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Origins of Connecticut


Connecticut landscape
Connecticut landscape

At the beginning of the 17th century, Connecticut was the home of a number of different Native American groups, all of whom spoke related Algonquian languages. Archaeological sites indicate these people lived largely by hunting deer, catching fish and shellfish, and growing corn, beans, and squash. They migrated from forest to coastal areas to take advantage of seasonal resources. The total native population is estimated at about 7,000 people in the early 1600s, after an epidemic that decimated Native Americans throughout New England.

Most powerful among the Connecticut people were the Pequot, who lived in the east and along the shore of Long Island Sound, an area they had conquered from other native groups at the end of the 1500s. Early in the 1600s, a number of Pequots split off from the main group. Led by a chief named Uncas, they called themselves Mohegan, and controlled an area near the Thames River.

Other native groups were the Nipmuc in the northeastern sections of Connecticut; the Niantic along the eastern coast; and the Hammonasset, Quinnipiac, Paugussett, Siwanoy, Podunk, Poquonock, Massacoe, and Tunxi in the central and western sections. "Connecticut" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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