Connecticut Colony

Last updated
Colony of Connecticut

1636–1776
Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg
Ctcolony.png
A map of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies
StatusColony of England (1636–1707)
Colony of Great Britain (1707–76)
Capital Hartford (1636–1776)
New Haven (joint capital with Hartford, 1701–76)
Common languagesEnglish, Mohegan-Pequot, Quiripi
Government Constitutional monarchy
LegislatureGeneral Court of the Colony of Connecticut
History 
 Established
March 3 1636
1776
Currency Connecticut pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Saybrook Colony
Blank.png New Haven Colony
Connecticut Flag of the United States (1776-1777).svg
Today part ofFlag of the United States.svg  United States

The Connecticut Colony or Colony of Connecticut, originally known as the Connecticut River Colony or simply the River Colony, was an English colony in North America that became the state of Connecticut. It was organized on March 3, 1636 as a settlement for a Puritan congregation, and the English permanently gained control of the region in 1637 after struggles with the Dutch. The colony was later the scene of a bloody war between the colonists and Pequot Indians known as the Pequot War. Connecticut Colony played a significant role in the establishment of self-government in the New World with its refusal to surrender local authority to the Dominion of New England, an event known as the Charter Oak incident which occurred at Jeremy Adams' inn and tavern.

Connecticut River river in the New England region of the United States

The Connecticut River is the longest river in the New England region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for 406 miles (653 km) through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with Quebec, Canada, and discharges at Long Island Sound. Its watershed encompasses five U.S. states and one Canadian province, 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2) via 148 tributaries, 38 of which are major rivers. It produces 70% of Long Island Sound's fresh water, discharging at 19,600 cubic feet (560 m3) per second.

Pequot War war

The Pequot War was an armed conflict that took place between 1636 and 1638 in New England between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of the colonists of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies and their allies from the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes. The war concluded with the decisive defeat of the Pequots. At the end, about 700 Pequots had been killed or taken into captivity. Hundreds of prisoners were sold into slavery to the West Indies; other survivors were dispersed as captives to the victorious tribes.

Dominion of New England English possession in North America between 1680 and 1689

The Dominion of New England in America (1686–89) was an administrative union of English colonies covering New England and the Mid-Atlantic Colonies. Its political structure represented centralized control similar to the model used by the Spanish monarchy through the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The dominion was unacceptable to most colonists because they deeply resented being stripped of their rights and having their colonial charters revoked. Governor Sir Edmund Andros tried to make legal and structural changes, but most of these were undone and the Dominion was overthrown as soon as word was received that King James II had left the throne in England. One notable change was the introduction of the Church of England into Massachusetts, whose Puritan leaders had previously refused to allow it any sort of foothold.

Contents

Two other English settlements in the State of Connecticut were merged into the Colony of Connecticut: Saybrook Colony in 1644 and New Haven Colony in 1662.

Saybrook Colony English possession in North America between 1635 and 1644

The Saybrook Colony was established in late 1635 at the mouth of the Connecticut River in present-day Old Saybrook, Connecticut by John Winthrop, the Younger, son of John Winthrop, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop the Younger was designated Governor by the original settlers, including Colonel George Fenwick and Captain Lion Gardiner. They claimed possession of the land via a deed of conveyance from Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. The colony was named in honor of Lords Saye and Brooke, prominent Parliamentarians and holders of the colony's land grants.

New Haven Colony English possession in North America between 1639 and 1665

The New Haven Colony was a small English colony in North America from 1637 to 1664 in what is now the state of Connecticut.

Leaders

Governor John Haynes of the Massachusetts Bay Colony led 100 people to Hartford in 1636. He and Puritan minister Thomas Hooker are often considered the founders of the Connecticut colony. Hooker delivered a sermon to his congregation on May 31, 1638 on the principles of government, and it influenced those who wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut later that year. The Fundamental Orders may have been drafted by Roger Ludlow of Windsor, the only trained lawyer living in Connecticut in the 1630s; they were transcribed into the official record by secretary Thomas Welles. The Rev. John Davenport and merchant Theophilus Eaton led the founders of the New Haven Colony, which was absorbed into Connecticut Colony in the 1660s.

John Haynes, also sometimes spelled Haines, was a colonial magistrate and one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony. He served one term as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was the first governor of Connecticut, ultimately serving eight separate terms.

Thomas Hooker Puritan minister

Thomas Hooker was a prominent Puritan colonial leader, who founded the Colony of Connecticut after dissenting with Puritan leaders in Massachusetts. He was known as an outstanding speaker and an advocate of universal Christian suffrage.

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders were adopted by the Connecticut Colony council on January 14, 1639 OS. The fundamental orders describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure and powers. They wanted the government to have access to the open ocean for trading.

In the colony's early years, the governor could not serve consecutive terms, so the governorship rotated for 20 years between John Haynes and Edward Hopkins, both of whom were from Hartford. George Wyllys, Thomas Welles, and John Webster, also Hartford men, sat in the governor's chair for brief periods in the 1640s and 1650s.

Edward Hopkins was an English colonist and politician and Governor of the Connecticut Colony. Active on both sides of the Atlantic, he was a founder of the New Haven and Connecticut colonies, serving seven one-year terms as governor of Connecticut. He returned to England in the 1650s, where he was politically active in the administration of Oliver Cromwell. He remained in England despite being elected governor of Connecticut in 1655, and died in London in 1657.

George Wyllys or Wyllis served for a year (1642–1643) as one of the early governors of the Connecticut Colony.

Thomas Welles is the only person in Connecticut's history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. In 1639, he was elected as the first treasurer of the Colony of Connecticut, and from 1640–1649 served as the colony's secretary. In this capacity, he transcribed the Fundamental Orders into the official colony records on 14 January 1638, OS,.

John Winthrop the Younger of New London was the son of the founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and he played an important role in consolidating separate settlements into a single colony on the Connecticut River. He also served as Governor of Connecticut from 1659 to 1675, and he was instrumental in obtaining the colony's 1662 charter which incorporated New Haven into Connecticut. His son Fitz-John Winthrop also governed the colony for 10 years starting in 1698.

John Winthrop the Younger Governor of the Saybrook and Connecticut Colonies

John Winthrop the Younger was an early governor of the Connecticut Colony, and he played a large role in the merger of several separate settlements into the unified colony.

New London, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States, located at the mouth of the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut. It was one of the world's three busiest whaling ports for several decades beginning in the early 19th century, along with Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts. The wealth that whaling brought into the city furnished the capital to fund much of the city's present architecture. The city subsequently became home to other shipping and manufacturing industries, but it has gradually lost most of its industrial heart.

Massachusetts Bay Colony English possession in North America between 1628 and 1684

The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628–1691) was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century around the Massachusetts Bay, the northernmost of the several colonies later reorganized as the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The lands of the settlement were located in southern New England in Massachusetts, with initial settlements situated on two natural harbors and surrounding land, about 15.4 miles (24.8 km) apart—the areas around Salem and Boston.

Major John Mason was the military leader of the early colony. He was the commander in the Pequot War, a magistrate, and the founder of Windsor, Saybrook, and Norwich. He was also Deputy Governor under Winthrop. Roger Ludlow was an Oxford-educated lawyer and former Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He petitioned the General Court for rights to settle the area, and he led the March Commission in settling disputes over land rights. He is credited as drafting the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1650) in collaboration with Hooker, Winthrop, and others. He was also the first Deputy Governor of Connecticut.

John Mason (c. 1600–1672) English Army major, 1600–1672

John Mason, was an early English settler, soldier, commander, and Deputy Governor of the Connecticut Colony. Mason was best known as leading the English settlers on an attack on the Pequot and the Mystic Fort on an event that ended up being known as the Mystic Massacre that effectively ended the Pequot tribe.

Roger Ludlow English lawyer, founder and deputy governor of Connecticut Colony

Roger Ludlow (1590–1664) was an English lawyer, magistrate, military officer, and colonist. He was active in the founding of the Colony of Connecticut, and helped draft laws for it and the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony. Under his and John Mason's direction, Boston's first fortification, later known as Castle William and then Fort Independence was built on Castle Island in Boston harbor. Frequently at odds with his peers, he eventually also founded Fairfield and Norwalk before leaving New England entirely.

William Leete of Guilford served as governor of New Haven Colony before its merger into Connecticut, and he also served as governor of Connecticut following Winthrop's death in 1675. He is the only man to serve as governor of both New Haven and Connecticut. Robert Treat of Milford served as governor of the colony, both prior to and after its inclusion in the Dominion of New England under Sir Edmund Andros. His father Richard Treat was one of the original patentees of the colony. Roger Wolcott was a weaver, statesman, and politician from Windsor, and he served as governor from 1751 to 1754. Oliver Wolcott was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and also of the Articles of Confederation, as a representative of Connecticut and the nineteenth governor. He was a major general for the Connecticut Militia in the Revolutionary War serving under George Washington.

Religion

The original colonies along the Connecticut River and in New Haven were established by separatist Puritans who were connected with the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies. They held Calvinist religious beliefs similar to the English Puritans, but they maintained that their congregations needed to be separated from the English state church. They had emigrated to New England during the Great Migration.

Economic and social history

The economy began with subsistence farming in the 17th century and developed with greater diversity and an increased focus on production for distant markets, especially the British colonies in the Caribbean. The American Revolution cut off imports from Britain and stimulated a manufacturing sector that made heavy use of the entrepreneurship and mechanical skills of the people. In the second half of the 18th century, difficulties arose from the shortage of good farmland, periodic money problems, and downward price pressures in the export market. In agriculture, there was a shift from grain to animal products. [1] The colonial government attempted to promote various commodities as export items from time to time, such as hemp, potash, and lumber, in order to bolster its economy and improve its balance of trade with Great Britain. [2]

Connecticut's domestic architecture included a wide variety of house forms. They generally reflected the dominant English heritage and architectural tradition. [3]

See also

Further reading

Specialized studies

Historiography

Related Research Articles

This section of the timeline of United States history concerns events from before the lead up to the American Revolution.

Theophilus Eaton was a merchant, farmer, and Puritan colonial leader who was the co-founder and first governor of New Haven Colony, Connecticut.

Captain John Underhill early settler of American colonies, Captain of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Militia

John Underhill was an early English settler and soldier in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Province of New Hampshire, where he also served as governor; the New Haven Colony, New Netherland, and later the Province of New York, settling on Long Island. Hired to train militia in New England, he is most noted for leading colonial militia in the Pequot War (1636-1637) and Kieft's War which the colonists mounted against two different groups of Native Americans. He also published an account of the Pequot War.

The U.S. state of Connecticut began as three distinct settlements of Puritans from Massachusetts and England; they combined under a single royal charter in 1663. Known as the "land of steady habits" for its political, social and religious conservatism, the colony prospered from the trade and farming of its ethnic English Protestant population. The Congregational and Unitarian churches became prominent here. Connecticut played an active role in the American Revolution, and became a bastion of the conservative, business-oriented, Constitutionalism Federalist Party.

Charter colony is one of three classes of colonial government established in the 17th century English colonies in North America, the other classes being proprietary colony and royal colony. These colonies were operated under a corporate charter given by the crown. The colonies of Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts Bay were at one time or another charter colonies. The crown might revoke a charter and convert the colony into a crown colony. In a charter colony, Britain granted a charter to the colonial government establishing the rules under which the colony was to be governed. The charters of Rhode Island and Connecticut granted the colonists significantly more political liberty than other colonies. Rhode Island and Connecticut continued to use their colonial charters as their State constitutions after the American Revolution.

Robert Seeley, also Seely, Seelye, or Ciely, (1602-1668) was an early Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who helped establish Watertown, Wethersfield, and New Haven. He also served as second-in-command to John Mason in the Pequot War.

Richard Risley was an early Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut. Risley sailed from England on July 15, 1633, in the ship Griffen with Thomas Hooker, William Stone, John Cotton, and John Haynes. They arrived in Boston on September 4, 1633.

The New England Colonies of British America included Connecticut Colony, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the Province of New Hampshire, as well as a few smaller short-lived colonies. The New England colonies were part of the Thirteen Colonies and eventually became five of the six states in New England. Captain John Smith's 1616 work A Description of New England first applied the term "New England" to the coastal lands from Long Island Sound to Newfoundland.

William Phelps, was a Puritan who emigrated from Crewkerne, England in 1630, one of the founders of both Dorchester, Boston Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut, and one of eight selected to lead the first democratic town government in the American colonies in 1637. He was foreman of the first grand jury in New England, served most of his life in early colonial government, and according to noted historian Henry Reed Stiles, Phelps "was one of the most prominent and highly respected men in the colony."

William Parker (1618–1686) was an early Puritan settler in the Connecticut Colony and one of the founders of Hartford. He arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the summer of 1635 after sailing from London on May 21, 1635 aboard the ship Mathew. He settled in Newtowne, the community that is now Cambridge, and became one of the members of Thomas Hooker's congregation. He was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.

Thomas Bull, also known as Captain Thomas Bull, was an early settler in the Connecticut Colony who is counted as one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.

References

  1. Daniels (1980)
  2. Nutting (2000)
  3. Smith (2007)

Bibliography

  • Berkin, Carol (1996). First Generations: Women in Colonial America. New York, NY: Hill and Wang. ISBN   978-0-8090-1606-8.
  • Bushman, Richard L. (1993). The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. New York, NY: Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0-679-74414-6.
  • Butler, Jon (1990). Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. London: Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0-67405-601-5.
  • Daniels, Bruce C. (1980). "Economic development in colonial and revolutionary Connecticut: an overview". William and Mary Quarterly . 37 (3): 429–450. JSTOR   1923811.
  • Green, Jack P.; Pole, J. R. (1984). Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   9780801830556.
  • Hull, Brooks B.; Moran, Gerald F. (1999). "The churching of colonial Connecticut: a case study". Review of Religious Research . 41 (2): 165–183. JSTOR   3512105.
  • Lipman, Andrew (2008). ""A meanes to knitt them togeather": the exchange of body parts in the Pequot War". William and Mary Quarterly . third series. 65 (1): 3–28. JSTOR   25096768.
  • Nutting, P. Bradley (2000). "Colonial Connecticut's search for a staple: a mercantile paradox". New England Journal of History . 57 (1): 58–69.
  • Smith, Ann Y. (2007). "A new look at the early domestic architecture of Connecticut". Connecticut History . 46 (1): 16–44.
  • Williams, Peter W., ed. (1999). Perspectives on American Religion and Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN   978-1-5771-8117-0.

Archival collections

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Coordinates: 41°43′05″N72°45′05″W / 41.71803°N 72.75146°W / 41.71803; -72.75146