Connecticut is a U.S. state in southern New England that has a mix of coastal cities and rural areas dotted with small towns. Mystic is famed for its Seaport museum filled with centuries-old ships, and the beluga whale exhibits at Mystic Aquarium. On Long Island Sound, the city of New Haven is known as the home of Yale University and its acclaimed Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Within its compact borders, Connecticut has forested hills, new urban skylines, shoreline beaches, white-steeple colonial churches, and historic village greens. There are classic Ivy League schools, modern expressways, great corporate offices, and small farms. Connecticut is a thriving center of business, as well as a vacation land. It is both a New England state, and neighbor to New York City and Boston.
Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, and the fourth most densely populated of the 50 United States. It is known as the “Constitution State”, the “Nutmeg State”, the “Provisions State”, and the “Land of Steady Habits”. It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with the majority of the state’s population) is part of the New York metropolitan area: three of Connecticut’s eight counties are statistically included in the New York City combined statistical area, which is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut’s center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County, which is also located within the Tri-State area.
Connecticut’s first European settlers were Dutch. They established a small, short-lived settlement in present-day Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut rivers called Huys de Goede Hoop. Initially, half of Connecticut was a part of the Dutch colony New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. The first major settlements were established in the 1630s by England. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded what became the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven Colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the three colonies were 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.
The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along the Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County. As of the 2010 Census, Connecticut features the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States.