Hartford was first settled in 1637. It was originally called Newtown, but changed to Hartford in honor of the English town of Hertford. In the 1800’s, the Hartford region was the center of abolitionist (anti-slavery) activity in America. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous book Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Hartford, and her famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, was an outspoken reverend who preached against slavery.
Today, Hartford is recovering from years of population decline. It is often referred to as "The Insurance Capital of the World" because several major insurance companies are headquartered in the city. It is the capital of Connecticut.
Bristol, known as the Mum City, because it was once a major center for chrysanthemum production, is best known for serving as the world headquarters for ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network). ESPN opened in Bristol in 1979. Bristol is also home to Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operated amusement park in America. The park opened in 1846. Today it features 40 rides and three roller coasters.
New Haven was founded in 1638 by a group of about 500 Puritans who left the Massachusetts Bay Colony in search of a more "perfect" place to worship. The town was originally named Quinnipac, after the Indians who lived in the region, but was renamed New Haven in 1640. In 1664, New Haven became part of the Connecticut Colony, and was made co-capital in 1701 (it maintained this status until 1873). In 1716, Yale University moved from Old Saybrook to New Haven. Today, it one of the nation’s most prestigious universities. In 1792, Yale graduate Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in New Haven – which made cotton processing 50 times more productive.
New London was founded in 1646 by English settler John Winthrop. It was originally named Pequot after the Indians of the region, but renamed New London in 1658. During the Revolutionary War, the town was burned to the ground by the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold. In 1784, New London became one of Connecticut’s first two incorporated towns and soon became one of the busiest whaling ports in the nation.
New London was the home of the Nobel-Prize winning playwrite Eugene O’ Neill.
Stamford was founded in 1640. It was originally known as Rippowam, the Indian name for the region. According to legend, the land that Stamford would be built upon was bought for a collection of trinkets, kettles, hatchets, clothing, and wampum from the local Indians.
Today, Stamford serves as the world headquarters for numerous corporations including Clairol (makeup products), Xerox, Schick (razors), and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). In 2004, it was named the safest city in America by the FBI ( for cities with over 100,000 people).
Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut. It was founded by P.T. Barnum, the famous owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In its early history, Bridgeport was a major manufacturing and transportationcenter. Companies such as Singer (sewing machines) and Remington (razor products) started in the city.
Today, Bridgeport is home to many of Connecticut’s finest attractions such as the P.T. Barnum Circum Museum, the Discovery Center and Planetarium, and the state’s only zoo.
Greenwich was originally founded in 1640 by British settlers from the New Haven Colony. It was named after the English city of Greenwich and was incorporated as a town in 1665. The town was destroyed in 1779 during the Revolutionary War.
Today, Greenwich is known for its sprawling estates and beautiful mansions. It is one of the most expensive and exclusive places in America to live and is home to many financial institutions. It is the southermost town in New England.
Located in Coventry, Conecticut, the Nathan Hale Homestead was the family home of the Hale family built in 1776. Nathan Hale was an American captain during the Revolutionary War. He is often thought of as America’s first spy, and was captured by British forces after the battle of Long Island in 1776. When he was caught, he was dressed like a school teacher hoping to gather intelligence
for the Continental Army. In the moments before he was hanged, he was said to have uttered the timeless words, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country".
Mystic is a popular New England tourist destination. It is most famous for Mystic Seaport, the world’s largest maritime (related to ships) museum. The museum features a re-created 19th century port, complete with 60 original buildings and dozens of ships and boats.
Mystic Seaport receives about 400,000 visitors per year.
The town of Mystic is also known for the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, a research facility famous for its beluga whales, hands-on sealife exhibits, shipwreck ruins, and oceanographic maps and models.