History of Fairfield County
The Dutch discovered the Connecticut Region in 1614, but the European settlement of the region was largely the work of the English Puritans from Massachusetts. In the 1630’s they flocked to the Connecticut Valley, and in 1638-39 the towns of Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield adopted the fundamental orders, which set up a government for the colony. It soon expanded to include other towns and in 1662 acquired the colony of New Haven, which had been founded in 1638. Connecticut joined the other colonies in the American Revolution and was one of the first states to ratify the Constitution. Its important shipping trade suffered from the Embargo Act (1807) and the War of 1812, and the state gradually turned to manufacturing. Connecticut abolished slavery in 1848 and supported the Union in the Civil War with nearly 60,000 troops. The state has prospered for most of the 20th Century, save for the Great Depression. During the early to mid 1980’s, largely due to the defense-related industries, Connecticut was one of the nations’s wealthiest states. Prosperity gave way to economic downturn later in the decade and in the early 1990’s as federal military spending declined markedly.