Connecticut, one of the six New England states, in the northeastern United States. Connecticut was the fifth of the original 13 states ratifying the Constitution of the United States on January 9, 1788, and it played an important role in the development of the United States. Settlement in Connecticut dates from the 1630s and many of the state’s modern towns and cities can trace their origins back to the 17th or 18th century. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and the center of the state’s largest metropolitan area. Bridgeport is the state’s largest city.
Rural Connecticut retains much of the charm of colonial New England. It is an area of churches with white steeples, charming colonial homes that face elm-shaded streets, and village greens where once, perhaps, the local militia trained for the Continental Army.
However, modern Connecticut is principally an urban and suburban residential state. Many of the nation’s early industrial advances, including the development of mass production, first took place in Connecticut. Cities and towns in the state were identified by the products they produced—hats in Danbury, brass in Waterbury, thread in Colchester. Although the economy today is decreasing its reliance on manufacturing, becoming instead more diverse and service-based, the state remains an important producer of such products as electronic equipment, aircraft engines, and spacecraft equipment.
The name Connecticut is probably derived from a Native American word, Quinnehtukqut, meaning “beside the long tidal river.” The state’s official nickname, adopted in 1959, is the Constitution State, chosen to commemorate the colony’s adoption in 1639 of the Fundamental Orders, sometimes regarded as the first written constitution. Among its numerous unofficial nicknames are the Nutmeg State, an unflattering reference to the reputed attempts of Yankee peddlers from Connecticut to sell wooden nutmegs in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Arsenal of the Nation, a reference to Connecticut’s role as a major supplier of weapons in the American Revolution (1775-1783) and other wars. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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