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Connecticut

Connecticut is a state of the United States, part of the New England region, as well as the southernmost state in New England. Connecticut was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.

USS Connecticut was named in honor of this state.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Connecticut

The name "Connecticut" comes from an Algonquin Indian word meaning "on the long tidal river". Connecticut was one of the original 13 states. The first Europeans to settle permanently in Connecticut were English Puritans from Massachusetts in 1633. Its first constitution, the "Fundamental Orders", was adopted on January 14, 1639, while its current constitution, the fourth for Connecticut, was adopted in 1965. The traditional abbreviation of the state's name is "Conn."

Law and government

Hartford has been the sole capital of Connecticut since 1875. Prior to that, New Haven and Hartford alternated as capital. Unlike most other states, Connecticut does not have county governments or county seats; rather, there is only the state government and the governments of the local municipalities. The state judicial system and the associated state marshal system, however, are still divided by county, and the eight counties are still widely used for purely geographical purposes, e.g. in weather reports. There are 169 incorporated cities and towns across the state. Most cities are coterminal with their namesake towns and have a merged city-town government. The sole exception is the City of Groton, which is a subsection of the Town of Groton. There are also 9 incorporated boroughs, eight of which provide additional services to a section of town. One, Naugatuck, is a merged town-borough.

The current governor of Connecticut is M. Jodi Rell (Republican) and the two U.S. senators are Christopher J. Dodd (Democrat) and Joseph I. Lieberman (Democrat). Connecticut currently has five representatives in the House.

Geography

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, Norwich, Stamford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport. In all, there are a total of 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 when New Haven and Hartford were two separate colonies.

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

The state, although small, has regional variations in its landscape and culture from the wealthy estates of Fairfield County's "Gold Coast" to the rolling mountains and farms of the Litchfield Hills and the casinos of Southeastern Connecticut. Connecticut's rural areas and 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", e.g. New Haven Green. 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.


Regions of Connecticut


The state of Connecticut can be said to be sub-divided into eight general regions which generally correspond with the eight counties of the state, though there are differences in the boundaries. Each region boasts varied qualities which distinguish it within the state, and at times there are minor cultural frictions between the regions and their major cultural centers as each competes for tourists, new residents, and internal state pride. Fairfield County's "Gold Coast", for example, is often derided by residents of the rest of the state as being more similar to New York than to New England, and many of the residents go for years or even decades without ever traveling to other regions of the state, considering themselves more attached to New York City and its suburbs in eastern New York State.

The eight regions of Connecticut are:

Transportation

Transportation in Connecticut is predominantly via highway. There is railway service along the coastline from New York City to Boston, including commuter rail service between New Haven and New York and a new commuter service along the coastline north of New Haven, with spur service running northwards to cities such as Hartford. (In an episode of the American television show Miracles , the protagonist took a train from Boston directly to Hartford, causing Connecticut residents to joke that that would really have been a miracle.) Bus service is supplied by Connecticut Transit , owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation . In practice, most Connecticut residents find public transportation not fully adequate for all their needs and either own a private vehicle or have access to one.

The 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 interstate traffic arteries in Connecticut are the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway, which together form Connecticut 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, Connecticut. This road and I-95 were originally toll roads; they relied on a system of toll plazas at which all traffic would stop and pay an incremental fare, rather than the alternative system of providing drivers a ticket where they entered the highway and charging them when they exited. A series of terrible crashes at these plazas eventually led to abandonment of the whole toll system in 1988. Other major arteries in the state include State Routes 8 and 25 and US Route 7 .

I-95 from south of New Haven to the New York border is one of the most congested highways in the United States due to increasing population density, increasing business in the New York area, and a general increase in American driving, and the congestion spills over to clog the parallel Merritt Parkway. At rush hours, multiple backups tens of miles long are common, and the daily radio broadcasts of where crashes have completely blocked traffic are a fact of life for commuters in the area. As a result, commuter rail is also heavily crowded, along with parking facilities and traffic at the stations. Funds to relieve the situation, either by enhancing commuter rail, increasing highway capacity, or both, are lacking, and the problem is noted as one hindering further economic development for the state.

See [1] for a very complete and in-depth discussion of Connecticut roadways, current, past, and future.

Economy

The total gross state product for 1999 was $151 billion, placing Connecticut 22nd in the nation. The per capita income for 2002 was $42,706, the highest in the United States. [2] There is, however, a great disparity in incomes through the state; although New Canaan has the highest per capita income in America, Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven are three of the ten cities with the lowest per capita incomes in America. This is due to Fairfield County having become a bedroom community for higher paid New York City workers seeking a less urban lifestyle, as well as the spread of businesses outwards from New York City having reached into southwestern Connecticut. The state did not have an income tax until 1991, making it an attractive haven for high earners fleeing the heavy taxes of New York State, but putting an enormous burden on Connecticut property tax payers, particularly in the cities with their more extensive municipal services . As a result, the middle class largely fled the urban areas for the suburbs, taking stores and other tax-paying businesses with them, and leaving only the urban poor in the now impoverished Connecticut cities. As evident from the dichotomy in income figures described above, this problem has yet to be successfully solved. Exacerbating this problem, the state has a high cost of living, due to a combination of expensive real estate, expensive heating for the winters, the need to import much food from warmer states, and the dependence on private automobiles for mobility.

Connecticut is an important center of the insurance and financial industries, largely in Hartford and in Fairfield county. The recent establishment of two very large and lucrative Indian casinos in the southeastern region of the state has led to a large influx of money in that area, as well as statewide in general.

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, fabricated metal products , chemical and pharmaceutical products, and scientific instruments.

Connecticut began, as most communities at the time, as a farming economy. It rapidly developed trade and manufacturing as the farmers, and then the merchants and manufacturers themselves, became affluent enough to start buying things. Manufacturing was aided by a plentitude of resources, including water power, wood for fires and building material, and iron ore, while transportation benefited from several excellent natural harbors, and navigable rivers leading all the way to Massachusetts. As in most of New England, the residents believed that industry, in all senses of the word, not only strengthened individual moral fiber, but also served to make the colony independent and free to pursue its own religious and philosophical beliefs. While manual labor was valued, learning and study was also prized and many schools were founded, with Yale the most significant. The development by Eli Whitney of the system of precision manufacturing of interchangable parts and the assembly line in the late 1700s, however made Connecticut into a major center of manufacturing. This development changed "made in the United States" from a phrase connoting shoddy worksmanship and expensive maintenance, into a world standard for high quality, and the entire system became known as the American system of manufacturing.

Initially, Connecticut manufacturers applied the system to the manufacture of economically priced high quality firearms by Whitney, Colt's Manufacturing Company, the New Haven Arms Company (which later became the Winchester Repeating Arms Company), and, just across the border in Massachusetts, the Springfield Armory, leading to Connecticut's nickname "the arsenal of democracy".

Another area where precision manufacture led to industrial dominance for Connecticut was in the manufacture of clocks, watches, and other timepieces, by Eli Terry and his apprentice Seth Thomas , the Forestville Manufacturing Company (which became the E. N. Welch Company ), the New England Clock Company , the Ansonia Clock Company , Gilbert Clocks , Ingraham Clocks , the New Haven Clock Company , Welch Clocks , Sessions Clocks , and the Waterbury Clock Company , which became Timex Corporation, and is the sole Connecticut survivor of this once flourishing field, now decimated by lower costs of production elsewhere, in the United States and overseas. The American Clock and Watch Museum is located in Bristol, Connecticut.

Similarly, Connecticut industry became well known in allied fields. Hardware and tools continue to be manufactured by Stanley Corporation in New Britain, despite having almost moving elsewhere for financial reasons. The name Bridgeport on heavy industrial machinery continues to be a guarantee of high quality around the world, for people who have no idea that it is a city in Connecticut. Even the world of toys was dominated by the A. C. Gilbert Company, manufacturers of Erector Sets as well as other educational toys such as chemistry sets , microscopes, toy trains, etc.

Connecticut also became an innovative leader in the shipbuilding industry. The first recorded steam powered boat in America was built by South Windsor's John Fitch in 1786. The first military submarine, the Turtle, was built in Connecticut in 1775 by David Bushnell; since then, Connecticut has remained a world leader in the manufacture of these specialized ships. Simon Lake produced submarines for the US Navy in Bridgeport, beginning in 1913, and the work done by John P. Holland led to submarine production by the Electric Boat Company in Groton beginning in 1924, which continues to this day.

In the late 1700s, the Connecticut government engaged in financial incentives for building and operating textile mills.

Between the birth of the US patent system in 1790 and 1930, Connecticut had more patents issued per capita than any other state; in the 1800s, when the US as a whole was issued one patent per three thousand population, Connecticut inventors were issued one patent for every 700-1000 residents. Connecticut's first

Demographics

As of the 2003, the population of Connecticut was 3,483,372. Its population has grown 6% from its 1990 levels.

10.9% of the population is foreign-born.

Racially, Connecticut is:

The five largest ancestries in the state are: Italian (18.6%), Irish (16.6%), English (10.3%), German (9.9%), African American (9.1%).

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

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Connecticut are:

  • Roman Catholic 50%
  • Protestant 34%
  • Other Christian 1%
  • Other Religions 3%
  • Non-Religious 6%

There is a significant Jewish population in the state, mostly concentrated in the "Gold Coast" towns between Greenwich and New Haven and in the Hartford suburb of West Hartford. New Haven once had a significant Jewish population, but it has mostly fled elsewhere, although there is still a large concentration in the suburban towns west of New Haven. There are also growing populations of other religions, making the state more diverse.

The three largest Protestant denominations in Connecticut are: Baptist (5% of the total state population), Episcopalian (4%), Methodist (4%).

Important cities and towns

Population > 100,000 (urbanized area)

Population > 10,000 (urbanized area)

Important Suburbs

25 richest places in Connecticut

Ranked by per capita income:

  1. New Canaan, Connecticut $82,049
  2. Darien, Connecticut $77,519
  3. Weston, Connecticut $74,817
  4. Greenwich, Connecticut $74,346
  5. Westport, Connecticut $73,664
  6. Deep River Center, Connecticut $72,261
  7. Wilton, Connecticut $65,806
  8. Fenwick, Connecticut $60,625
  9. Roxbury, Connecticut $56,769
  10. Georgetown, Connecticut $55,029
  11. Easton, Connecticut $53,885
  12. Essex Village, Connecticut $51,928
  13. Ridgefield, Connecticut $51,795
  14. Avon, Connecticut $51,706
  15. Groton Long Point, Connecticut $51,066
  16. Redding, Connecticut $50,687
  17. Woodbridge, Connecticut $49,049
  18. Sharon, Connecticut $45,418
  19. Fairfield, Connecticut $43,670
  20. Lyme, Connecticut $43,347
  21. Essex, Connecticut $42,806
  22. Bridgewater, Connecticut $42,505
  23. Cornwall, Connecticut $42,484
  24. Madison Center, Connecticut $42,046
  25. Old Lyme, Connecticut $41,386
See Richest Places in Connecticut for full list, by county and by municipality.

Education

Colleges and universities

Sports teams

Minor league baseball teams:

External links

Last updated: 10-21-2005 00:46:42
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