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The first Europeans to explore the Connecticut area were the Dutch in 1614. Although they never established any permanent settlements, they did establish a trading post. The first permanent settlements were built by English colonists that migrated from Massachusetts. And, in 1636, settlements in Hartford and Wethersfield united to form the Connecticut Colony.
The founder of Hartford, Thomas Hooker, believed that the government should be ruled by the will of the people. In 1639, the Fundamental Orders of law was adopted and became the first written Constitution of a democratic government. This gave Connecticut the nickname, "The Constitution State"!
Since colonial times, the economy has been predominantly based in manufacturing. Even while still a colony, Connecticut's factories were proving to be a great concern for competitors in England. The state is a world leader in industrial developments with such important inventions as the sewing machine, steamboats and the submarine, just to name a few.
From helicopters, nuclear submarines and jet aircraft engines, manufacturing is still an important part of the state's economy. But, corporate industries also play an important role. For over 180 years, the state has earned a reputation as the "Insurance State". From marine insurance to life and health, there are over 100 insurance companies based in Connecticut.
In 1788, Connecticut became the 5th state to join the Union and is today, ranked among the top states for having the highest income per person. With the state's 250 mile Long Island Sound shoreline and other natural attractions, tourism brings around $4 billion a year into Connecticut.
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