85 Interesting Facts About Connecticut

Interesting Connecticut facts

Below, let’s learn some interesting facts about Connecticut, the “Constitution State”.

Connecticut is a New England state famous for Yale University, its important place in American history, and the many things invented there.

General Connecticut Facts

  • The state is bordered by Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, Long Island of New York State across Long Island Sound to the south, and New York State to the west.
  • Apart from its southern border on the coast, Connecticut is basically rectangular in shape. Its borders are mostly straight lines, but each has one or two irregularities resulting from past territorial disputes with its neighbors.
  • Connecticut is 5,567 mi² (14,357 km²), making it the nation’s 3rd smallest state, sitting between New Jersey and Delaware in terms of size.
  • The state could fit into Alaska 120 times.
  • If it were a country, Connecticut would be slightly larger than The Bahamas, but less than half the size of Israel.
  • Connecticut ranks as the 29th most populous state, with a population of 3.6 million. It has more people than Utah, but less than Oklahoma.
Aerial view of downtown Hartford and the river
Hartford, capital of Connecticut
  • Only New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have a higher population density than Connecticut.
  • There is no city in Connecticut with more than 150,000 people within the city’s official limits.
  • Hartford is the capital of Connecticut. With a population of only 120,000 in the city proper, it is the 4th largest in the state. However, the Greater Hartford Metropolitan Area has a population of 1.2 million, making it the country’s 47th largest population center.
  • Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut, with a population of 148,000. The Greater Bridgeport metropolitan area (population 900,000), basically the whole southwestern corner of the state, is considered part of Metropolitan New York City.
Aerial view of some buildings and traffic in Bridgeport, Connecticut at night
Bridgeport is considered part of Metropolitan New York City
  • The state was initially inhabited by Algonquian Native American tribes such as the Pequots, Paugussets and Mohegans.
  • Connecticut’s name is derived from the Algonquian word “quinetucket“, which means “beside the long, tidal river”, referring to what is now called the Connecticut River, the river that bisects the state.
  • The abbreviation of Connecticut is CT.
  • Connecticut’s state motto is “Qui Transtulit Sustinet“, which is Latin for “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains”.
  • “Yankee Doodle” is the official state song of Connecticut.
Close up of the face of a praying mantis
The praying mantis is the state insect of Connecticut
  • Connecticut is nicknamed the “Constitution State” not because the US constitution was actually written there (that would be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) but because the Fundamental Orders of its early British settlers are considered the first ever written constitution of a democratic government.
  • The state is also called the “Nutmeg State”. However, nutmeg has never actually been grown in Connecticut. The name originates from the claim that its early settlers were such shrewd businessmen that they could sell ground wood as nutmeg (although this claim has never been confirmed).
  • Tourism slogans for Connecticut have included “So Good to See You”, “Still Revolutionary” and most recently, “Find Your Vibe”.
  • People living in Connecticut are known as Connecticuters or Nutmeggers. Other terms that are no longer in use include Connecticotians and Connecticutensians.
  • The praying mantis is the official state insect of Connecticut, while the sperm whale is the official state mammal.
The Connecticut state flag
The state flag of Connecticut
  • Connecticut’s state flag features a white baroque shield on a blue background. The shield has three grapevines to represent the state’s three oldest settlements – Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield. Below the shield, there’s a white banner trimmed in gold with the state’s Latin motto written in black text.

Random Interesting Facts About Connecticut 

  • Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, is considered the “Insurance Capital of the World“. The title dates back to the 19th century, when many major insurance companies set up their headquarters there.
  • The 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol, was never ratified by Connecticut and Rhode Island, so they are the only two states that never had prohibition.
A rocky beach with nobody on it in Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut
A rocky shoreline in Hammonasset Beach State Park
  • In fact, over 7% of the state’s land is protected, the 4th highest percentage of any state, after Hawaii, Alaska, and California.
  • Established in 1701, Yale University in New Haven is the 4th oldest in the country, after Harvard in Massachusetts, William & Mary in Virginia, and St. John’s College in Maryland.
  • Opened in 1846, Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States.
A view of several historical buildings at Yale University in the early evening with lights on
Yale University
  • Connecticut is home to the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), which is headquartered in Stamford.
  • Other major companies that started or are headquartered in Connecticut include ESPN (the sports channel), Aetna Insurance, Subway, and Xerox.
  • Connecticut was also formerly home to the headquarters of UPS before it moved to Atlanta, Georgia and General Electric before it moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Bristol is considered the nation’s “Mum City” due to the many chrysanthemums which are grown and sold to various states across the country, as well as to Canada.
  • Connecticut is home to Charles W. Morgan, the oldest surviving wooden whaling ship in the world. It sits at Mystic Seaport Museum, the country’s largest maritime museum.
Buildings reflecting on the water at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut
Mystic Seaport
  • Around 60 towns and cities in Connecticut are named after ones in England. These include Hartford, Oxford, New London, New Britain, Bristol, Manchester, and Woodstock.
  • Connecticut shade tobacco is considered some of the best in the world. It is named after the state, although it is also grown in Massachusetts and Vermont. It is grown in the shade and mainly used for rolling cigars.
  • The highest point in Connecticut is Mt. Frissell, at 2,380 feet (725.42 meters) above sea level.
  • The highest temperature to ever be recorded in the state was 106°F (41°C) in Torrington and Danbury on August 23, 1916 and July 15 1995, respectively. The lowest was -32°F (-36°C) in Falls Village and Coventry on February 16, 1943 and January 22, 1961, respectively.
A collage of products that were invented in the state of Connecticut, including Subway, PEZ candy, lollipops, helicopter, sewing machine, and polaroid camera
Some famous items invented in Connecticut
  • From around 1790 to the early 1900s, Connecticut was a hotbed of inventions. The state granted 20,000+ patents to more than 5,000 inventors (of which 44 were women, including the country’s first patent received by a woman).
  • Famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who first patented the telephone, used to teach at the American Asylum for the Deaf in Hartford.
  • Edwin Land of Connecticut patented no less than 535 inventions, including his Polaroid Instant Camera. His invention made it possible for pictures to be taken and developed in 60 seconds or less.
  • On September 14, 1939, the first practical helicopter (the VS-300) in the world took flight at Stratford, Connecticut.
  • George Smith of New Haven, Connecticut invented the lollipop. He came up with the idea of putting candy on a stick for easier consumption. Originally, the Lollipop was soft rather than hard.
Close up of the word "English" and its definition in a dictionary
The first American English dictionary was compiled in Connecticut
  • Other things invented in Connecticut include the sewing machine, PEZ candy (don’t miss the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut!), the first American English dictionary, the can opener, and more.
  • According to some sources, the first time a long sandwich was called a submarine or “sub” was in New London, Connecticut in WWII, but other sources show the term was used even earlier in Delaware.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain during his time in Hartford, Connecticut, along with 16 other books by the famous author.
  • George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was born in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Other famous Connecticuters include Twilight author Stephanie Meyer, actresses Katharine Hepburn and Meg Ryan, Wall Street banker J.P. Morgan, singer/model Cassie Ventura, singer Michael Bolton, and Karen and Richard Carpenter of the band The Carpenters.
Famous Connecticuters Katharine Hepburn, The Carpenters, George W. Bush, Cassie Ventura, Meg Ryan, and Michael Bolton (clockwise from top-left)
  • There are some strange laws still in existence in some Connecticut cities. For example, in Hartford, Connecticut it’s strictly prohibited to fly a kite in the street.
  • Again in Hartford, crossing the street by walking on your hands is illegal.
  • Silly String is banned in Southington, Connecticut.
  • No beautician can whistle, hum, or sing while working on a customer in Waterbury, Connecticut.
  • Only white Christmas lights are allowed for displays in Guilford, Connecticut.
  • By law, a pickle needs to bounce in order to officially be considered a pickle – this one applies state-wide.

Historical Facts About Connecticut 

  • Connecticut had been inhabited for 10,000 years prior to the arrival of the Europeans.
  • Dutch traders were the first Europeans to land on Connecticut shores in 1614. They sailed up the Connecticut River and landed near Hartford.
A ship sailing down the Connecticut River
The Connecticut River
  • The Dutch purchased land from the Pequot Tribe in 1633 and built a permanent settlement called Fort Hope.
  • English from the Massachusetts colony established Hartford in 1635. Their Fundamental Orders were written in 1638-39 and are considered the first constitution of any democratic state. Simultaneously, they went to war with the local Pequot people, massacring many of them or sending them off as slaves.
  • The English kicked the Dutch out of the area with the signing of the Treaty of Hartford in 1650.
  • In 1662, the colony was officially unified and chartered as the Connecticut Colony, one of the 13 colonies of the US.
  • The Hartford Courant has been in print since October 29, 1764. It remains the oldest continuously published newspaper in the country today.
  • When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Connecticut was one of the first states to join in.
Exterior of the Connecticut State Capitol building in Hartford
The Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford
  • At the Battle of Bunker Hill in neighboring Massachusetts, Connecticut General Putnam famously said, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes”.
  • On January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the 5th state to be admitted to the Union.
  • In 1833, the first railroad in Connecticut, the Hartford and New Haven Railroad, began transporting passengers between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 1844, dentist Hartford Wells pioneered the use of nitrous oxide as anesthesia. However, within a few years he would grow addicted to it and to chloroform, violently attack some prostitutes, and then kill himself in prison.
  • In in the 1800s, many famous abolitionists lived in the state, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. In 1848, Connecticut abolished slavery.
Aerial view of the town of New Haven, Connecticut, with several chuches
Several historic churches in New Haven
  • After the Great New York City Fire of 1845, Aetna Insurance company rose to prominence, leading Connecticut to become the “world capital of insurance. To this day it remains one of the state’s largest employers.
  • In 1877, the world’s first telephone directory was made in Connecticut. It listed 50 New Haven numbers.
  • The country’s first car insurance was issued at Hartford in 1898.
  • In 1901, Connecticut became the nation’s first state to implement a law regulating automobile speeds. Initially, 12 mph was the maximum speed.
  • In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt became the first president of the US to ride in an automobile while in office. He kicked off his car tour of New England in Connecticut.
  • The first women-only golf tournament took place on June 12, 1917 in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Lyme disease, spread by ticks, was first discovered and named after a town in Connecticut
  • The first state to issue cars with permanent license plates was Connecticut in 1937.
  • In 1966, thousands of dinosaur tracks were discovered in what would later become Connecticut’s Dinosaur State Park.
  • In 1975, Lyme Disease was first identified in Old Lyme, Connecticut. The disease was spread by ticks.
  • ESPN was founded in Connecticut in 1979. It was started by a father and son after they were fired by the New England Whalers, a Hartford NHL (hockey) team.
  • In 1992, the Pequot Native Americans opened Foxwoods Casino, which generated huge income and turned them into one of the country’s wealthiest tribes.
  • In 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, 152 Connecticut citizens were killed. Today, a 9/11 Memorial stands in Sherwood Island State Park, from where the New York City skyline can be seen.
Aerial view of the southern coast of Connecticut, with some boats parked in a habor and some big houses
The southern “Gold Coast” of Connecticut is home to many houses of the wealthy
  • In 2005, the state executed serial killer Michael Ross, the first execution in the state since 1960.
  • In 2008, Connecticut became the country’s 2nd state to legalize gay marriage, after Massachusetts.
  • In 2011 and 12, Connecticut was hit by 3 major storms: Hurricane Irene, Halloween nor’easter, and Hurricane Sandy, all of which caused extensive damage.
  • In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden became the first president to ever gain over 1 million votes in the state of Connecticut, gaining 60% of the state’s votes.

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