New Connecticut (Vermont) declares independence - HISTORY
Year
1777

New Connecticut (Vermont) declares independence

Having recognized the need for their territory to assert its independence from both Britain and New York and remove themselves from the war they were waging against each other, a convention of future Vermonters assembles in Westminster and declares independence from the crown of Great Britain and the colony of New York on this day in 1777. The convention’s delegates included Vermont’s future governor, Thomas Chittenden, and Ira Allen, who would become known as the “father” of the University of Vermont.

Delegates first named the independent state New Connecticut and, in June 1777, finally settled on the name Vermont, an imperfect translation of the French for green mountain. One month later, on July 2, 1777, a convention of 72 delegates met in Windsor, Vermont, to adopt the state’s new—and revolutionary—constitution; it was formally adopted on July 8, 1777. Vermont’s constitution was not only the first written national constitution drafted in North America, but also the first to prohibit slavery and to give all adult males, not just property owners, the right to vote. Thomas Chittenden became Vermont’s first governor in 1778.

Throughout the 1780s, Congress refused to acknowledge that Vermont was a separate state independent of New York. In response, frustrated Vermonters went so far as to inquire if the British would readmit their territory to the empire as part of Canada. Vermont remained an independent nation even two years after George Washington became president of the United States of America under the new U.S. Constitution. However, as the politics of slavery threatened to divide the U.S., Vermont was finally admitted as the new nation’s 14th state in 1791, serving as a free counterbalance to slaveholding Kentucky, which joined the Union in 1792.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Biafra surrenders to Nigeria

The Republic of Biafra, a breakaway state of eastern Nigeria, surrenders to Nigeria after three years of costly fighting.In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. Six years later, the Muslim Hausas in northern Nigeria began massacring the Christian Igbos in the region, ...read more

“American Pie” hits #1 on the pop charts

On January 15, 1972, “American Pie,”, an epic poem in musical form that has long been etched in the American popular consciousness, hits #1 on the Billboard charts.The story of Don McLean’s magnum opus begins almost 13 years before its release, on a date with significance ...read more

Elizabeth crowned queen of England

Two months after the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I of England, Elizabeth Tudor, the 25-year-old daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, is crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey in London.The two half-sisters, both daughters of Henry VIII, had a stormy ...read more

Qaddafi becomes premier of Libya

Muammar al-Qaddafi, the young Libyan army captain who deposed King Idris in September 1969, is proclaimed premier of Libya by the so-called General People’s Congress.Born in a tent in the Libyan desert, Qaddafi was the son of a Bedouin farmer. He attended university and the ...read more

Martin Luther King Jr. born

On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister. King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organized the first major protest of the African-American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus ...read more

Packers face Chiefs in first Super Bowl

On this day in 1967, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever world championship game of American football.In the mid-1960s, the intense competition for players and fans between the National Football League (NFL) and the ...read more

Kennedy says U.S. troops are not fighting

Asked at a news conference if U.S. troops are fighting in Vietnam, President Kennedy answers “No.” He was technically correct, but U.S. soldiers were serving as combat advisers with the South Vietnamese army, and U.S. pilots were flying missions with the South Vietnamese Air ...read more

Packers beat Chiefs in first Super Bowl

On January 15, 1967, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) smash the American Football League (AFL)’s Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, in the first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship, later known as Super Bowl I, at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.Founded in 1960 as ...read more

The utopian Amana colony embraces capitalism

After nearly a century of cooperative living, the utopian Amana colonists of Iowa begin using U.S. currency for the first time.The wide-open spaces of the West have always appealed to visionary reformers attempting to start new societies. Among others, the Mormons in Utah, the ...read more

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is finished

On this day in 1831, Victor Hugo finishes writing Notre Dame de Paris, also known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Distracted by other projects, Hugo had continually postponed his deadlines for delivering the book to his publishers, but once he sat down to write it, he completed ...read more

Last episode of soap opera Santa Barbara airs

“The worst program on television–maybe ever…” one reviewer dubbed NBC’s daytime soap opera Santa Barbara upon its debut in July 1984. Critics soon changed their tune about the show, however, and it would run for more than eight years, garnering numerous Daytime Emmy Awards, ...read more

Molasses floods Boston streets

Fiery hot molasses floods the streets of Boston on this day in 1919, killing 21 people and injuring scores of others. The molasses burst from a huge tank at the United States Industrial Alcohol Company building in the heart of the city.The United States Industrial Alcohol ...read more

Hill Street Blues begins run

On this day in 1981, Hill Street Blues, television’s landmark cops-and-robbers drama, debuts on NBC. When the series first appeared, the police show had largely been given up for dead. Critics savaged stodgy and moralistic melodramas,and scoffed at lighter fare like Starsky and ...read more