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Pre-Colonization and Settlement Up Through 1763


Thomas Hooker: Connecticut’s Founding Father

A powerful and popular preacher, Thomas Hooker led a group of Puritans out of Massachusetts in 1636 to settle new lands that eventually became the city of Hartford.

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The Importance of Being Puritan: Church and State in Colonial Connecticut

In the sixteenth century, Connecticut Protestants wanted to cleanse the church of what they saw as corruption, and to return to the simplicity and purity of early Christian worship.

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Hooker and Company Journeying through the Wilderness from Plymouth to Hartford

Hooker’s Journey to Hartford

In early June of 1636, prominent Puritan religious leader Reverend…

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Timeline: Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut

A timeline displaying the major events leading to Connecticut statehood, including its settlement by the Dutch, the origins of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor, the founding of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies, and Connecticut’s acquisition of a formal charter from England.

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Illustration of a woman on horse, woodcut

Sarah Kemble Knight’s Journey through Colonial Connecticut

In 1704, when long distance travel was rare and roads crude, a Boston woman journeyed by horseback to New York City and recorded her views of Connecticut along the way.

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Placard commemorating the adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders: Connecticut’s Role in Early Constitutional Government

Embracing the ideals supported by Hartford founder the Rev. Thomas Hooker, the Fundamental Orders represent what many consider to be the first written constitution in the Western world.

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Drawing from Remarkable Apparitions, and Ghost-Stories, 1849

The Ghost Ship of New Haven Sets Sail Shrouded in Mystery

Tales of a spectral ship seen sailing in the skies above New Haven have haunted Connecticut’s imagination since the late 1640s.

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Detail from the Articles of agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems

Slavery and the Pequot War

For some, the existence of slavery in New England is…

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Detail from A mapp of New England by John Seller

Lion Gardiner Helps to Fortify Early Old Saybrook

In 1635, the governor of the Saybrook colony hired engineer…

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A front view of Dartmouth College, with the Chapel, & Hall

Eleazar Wheelock: Preacher, Dartmouth College Founder

Eleazar Wheelock was a notable eighteenth-century farmer, Congregational minister, revivalist, educator, and founder of Dartmouth College.

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John Warner Barber, Public square or green, in New Haven

A Separate Place: The New Haven Colony, 1638-1665

In 1638, Puritan leader John Davenport led a group of settlers out of Boston, ultimately founding what became the New Haven Colony.

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A 1761 letter by Wheelock describing the progress of his first female students, Amie and Miriam. Source: “The Occom Circle,” n.d. Dartmouth College.

Amy Johnson: A Mohegan Woman Who Survived Colonialism

Amy Johnson was a Mohegan woman who resisted living the life European settlers wanted her to live.

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Charles De Wolf Brownell, Charter Oak

Hiding the Charter: Images of Joseph Wadsworth’s Legendary Action

Overshadowed by the famed oak, Joseph Wadsworth, “the hero of the Charter,” has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Connecticut history—he doesn’t get any respect—or much recognition.

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Witchcraft in Connecticut

Well before the Salem trials, Connecticut residents were executing “witches.” Connecticut is home to what was most likely the first execution of its kind in colonial America.

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Attack on the Narragansett fort

America’s Most Devastating Conflict: King Philip’s War

The ramifications of this bloody conflict echoed across the centuries.

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Thomas Lee House and Little Boston School, 1935, East Lyme

A Connecticut Home That Dates Back to the 1600s!

The Thomas Lee House in East Lyme, Connecticut, is one…

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First Meetinghouse in Hartford

The Free Consent of the People: Thomas Hooker and the Fundamental Orders

Government formed with the consent of the people was a radical idea in the age of nations ruled by monarchs, emperors, and tsars.

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The figure of the Indians' fort or palizado in New England and the manner of the destroying it by Captayne Underhill and Captayne Mason

Connecticut Declares War Against the Pequot – Today in History: May 1

On May 1, 1637, Connecticut Colony declared war against the…

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Reverend John Davenport

Forgotten Founder: John Davenport of New Haven

John Davenport, the founder of New Haven, was a prominent Puritan leader during the early years of the New England colonies.

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The Fundamental Orders

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders, inspired by Thomas Hooker’s sermon of May…

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Detail from the broadside an "Address to Miss Phillis Wheatly" composed by Jupiter Hammon

Hartford Publishes the First Literary Work by an African American – Who Knew?

…that Jupiter Hammon, who endured life-long enslavement became the first…

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Goshen Animal Pound, circa 1800

Goshen’s Animal Pound

Livestock were once a central feature and concern of daily life for Litchfield County residents.

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Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett Helps Found Greenwich

In the middle of the 17th century, Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett played an integral part in purchasing the land that became Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Charles De Wolf Brownell, Charter Oak

The Legend of the Charter Oak

This Charles D. Brownell painting from the mid-1850s epitomizes the…

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Detail of Warwick patent copy by John Winthrop, Jr., 1662

The Charter of 1662

The Connecticut Charter, which provided the basis for Connecticut government…

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Illustrations showing each farmer's branding earmarks

Branding Law Enacted – Today in History: February 5

On February 5, 1644, Connecticut enacted the first branding law…

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Establishing Self Government, 1634-1776

Puritans from Massachusetts settled early Connecticut towns, and in 1639 drew up “The Fundamental Orders” by which they would be governed.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1634-1776

In 1698 the General Court reorganized itself to deal more effectively with Connecticut’s complex new problems. The outlines of the modern legislative system began to emerge.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1634-1776

After the Pequot War, New settlers and speculators sought to establish new towns from the colony’s undistributed lands.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1634-1776

In the Great Awakening, impassioned evangelical ministers attracted crowds of thousands and the General Assembly promptly banned traveling preachers.

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Detail from a map of Connecticut and Rhode Island, with Long Island Sound, 1776

Boston Post Road Carved out Three Travel Routes through State

The forerunners of Connecticut’s three interstate highways began as rugged postal routes in the 1600s.

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Twenty-three-year old Virginia Algonquian man

Algonquin Man 1645

The Native American presence in Connecticut represents an important part…

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Southern part of Saltonstalls Pond, East Haven

East Haven was Home to Connecticut’s First Iron Works

When historians talk about iron production in Connecticut, the conversation…

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Advertisement for harness racing at Charter Oak Park, West Hartford

Connecticut’s “The Legend of the Charter Oak”

Charter Oak Bridge. Charter Oak State College. Charter Oak Park. Why are so many places and things in Connecticut named after a tree?

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Pequot bowl, trade item, 17th century

Causes of the Pequot War

The outbreak of the Pequot War (1636-37) is best understood…

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Map of Connecticut showing the settlements in 1670

Connecticut’s Oldest English Settlement

In 1633, Windsor became Connecticut’s first English settlement. This was…

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