
Governor M. Jodi Rell (R)
Lieutenant Governor {{{Lieutenant Governor}}}
Legislature {{{Legislature}}}
 - Upper house {{{Upperhouse}}}
 - Lower house {{{Lowerhouse}}}
U.S. Senators Christopher Dodd (D)
Joe Lieberman (ID)
U.S. House delegation List
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations CT. Conn. US-CT

Connecticut (English pronunciation: /kəˈnɛtɪkət/)[6] is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. Southwestern Connecticut is also considered part of the New York metropolitan area. Connecticut is the 29th most populous state with 3.4 million residents and ranked 48th in size by area, making it the 4th most densely populated state.[4]. Called the "Constitution State," Connecticut has a long history dating from the early colonial times, and was influential in the development of early American government.

While Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch, the first major settlements were established in the 1630s by the English. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay colony and founded what would become the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. Both the Connecticut and New Haven Colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the disparate colonies merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This colony was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.

Connecticut enjoys a temperate climate thanks to its long coastline on the Long Island Sound. This has given the state a strong maritime tradition. Modern Connecticut is also known for its wealth. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Connecticut had ready access to raw materials which helped to develop a strong manufacturing industry. In the 19th and 20th centuries, financial organizations flourished: first insurance companies in Hartford, then hedge funds along the Gold Coast. This prosperity has helped give Connecticut the highest per capita income and median household income in the country.[7][8]


Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York State, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital is Hartford, and the other major cities include New Haven, New London, New Britain, Norwich, Milford, Norwalk, Stamford, Waterbury, Danbury and Bridgeport. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut. There is an ongoing civic pride and economic competition between Hartford and New Haven, which stems back to the days when the two cities shared the state's capital, and even back to the rivalry between New Haven Colony and Connecticut Colony.

Bear Mountain, highest peak in Connecticut

The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (42° 3' N; 73° 29' W), on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts.[9]

The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound, Connecticut's outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite its size, the state has regional variations in its landscape and culture from the wealthy estates of Fairfield County's "Gold Coast" to the rolling mountains and horse-farms of the Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut. Connecticut's rural areas and

Highest point in Connecticut on slope of Mount Frissell, as seen from Bear Mountain

small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New Haven, then northwards to Hartford, as well as further up the coast near New London. Many towns center around a small park, known as a "green," (such as the New Haven Green), Litchfield Green, Simsbury Green, and New Milford Green(the largest in the state). Near the green may stand a small white church, a town meeting hall, a tavern and several colonial houses. Forests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and a sandy shore add to the state's beauty.

The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the distinctive Southwick Jog/Granby Notch, an approximately 2.5 mile (4.0 km) square detour into Connecticut slightly west of the center of the border. Somewhat surprisingly, the actual origin of this anomaly is not absolutely certain, with stories ranging from surveyors who were drunk, attempting to avoid hostile Native Americans, or taking a shortcut up the Connecticut River; Massachusetts residents attempting to avoid Massachusetts' high taxes for the low taxes of Connecticut; Massachusetts' interest in the resources represented by the Congamond Lakes which lie on the border of the jog; and the need to compensate Massachusetts for an amount of land given to Connecticut due to inaccurate survey work.[10][11] The dispute over the border slowed development in the region, since neither state would invest in public services for the area until the dispute had been settled.

The southwestern border of Connecticut, where it abuts New York State, is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan and Darien. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 1600s, culminating with New York giving up its claim to this area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield to the Massachusetts border as well as undisputed claim to Rye.[12]

Areas maintained by the National Park Service include: Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor; and Weir Farm National Historic Site.


Connecticut has a Humid Continental Climate, with seasonal extremes tempered by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Winters are cold, with average temperatures ranging from 31 °F (-1 °C) in the southeast to 23 °F (-5 °C) in the northwest in January. The average yearly snowfall is about 25–100" (64–254 cm) across the state, with higher totals in the northwest. Spring has variable temperatures with frequent rainfall. Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, with average highs in New London of 81 °F (27 °C) and 87 °F (31 °C) in Windsor Locks. Fall months are mild, and bring foliage across the state in October and November. During hurricane season, tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region. Thunderstorms are most frequent during the summer, occurring on average 30 times annually. These storms can be severe, though tornadoes are rare.[13]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Connecticut Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bridgeport 37/23 39/25 47/32 57/41 67/51 76/60 82/66 81/65 74/58 63/46 53/38 42/28
Hartford 34/17 38/20 48/28 60/38 72/48 80/57 85/62 82/61 74/52 63/41 51/33 39/23


A map of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies.

The name "Connecticut" originates from the Mohegan word quinnitukqut, meaning "place of long tidal river."[14] The first European explorer in Connecticut was the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block. After he explored this region in 1614, Dutch fur traders sailed up the Connecticut River (Named Versche Rivier by the Dutch) and built a fort at Dutch Point near present-day Hartford, which they called "House of Hope" (Dutch: Huis van Hoop).

John Winthrop, then of Massachusetts, got permission to create a new colony at Old Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635. This was the first of three distinct colonies that later would be combined to make up Connecticut. Saybrook Colony was a direct challenge to Dutch claims. The colony was not more than a small outpost and never matured. In 1644, the Saybrook Colony merged itself into the Connecticut Colony.

The first English settlers came in 1633 and settled Windsor and Wethersfield. However the main body of settlers came in one large group in 1636. The settlers were Puritans from Massachusetts, led by Thomas Hooker. Hooker had been prominent in England, and was a professor of Theology at Cambridge. He was also an important political writer, and made a significant contribution to Constitutional theory. He broke with the political leadership in Massachusetts, and, just as Roger Williams created a new polity in Rhode Island, Hooker and his cohort did the same and established the Connecticut Colony at Hartford in 1636. This was the second of the three colonies.

Because the Dutch were outnumbered by the flood of English settlers from Massachusetts, they left their fort in 1654.

The third colony was founded in March of 1638. New Haven Colony, (originally known as the Quinnipiack Colony), was established by John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton and others at New Haven. The New Haven Colony had its own Constitution, 'The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony' which was signed on June 4, 1639.

Neither the establishment of the Connecticut Colony or the Quinnipiack Colony were done with the sanction of British imperial authorities, and were independent political entities. They naturally were presumptively English, but in a legal sense, they were only secessionist outposts of Massachusetts Bay. In 1662, Winthrop took advantage of this void in political affairs, and obtained in England the charter by which the colonies of Connecticut and Quinnipiack were united. Although Winthrop's charter favored the Connecticut colony, New Haven remained a seat of government with Hartford, until after the American Revolution.

Winthrop was very politically astute, and secured the charter from the newly restored Charles II; who granted the most liberal political terms.

Historically important colonial settlements included:

Windsor (1633),
Wethersfield (1634),
Saybrook (1635),
Hartford (1636),
New Haven (1638),
Fairfield (1639),
Stratford (1639),
New London (1646),
Middletown (1647)

Its first constitution, the "Fundamental Orders," was adopted on January 14, 1639, while its current constitution, the third for Connecticut, was adopted in 1965. Connecticut is the fifth of the original thirteen states. The original constitutions influenced the US Constitution as one of the leading authors was Roger Sherman of New Haven.

The western boundaries of Connecticut have been subject to change over time. According to a 1650 agreement with the Dutch, the western boundary of Connecticut ran north from the west side of Greenwich Bay "provided the said line come not within 10 miles [16 km] of Hudson River." On the other hand, Connecticut's original Charter in 1662 granted it all the land to the "South Sea," i.e. the Pacific Ocean. Most colonial royal grants were for long east-west strips. Connecticut took its grant seriously, and established a ninth county between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, named Westmoreland County. This resulted in the brief Pennamite Wars with Pennsylvania. Connecticut's lands also extended across northern Ohio, called the Western Reserve lands. The Western Reserve section was settled largely by people from Connecticut, and they brought Connecticut place names to Ohio. Agreements with Pennsylvania and New York extinguished the land claims by Connecticut within its neighbors, and the Western Reserve lands were relinquished to the federal government, which brought the state to its present boundaries.

Names and symbols

Connecticut's official nickname, adopted in 1959, is "The Constitution State," based on its colonial constitution of 1638–39.[1] Unofficially (but popularly) Connecticut is also known as "The Nutmeg State".[1] The nutmeg connection to Connecticut may come from its sailors returning from voyages with nutmeg (which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a very valuable spice in New England). It is also said to come from Yankee peddlers from Connecticut who would sell small carved nobs of wood shaped to look like nutmeg to unsuspecting customers.[15] George Washington gave Connecticut the title of "The Provisions State"[1] because of the material aid the state rendered to the Revolutionary War effort. Connecticut is also known as "The Land of Steady Habits".[1]

According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 1993, a person who is a native or resident of Connecticut is a "Connecticuter". There are numerous other terms coined in print, but not in use, such as: "Connecticotian" - Cotton Mather in 1702. "Connecticutensian" - Samuel Peters in 1781. "Nutmegger" is sometimes used,[16] as is "Yankee" (the official State Song is "Yankee Doodle"), though this usually refers someone from the wider New England region.[17] Linguist Allen Walker Read reports a more playful term, 'connecticutie.' The traditional abbreviation of the state's name is "Conn."; the official postal abbreviation is CT.

Commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service with Connecticut themes include Nathan Hale, Eugene O'Neill, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Noah Webster, Eli Whitney, the whaling ship the Charles W. Morgan which is docked in Mystic Seaport, and a decoy of a broadbill duck.

The Charter Oak

The USS Nautilus

Connecticut state insignia and historical figures[1], except where noted
State tree White Oak; or more specifically, the Charter Oak
State bird American Robin
State flower Mountain Laurel
State insect European Mantis
State animal Sperm Whale
State mineral Garnet
State shellfish Eastern Oyster
State fish American Shad
State fossil Eubrontes giganteus
State ship USS Nautilus
State flagship and tall ship ambassador Freedom Schooner Amistad
State aircraft F4U Corsair
State tartan visible here
State song Yankee Doodle
State folk dance Square dance
State cantata The Nutmeg
State hero Nathan Hale
State heroine Prudence Crandall
State composer Charles Edward Ives
State statues in Statuary Hall Roger Sherman and Jonathan Trumbull[18]
State poet laureate John Hollander
Connecticut State Troubadour Pierce Campbell[19]
State composer laureate Jacob Druckman


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 237,946
1800 251,002 5.5%
1810 261,942 4.4%
1820 275,248 5.1%
1830 297,675 8.1%
1840 309,978 4.1%
1850 370,792 19.6%
1860 460,147 24.1%
1870 537,454 16.8%
1880 622,700 15.9%
1890 746,258 19.8%
1900 908,420 21.7%
1910 1,114,756 22.7%
1920 1,380,631 23.9%
1930 1,606,903 16.4%
1940 1,709,242 6.4%
1950 2,007,280 17.4%
1960 2,535,234 26.3%
1970 3,031,709 19.6%
1980 3,107,576 2.5%
1990 3,287,116 5.8%
2000 3,405,565 3.6%

Connecticut Population Density Map

As of 2005, Connecticut has an estimated population of 3,510,297,[22] which is an increase of 11,331, or 0.3%, from the prior year and an increase of 104,695, or 3.1%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 67,427 people (that is 222,222 births minus 154,795 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 41,718 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 75,991 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 34,273 people. Based on the 2005 estimates, Connecticut moves from the 29th most populous state to 30th.[22]

6.6% of its population was reported as being under 5 years old, 24.7% under 18 years old, and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. Females made up approximately 51.6% of the population, with 48.4% male.

In 1790, 97% of the population in Connecticut were classified as "rural". The first census in which less than half the population was classified as rural was 1890. In the 2000 census, it was only 12.3%. The southwestern coast is all urban and is most widely known from New York City. The eastern half of the state though mostly is associated with Boston because of proximity. This split has caused a lack of more than a few professional sport teams. ie: NHL hockey since the mid 1990s, NFL football, MLS soccer and men's basketball.

The center of population of Connecticut is located in the town of Cheshire.[23]

Race, ancestry, and language

Demographics of Connecticut (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native   -   NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 87.09% 10.46% 0.73% 2.83% 0.13%
2000 (Hispanic only) 8.31% 1.04% 0.14% 0.07% 0.04%
2005 (total population) 86.09% 10.88% 0.76% 3.56% 0.15%
2005 (Hispanic only) 9.74% 1.09% 0.16% 0.07% 0.05%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 1.89% 7.19% 6.59% 29.77% 15.41%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-Hispanic only) -0.11% 7.16% 3.74% 30.12% 16.21%
Growth 2000-2005 (Hispanic only) 20.87% 7.40% 18.36% 14.98% 13.68%

As of 2004, 11.4% of the population (400,000) was foreign-born, and 10% of the foreign-born in the state were illegal aliens (about 1.1% of the population). In 1870, native-born Americans had accounted for 75% of the state's population, but that had dropped to 35% by 1918.

As of 2000, 81.69% of Connecticut residents age 5 and older spoke English at home and 8.42% spoke Spanish, followed by Italian at 1.59%, French at 1.31% and Polish at 1.20%.[24]

The five largest reported ancestries in the state are: Italian (18.6%), Irish (16.6%), English (10.3%), German (9.9%), and French/French Canadian (9.9%).

Connecticut has large Italian-American and Irish-American populations , as well as German and Portuguese-American, second highest percentage of any state behind Rhode Island. Italian is the largest ancestry group in five of the state's counties, while the Irish are the largest group in Tolland county, French-Canadians the largest group in Windham county, and old stock New England Yankees are present throughout. Connecticut is the most Italian-American state percentage-wise, just above Rhode Island. Blacks and Hispanics (mostly Puerto Ricans) are numerous in the urban areas of the state. Connecticut also has a sizable Polish American population, with New Britain containing the largest Polish-American population in the state.

More recent immigrant populations include those from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, and former Soviet countries.


A 2001 survey of Connecticut residents' religious self-identification showed the following distribution of affiliations:[25]

There is a significant Jewish population in the state, concentrated in the towns near Long Island Sound between Greenwich and New Haven, in Greater New Haven and in Greater Hartford, especially the suburb of West Hartford.

Recent immigration has brought other non-Christian religions to the state, but the numbers of adherents of other religions are still low.


Connecticut welcome sign being updated as Rell takes office on July 1, 2004.

Connecticut quarter, reverse side, 1999.jpg

The total gross state product for 2004 was $187 billion. The per capita income for 2005 was $47,819, ranking first among the states.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag All wages of a Connecticut resident are subject to the state's income tax, even when the resident works outside of the state. However, in those cases, Connecticut income tax must be withheld only to the extent the Connecticut tax exceeds the amount withheld by the other jurisdiction. Since New York state has higher tax rates than Connecticut, this effectively means that Connecticut residents that work in New York state pay no income tax to Connecticut.

Connecticut levies a 6% state sales tax on the retail sale, lease, or rental of most goods. Some items and services in general are not subject to sales and use taxes unless specifically enumerated as taxable by statute. There are no additional sales taxes imposed by local jurisdictions. During the summer there is one week of duty free buying to spur retail sales.

All real and personal property located within the state of Connecticut is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. All assessments are at 70% of fair market value. Another 20% of the value may be taxed by the local government though. The maximum property tax credit is $500 per return and any excess may not be refunded or carried forward.[26] Connecticut does not levy an intangible personal property tax.

Real estate

Homes in southwestern Connecticut on the fringes of the New York City metropolitan area are quite expensive. Many towns have median home prices over $500,000, with some more desirable homes exceeding $1 million. Greenwich has the most expensive real estate market, with most houses selling at over $1 million and most condos selling at over $600,000. Connecticut has the most million-dollar homes in the northeast, and the second most in the nation after California, with 3.3% of homes in Connecticut priced over one million dollars in 2003.[27] In 2007, the median price for a house in Connecticut passed $300,000 for the first time, even though most of the country was mired in a real estate slump.[28]


The agricultural output for the state is nursery stock, eggs, dairy products, cattle, and tobacco. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment (especially helicopters, aircraft parts, and nuclear submarines), heavy industrial machinery and electrical equipment, military weaponry and fabricated metal products, chemical and pharmaceutical products, and scientific instruments.

Downtown Hartford's Central Business District.

Due to the prominence of the aircraft industry in the state, Connecticut has an official state aircraft, the F4U Corsair, and an official Connecticut Aviation Pioneer, Igor Sikorsky. The state officially recognizes aircraft designer Gustav Whitehead as "Father of Connecticut Aviation" for his research into powered flight in Bridgeport in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk.[29] Governor John Dempsey also declared August 15 to be "Gustave Whitehead Day."[30]

A report issued by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism on December 7, 2006 demonstrated that the economic impact of the arts, film, history and tourism generated more than $14 billion in economic activity and 170,000 jobs annually. This provides $9 billion in personal income for Connecticut residents and $1.7 billion in state and local revenue.[31]


Map of Connecticut showing major highways


Glaciers carved valleys in Connecticut running north to south; as a result, many more roadways in the state run north to south than do east to west, mimicking the previous use of the many north-south rivers as transportation. The Interstate highways in the state are I-95 (the Connecticut Turnpike) running southwest to northeast along the coast, I-84 running southwest to northeast in the center of the state, I-91 running north to south in the center of the state, and I-395 running north to south near the eastern border of the state. The other major highways in Connecticut are the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway, which together form State Route 15, running from the Hutchinson River Parkway in New York State parallel to I-95 before turning north of New Haven and running parallel to I-91, finally becoming a surface road in Berlin. Route 15 and I-95 were originally toll roads; they relied on a system of toll plazas at which all traffic stopped and paid fixed tolls. A series of terrible crashes at these plazas eventually contributed to the decision to remove the tolls in 1988.[32] Other major arteries in the state include U.S. Route 7 in the west running parallel to the NY border, State Route 8 farther west near the industrial city of Waterbury and running north-south along the Naugatuck River Valley nearly parallel with U.S. 7, and State Route 9 in the east. See List of State Routes in Connecticut for an overview of the state's highway system.

Between New Haven and the New York City, I-95 is one of the most congested highways in the United States. Many people now drive longer distances to work in the New York City area. This strains the three lanes of traffic capacity, resulting in lengthy rush hour delays. Frequently, the congestion spills over to clog the parallel Merritt Parkway. The state has encouraged traffic reduction schemes, including rail use and ride-sharing.[33]

Public transportation


Since many Connecticut residents commute to New York City, there is an extensive commuter railway network connecting New York City to New Haven on Metro North Railroad (a commuter railroad based in New York and operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority) with spurs servicing Waterbury, Danbury, and New Canaan. Rail service does not end with New Haven, however. Connecticut is in the heart of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and the Amtrak Regional line makes stops in New Haven-State Street, Old Saybrook, New London, and Mystic. Smaller town stops between New Haven and New London are served by Shore Line East, which takes commuters to those stations to catch a main train. These commuter services are heavily utilized during weekday rush hours. Regional rail service is provided by Amtrak, which makes regular stops in Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford, as well as in Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Windsor, and Windsor Locks. There are plans to operate commuter trains from New Haven to Springfield on Amtrak's New Haven-Springfield Line.[34]


Statewide bus service is supplied by Connecticut Transit, owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, with smaller municipal authorities providing local service. Bus networks are an important part of the transportation system in Connecticut, especially in urban areas like Hartford, Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and New Haven. A three-year construction project to build a busway from New Britain to Hartford will begin in August 2009.[35][36]


Bradley International Airport, which became truly 'International' in the summer of 2007 beginning service to Europe, is located in Windsor Locks, 15 miles (24 km) north of Hartford. Regional air service is provided at Tweed-New Haven Airport. Larger civil airports include Danbury Municipal Airport and Waterbury-Oxford Airport in western Connecticut. The Westchester County Airport in Harrison serves part of southwestern Connecticut.

Law and government

The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford

Hartford has been the sole capital of Connecticut since 1875. Before then, New Haven and Hartford alternated as capitals.[14]

Constitutional History

Connecticut is known as the “Constitution State.” While the origin on this title is uncertain, the nickname is assumed to reference the Fundamental Orders of 1638-39. These Fundamental Orders represent the framework for the first formal government written by a representative body in Connecticut. The government has operated under the direction of four separate documents in the course of Connecticut Constitutional History. After the Fundamental Orders, Connecticut was granted governmental authority by King Charles II of England through the Connecticut Charter of 1662. While these two documents acted to lay the ground work for the state’s government, both lacked essential characteristics of a constitution. The Fundamental Orders and the Connecticut Charter could both be altered simply by a majority vote of the General Assembly. Separate branches of government did not exist during this period, and the General Assembly acted as the supreme authority. A true constitution was not adopted in Connecticut until 1818. Finally, the current state constitution was implemented in 1965. The 1965 constitution absorbed a majority of its 1818 predecessor, but incorporated a handful of important modifications. Another possible source of the nickname "constitution state" comes from Connecticut's pivotal role in the federal constitutional convention of 1787, during which Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth helped to orchestrate what became known as the Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise. This plan combined the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan to form a bicameral legislature, a form copied by almost every state constitution since the adoption of the federal constitution.


The governor heads the executive branch. The current Governor of Connecticut is M. Jodi Rell (Republican). The current Lieutenant Governor is Michael Fedele. From 1639 until the adoption of the 1818 constitution, the governor presided over the General Assembly. Connecticut was the first state in the United States to elect a woman as governor without electing her husband first, Ella Grasso in 1974.

There are several executive departments: Administrative Services, Agriculture, Banking, Children and Families, Consumer Protection, Correction, Economic and Community Development, Developmental Services, Education, Environmental Protection, Higher Education, Information Technology, Insurance, Labor, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Military, Motor Vehicles, Public Health, Public Safety, Public Utility Control, Public Works, Revenue Services, Social Services, Transportation, Veterans Affairs. In addition to these departments, there are other independent bureaus, offices and commissions.[37]

In addition to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, there are four other executive officers named in the state constitution that are elected directly by voters: Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General. All executive officers are elected to four year terms.[14]


The legislature is the General Assembly. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of an upper body, the State Senate (36 senators); and a lower body, the House of Representatives (151 representatives).[14] Bills must pass each house in order to become law. The governor can veto the bill, but this veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house. Senators and representatives, all of whom must be at least eighteen years of age, are elected to two-year terms in November on even-numbered years. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the senate, except when absent from the chamber, when the President Pro Tempore presides. The Speaker of the House presides over the House; James A. Amann is the current Speaker of the House of Connecticut. The Democrats currently hold the majority in both houses of the General Assembly.

Connecticut's U.S. senators are Christopher J. Dodd (Democrat) and Joseph I. Lieberman (Democrat) who is part of the Democratic Caucus. Connecticut currently has five representatives in the U.S. House, four of whom are Democrats.


The highest court of Connecticut's judicial branch is the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Connecticut. The Supreme Court is responsible for deciding on the constitutionality of the law or cases as they relate to the law. Its proceedings are similar to those of the United States Supreme Court, with no testimony given by witnesses, and the lawyers of the two sides each present oral arguments no longer than thirty minutes. Following a court proceeding, the court may take several months to arrive at a judgment. The current Chief Justice is Chase T. Rogers.

Before 1818 the highest court in Connecticut was the General Assembly, and later, the Upper House, with the Governor having the title "Chief Judge". In 1818, the court became a separate entity, independent of the legislative and executive branches.[38] The Appellate Court is a lesser state-wide court and the Superior Courts are lower courts that resemble county courts of other states.

Local government

and several lists: List of municipalities of Connecticut by population, List of towns in Connecticut, List of cities in Connecticut, Borough, List of counties in Connecticut

Connecticut has 169 towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state; the entire state is divided into towns.[14] Connecticut shares a local form of government with the rest of New England called the New England town. There are also 21 cities,[14] most of which are coterminous with their namesake towns and have a merged city-town government. There are two exceptions: City of Groton, which is a subsection of the Town of Groton and the City of Winsted in the Town of Winchester. There are also nine incorporated boroughs which may provide additional services to a section of town.[14][39] One, Naugatuck, is a consolidated town and borough.

Unlike most other states, Connecticut does not have county government. Connecticut county governments were mostly eliminated in 1960, with the exception of the sheriff system.[40] In 2000, the county sheriff was abolished and replaced with the state marshal system, which has districts that follow the old county territories. The judicial system is divided, at the trial court level, into judicial districts.[41] The eight counties are still widely used for purely geographical and statistical purposes, such as weather reports, and census reporting.

The state is divided into 15 planning regions defined by the state Office of Planning and Management.[42] The Intragovernmental Policy Division of this Office coordinates regional planning with the administrative bodies of these regions. Each region has an administrative body known as either a regional council of governments, a regional council of elected officials, or a regional planning agency. The regions are established for the purpose of planning "coordination of regional and state planning activities; designation or redesignation of logical planning regions and promotion of the continuation of regional planning organizations within the state; and provision for technical aid and the administration of financial assistance to regional planning organizations."[42]


Presidential elections results[43]
Year Republican Democratic
2004 43.95% 693,826 54.31% 857,488
2000 38.44% 561,094 55.91% 816,015
1996 34.69% 483,109 52.83% 735,740
1992 35.78% 578,313 42.21% 682,318
1988 51.98% 750,241 46.87% 676,584
1984 60.73% 890,877 38.83% 569,597
1980 48.16% 677,210 38.52% 541,732
1976 52.06% 719,261 46.90% 647,895
1972 58.57% 810,763 40.13% 555,498
1968 44.32% 556,721 49.48% 621,561
1964 32.09% 390,996 67.81% 826,269
1960 46.27% 565,813 53.73% 657,055

Connecticut is a generally left-leaning state, allotting its electoral votes to Democratic candidates in the past four presidential elections but to Republican presidential candidates five times in the 1970s and 1980s. Connecticut has a high number of voters who are not registered with a major party. As of 2004, 33.7% of registered voters were registered Democratic, 22.0% were registered Republican, and 44.0% were unaffiliated with any party, with 0.2% registered with a minor party.[44] Voters in the state are more supportive of fiscal conservatives and may be considered to be generally socially liberal.

Many Connecticut towns show a marked preference for moderate candidates of either party. Democrats hold a registration edge especially in the cities of Hartford; New Haven; and Bridgeport, where Democratic machines have held power since the great immigration waves of the 1800s. The state's Republican-leaning areas are the rural Litchfield County and adjoining towns in the west of Hartford County, the industrial towns of the Naugatuck River Valley, and some of the affluent Fairfield County towns near the New York border. The suburban towns of New Canaan and Darien in Fairfield County are considered the most Republican areas in the state, the former being the hometown of conservative activist Ann Coulter. Westport, a wealthy town a few miles to the east, is often considered one of the most loyally-Democratic, liberal towns in Fairfield County. Norwalk and Stamford, two larger, affluent communities in Fairfield County, have in many elections favored moderate Republicans including former Governor John G. Rowland and Congressman Chris Shays, however they have favored Democrats in recent US presidential candidates. Waterbury has a Democratic registration edge, but usually favors conservative candidates in both parties. In Danbury unaffiliated voters outnumber voters registered with either major party. Other smaller cities including Meriden, New Britain, and Middletown favor Democratic candidates.

Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both houses of the state legislature. In 2006, Republicans were reduced from three out of five to one out of five congressional seats. The remaining Republican, Chris Shays, is the only Republican from New England in the House of Representatives in the current Congress and is also one of the most liberal Republicans in the House. Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman are Connecticut's U.S. senators. The senior Dodd is a Democrat while the junior Lieberman serves as an Independent Democrat caucusing with Senate Democrats after his victory on the Connecticut for Lieberman ballot line in the 2006 general election. Lieberman's predecessor, Lowell P. Weicker, was the last Connecticut Republican to serve as Senator. Weicker was known as a liberal Republican. He broke with President Richard Nixon during Watergate and successfully ran for governor in 1990 as an independent, creating A Connecticut Party as his election vehicle. Before Weicker, the last Republican to represent Connecticut in the Senate was Prescott Bush, the father of former President George H.W. Bush and the grandfather of President George W. Bush. He served from 1953–1963.

Political corruption

Several mayors, state legislators, and government employees have been convicted and imprisoned for crimes ranging from bribery to racketeering. In 2004, Governor John G. Rowland, a Republican, was forced to resign when it was discovered he helped steer state contracts to firms that offered him gifts and free vacations.[45] In August 2007 Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez announced he had been investigated for ties to a city contractor. [2]

Several state agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and Department of Children and Families (DCF) have been rocked by scandals over the past decade.

A more recent scandal involved a botched construction project on Interstate 84 near Waterbury. An independent audit of the project in late 2006 revealed that over 300 storm drains installed by the now-defunct L.G. DeFelice Construction Company, were either filled with sand, were improperly installed, or were connected with pipes that led to nowhere. In addition to the faulty storm drains, officials discovered light fixtures with defective mounting brackets when one of the fixtures fell off of its support pole and onto the highway. Inspectors also discovered the structural steel for an overpass was not properly installed, raising serious questions about the bridge's structural integrity. Following the uncovering of this scandal, Attorney-General Richard Blumenthal filed suit against L.G. DeFelice, its bonding company USF&G, and the consultants (the Maguire Group) hired by CONNDOT to oversee the project, resulting in a $17.5 million settlement to fix the problems. A federal grand jury and FBI investigation were also launched into the operations of L.G. DeFelice before the company ceased operations in 2004. Several CONNDOT employees were fired after being implicated in the scandal, and are also subjects of state and federal investigations for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for covering up substandard work on the I-84 project. Finally, the scandal prompted the Connecticut General Assembly to consider contract reform legislation and Governor M. Jodi Rell to order a complete reorganization of CONNDOT.

On June 1, 2007, Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca (R-Woodbury) was arrested on conspiracy charges after it was discovered he was dealing with a local Mafia boss who is currently facing federal charges stemming from his trash-hauling operations, [46] and allegations that he tried to use these same ties to intimidate the husband of his grandaughter, whom he claimed was abusing her.

Following Rowland's resignation, the state legislature passed a campaign finance reform bill that bans contributions from lobbyists and state contractors in future campaigns.[47]


Connecticut is well-known as the home of Yale University, which maintains a consistent ranking as one of the world's most renowned universities, and has the most selective undergraduate program of any university in the United States (an 8.6% acceptance rate in 2006).[48] Yale is one of the largest employers in the state, and its research activity has recently spun off dozens of growing biotechnology companies.

Connecticut is also the host of many other academic institutions, including Trinity College, (1825), and Wesleyan University, (1832). The University of Connecticut has been the highest ranked public university in New England for eight years running, according to U.S. News and World Report. The State's capital university,University of Hartford, (1877), is a private, independent, and nonsectarian coeducational university located in West Hartford, Connecticut. It was chartered through the joining of the Hartford Art School, Hillyer College, and The Hartt School of Music in 1957.

Additionally, the State has many noted boarding schools, such as Miss Porter's School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss, Pomfret School, Avon Old Farms, Loomis Chaffee, Salisbury School and The Taft School which draw students from all over the world. Also Connecticut has many noted private day schools such as Kingswood-Oxford School located in West Hartford and the Hopkins School based in New Haven.

for a comprehensive listing.


Club Sport League
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Ice hockey American Hockey League
Danbury Trashers Ice hockey United Hockey League
Hartford Wolf Pack Ice hockey American Hockey League
New England Stars Ice hockey North Eastern Hockey League
Connecticut Defenders Baseball Minor League Baseball (AA)
New Britain Rock Cats Baseball Minor League Baseball (AA)
Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball Atlantic League
Manchester Silkworms Baseball New England Collegiate Baseball League
New Haven County Cutters Baseball Canadian-American League
Stamford Robins Baseball Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League
Torrington Twisters Baseball New England Collegiate Baseball League
Connecticut Sun Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
Connecticut Roller Girls Flat Track Roller Derby Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Association
  • From 1979 to 1997, the National Hockey League had a franchise in Hartford, the Hartford Whalers. Their departure to Raleigh, caused great controversy and resentment. The former Whalers are now known as the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • Since 1952, a PGA Tour golf tournament has been played in the Hartford area. Originally called the "Insurance City Open" and later the "Greater Hartford Open," the event is now know as the Travelers Championship.

The Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament is held annually at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University. It is one of the few dual-sex tournaments in professional tennis and is the warm-up tournament to the US Open, played the following week in Queens, New York. The court speed and weather conditions are identical to those at the US Open.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is the state's sanctioning body for high school sports. Xavier High School claimed the 2005 Class LL football championship. Other state champions in football include Staples (in Westport), Greenwich High School (Greenwich, CT) 2006 state LL champions, Branford, Daniel Hand (in Madison), Woodland Regional (in Beacon Falls), East Lyme High School (in East Lyme), Hyde Leadership (in Hamden), Southington High School (in Southington).

Famous residents

George Walker Bush, the current President of the United States, was born in Connecticut. He is a member of the Bush political family, with roots in the state extending three generations. Other notable figures from the state span American political and cultural history, including Ralph Nader, Eli Whitney, Benedict Arnold, Nathan Hale, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, John Brown, Eugene O'Neill, Charles Ives and Katharine Hepburn, and Roger Sherman. The state is home to many actors, entertainers and businesspeople.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SOTS
  2. ^ Population Estimates for All Places: 2000 to 2006: Connecticut SUB-EST2006-04-09.xls. United States Census Bureau. Last accessed [[2007-10-16|]].
  3. ^ State Data from the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book: 2006. United States Census Bureau. Last accessed [[2007-10-16|]].
  4. ^ a b Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pop
  5. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-03. 
  6. ^ "Connecticut - Definitions from". Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  7. ^ "Highest wages in East, lowest in South". USA Today. 29 November 2005. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000". United States Census Bureau. 18 March2000. 
  9. ^ "Mount Frissell-South Slope". 
  10. ^ "The Southwick Jog". 
  11. ^ "Connecticut's Southwick Jog". Connecticut State Library. 
  12. ^ "Connecticut's "Panhandle"". Connecticut State Library. 
  13. ^ "Annual average number of tornadoes". NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g " About Connecticut". Retrieved 2005-12-18. 
  15. ^ "". 
  16. ^ "Connecticut's Nicknames". Connecticut State Library. 
  17. ^ See [[Yankee|]] main article.
  18. ^ See National Statuary Hall Collection
  19. ^ Connecticut State Troubadour; CT Commission on Culture & Tourism Arts Division website; retrieved January 4, 2007
  20. ^ Population: 1790 to 1990
  21. ^ Resident Population of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico: Census 2000
  22. ^ a b {{cite web |date=June 21 2006 | url = | title = Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States and States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005|format = CSV
  23. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". US Census Bureau. 
  24. ^ "Most spoken languages in Connecticut". MLA Language Map. The Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  25. ^ {{cite web |url= |title=American Religious Identification Survey, Key Findings, Exhibit 15 |accessdate=2007-01-04 |author=Mayer, Egon |coauthors=Kosmin, Barry A., Keysar, Ariela |year=2001 |publisher= [[City University of New York|]]
  26. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named inctax
  27. ^ {{cite news|url= title=Million Dollar Homes|last=Christie|first=Les| publisher=[[CNN|]]
  28. ^ UConn in the News: August 2007
  29. ^ O'Dwyer, Maj. William J. (October 1998). "The "Who Flew First" Debate". Flight Journal. Retrieved on 2007-01-23. 
  30. ^ Delear, Frank (March 1996). "Gustave Whitehead and the First-Flight Controversy". Aviation History. Retrieved on 2007-01-23. 
  31. ^ The Economic Impact of the Arts, Film, History, and Tourism Industries in Connecticut (Highlights) Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
  32. ^ Connecticut Turnpike (I-95)
  33. ^
  34. ^ {{cite news |first=Stephanie |last=Reitz |title=Conn. looks into building rail line from Springfield to New Haven |url= |work=[[2006-07-30|]]
  35. ^ {{cite press release |title=New Britain-to-Hartford ‘Busway’ Receives Final Federal Design Approval |publisher=State of Connecticut |date=[[2006-10-31|]]
  36. ^ New Britain-Hartford Rapid Transit Project Schedule
  37. ^ "Connecticut's Executive Branch of Government". 
  38. ^ History of the Connecticut Courts. Last retrieved [[2007-02-20|]].
  39. ^ Connecticut's Boroughs and Cities. Connecticut State Library. Accessed 20 January 2007.
  40. ^ "Connecticut State Register and Manual: Counties". Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  41. ^ State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
  42. ^ a b Regional Planning Coordination at the CT Office of Planning and Management
  43. ^ "Presidential General Election Results Comparison - Connecticut". Dave Leip's Atlas of United States Presidential Elections. 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  44. ^ Party Enrollment in Connecticut. Connecticut Office of the Secretary of State. Last retrieved [[2007-02-22|]].
  45. ^ {{cite news|url= | title=Connecticut governor announces resignation | publisher=[[Connecticut Post|]]
  46. ^ State Sen. DeLuca arrested. WTNH Channel 8 New Haven, June 1, 2007
  47. ^ "Connecticut Legislature Passes Sweeping Campaign Finance Reform Bill" (Press release). Brennan Center for Justice. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  48. ^ "College acceptance rates: How many get in?". [[Wikipedia:USA Today|]]. | date = 8 November 2006

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Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Ratified Constitution on January 9, 1788 (5th)
Succeeded by

41°36′N 72°42′W / 41.6, -72.7

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