Date of Statehood: January 9, 1788
Population: 3,574,097 (2010)
Size: 5,544 square miles
Nickname(s): Constitution State; Nutmeg State; Land of Steady Habits; Provisions State
Motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet (“He who transplanted still sustains”)
Tree: White Oak
Flower: Mountain Laurel
Bird: American Robin
- The Fundamental Orders was the first constitution to be adopted by the American colonies in 1639. It established the structure and boundaries of the newly formed government and ensured the rights of free men to elect their public officials—principles that were later embraced within the U.S. Constitution.
- During a candle-lit dispute that occurred when Sir Edmund Andros attempted to seize Connecticut’s Royal Charter by order of King James II in 1687, the lights went out and the charter was whisked away to safety amid the chaos. Captain Joseph Wadsworth hid the charter inside a grand white oak tree, which became a symbol of freedom and, later, the official state tree.
- Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with the word “traitor” after he conspired with the British to turn over the post at West Point in exchange for money and a command in the British Army, was born in Norwich, Connecticut. In 1781, he led British troops in the Battle of Groton Heights, which devastated New London, Connecticut.
- The construction of Connecticut’s Old State House was completed in 1796. In 1814, it hosted the Hartford Convention, a meeting of Federalist leaders in which the adoption of seven proposed amendments to the Constitution was considered by many to be treasonous.
- Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only two states that failed to ratify the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcohol.
- The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, was constructed in Groton, Connecticut, between 1952 and 1954. Much larger than its diesel-electric predecessors, it traveled at speeds in excess of 20 knots and could remain submerged almost indefinitely because its atomic engine required only a very small quantity of nuclear fuel and no air. After 25 years of service, the Nautilus was decommissioned and opened to the public as an exhibit in Groton.
- The Connecticut-born Revolutionary soldier and spy Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British in 1776, became Connecticut’s official state hero in 1985.