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Connecticut (CT) Fast Facts
Location and Geography: Connecticut is bordered by two major East Coast states, Massachusetts and New York, and serves as a suburb for many of their city workers. Connecticut has been historically important due to its major waterways and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Counties and Regions: The state of Connecticut has eight counties, but unusually, it has no county governments. It has instead been divided into fifteen administrative regions, most of which have their own governing bodies. The official regions of Connecticut are as follows:
- Capitol Region
- Central Connecticut Region
- Central Naugatuck Valley Region
- Connecticut River Estuary Region
- Greater Bridgeport Region
- Housatonic Valley Region
- Litchfield Hills Region
- Lower Naugatuck Valley Region
- Midstate Connecticut Region
- Northeastern Connecticut Region
- Northwestern Connecticut Region
- South Central Connecticut Region
- Southeastern Connecticut Region
- Southwestern Connecticut Region
- Windham Region
Population: Connecticut has the third-smallest land area in the United States, but has a relatively high population of more than 3.5 million. Many people are concentrated in its western counties, which are technically included in the metropolitan area of New York City.
Major Cities: Hartford can be found on the Connecticut River in the middle of the state, and is Connecticut’s capital. Its greater metropolitan area, with more than 1.2 million people, is the largest metropolitan area within Connecticut. Bridgeport and New Haven, however, have higher city populations than Hartford, likely due to their proximity to New York.
Story Behind the Name: Like many places in New England, Connecticut’s name is an Anglicized form of a Native American word, in this case a phrase that likely meant “upon the long river.”
History and Colonization: Modern-day Connecticut was originally a Dutch colony in the seventeenth century, but encroachment by English colonists soon pushed the Dutch out of the area (and out of all of New England soon after). Several Native American tribes lived in the Connecticut region, some of whom allied with the English colonists and others of whom fought against them. Most of the natives were eventually killed either by warfare or smallpox, but the few descendants that remain in the state possess one of the wealthiest reservations in the country due to the success of their casinos.
The colony of Connecticut was officially formed when a royal charter joined together three English towns in the area. Connecticut citizens became known for their religious, steadfast, and conservative culture. They created a formal government early on and did not deviate much from it, not even after the American Revolution.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, an explosion of inventors from Connecticut (such as Eli Whitney) greatly advanced technology in North America. The state developed a strongly industrial economy, and its products were crucial to the victory of the Union in the ensuing Civil War. After the war, Connecticut’s factories attracted many unskilled workers from European countries and African-Americans from the South. The sudden influx of immigrants made Connecticut’s culture much more diverse and Catholic, which did not always go over well with the traditional, Protestant roots of the state.
Beginning in the later part of the twentieth century, Connecticut’s industrial lifeblood took some major hits. The Cold War ended, putting a stop to many of the military projects that had sustained the state’s economy. And although Connecticut’s high-income areas remained as upscale as ever, its poor urban areas became increasingly crime-ridden. An economic switch from factories to a service- and finance-based economy has helped Connecticut to turn things around somewhat.