Connecticut was founded in 1788. Over the years, the small New England state has produced numerous notable intellectuals, set the stage for important events, and intrigued visitors with its quirky history and quaint Colonial feel. Here are 25 things you should know about Connecticut.
1. Before Europeans settled New England, Connecticut was inhabited by multiple Native American tribes. The name “Connecticut” stems from the word “Quinnehtukqut,” which means “land on a long tidal river” or “upon the long river.”
3. Notice how quickly you pass through Connecticut while taking a road trip? That’s because it’s the nation’s third-smallest state. However, that doesn’t deter people from moving there. Connecticut is the fourth most densely populated state, and it also has the 29th largest population.
4. According to one 2013 study, Connecticut has the third-largest number of millionaires per capita in the U.S.
5. However, not all of Connecticut’s residents are well off. According to a report from the Economic Analysis and Research Network, Connecticut has the largest income gap between the top one percent of taxpayers and the state’s bottom 99 percent.
6. The world’s first sports cable channel, ESPN, was launched in Bristol, Connecticut in 1979.
7. If you like televised spectacle almost as much as you like sports, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. is also headquartered in Stamford.
8. Before professional sports or pro wrestling hit the airwaves, Waterbury, Connecticut made history for hosting the country’s first women-only golf tournament in 1917—two years before female citizens gained the right to vote.
9. Another great moment in women’s history occurred in Killingly, Connecticut in 1809, when resident Mary Kies became the first female to obtain a U.S. patent for a new technique of weaving straw with silk or thread to make hats.
10. The first public library in the U.S. was founded in Salisbury, Connecticut in 1771 when a local man named Richard Smith used subsidies from a handful of townspeople to purchase 200 books in London and bring them home for communal use. Patrons were allowed to borrow books on the third Monday of every month, and were fined if they incurred damages. The Scoville Memorial Library still exists today, much to the joy of local bibliophiles and history buffs.
11. Connecticut is also home to the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper, the Hartford Courant, which was first printed in 1764.
12. Yet another "first" for Connecticut: The country’s first phone book was printed in New Haven in 1878.
13. Yale University is also in New Haven. Founded in 1701, it boasts the distinction of being the nation’s third-oldest university.
14. The only U.S. president to hail from Connecticut: George W. Bush, born in New Haven in 1946.
15. In 1919, Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only two states that didn’t ratify the Constitution’s 18th amendment, which banned "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors … within the United States" and launched Prohibition.
16. The world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, is docked at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut.
17. In 2000, Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman was named presidential candidate Al Gore’s running mate—making him the first member of the Jewish faith to be represented on a major political party’s presidential election ticket.
18. Lyme disease was first identified in 1975 after a group of people who lived near Lyme, Connecticut complained of odd arthritic symptoms. Physicians examined them, and realized their condition was tied to tick season. In 1981, the relationship between Lyme and the bloodsucking insects was confirmed by researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana.
19. Think your state's speed laws are ridiculous? The very first laws limiting how fast cars could go were imposed in Connecticut in 1901. Drivers weren't allowed to exceed 12 mph—although if you were carousing down a country road, you could get away with 15.
20. Connecticut is picky about its deli foods. To officially be considered a pickle, a brined cucumber must be able to "bounce."
21. Two of history's most famous authors—Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe—were neighbors in Hartford.
22. Noah Webster was from West Hartford, Connecticut. Published in 1828, his An American Dictionary of the English Language paved the way for the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary.
23. The popular TV show Gilmore Girls, which aired from 2000 to 2007, was set in the quirky fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
24. Connecticut's state song is "Yankee Doodle," its state insect is the praying mantis, and its state animal is the sperm whale.
25. In 2018, New London, Connecticut will become home to the highly-anticipated National Coast Guard Museum—the first-ever institution dedicated to the United States Coast Guard.