State: Connecticut – CT

Published on July 1st, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The Connecticut state abbreviation is CT, it is the southernmost state in the region of the U.S. known as New England. When referring to the tri-state area, this location is grouped with New York and New Jersey. To the east you’ll find Rhode Island, to the north is Massachusetts, to the west is New York, and finally Long Island Sound is to the South.

It is named after a river of the same name which flows through the center of the state. The name comes from a modernized version of the Algonquian language word for “long tidal river.” Join us today as we explore a broad overview, a examination of the law and government, and finally a look at the state’s symbols.

Before we dive into those things though, there is some key information about this, one of the 50 U.S. States, that you should know:

  • Capital: Hartford
  • Admitted to the Union: January 9, 1788 (5th state)
  • Time zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • Nickname: The Constitution State
  • Official Song: Yankee Doodle
  • State website: ct.gov
  • State Flag

map of Connecticut in the United States

A Broad Overview of CT

CT is the third smallest state in terms of total area. It is the 29th most populated and the fourth most densely populated. This location was crucial in the creation and development of the Federal Government of the United States in the early years of its inception. Much of the south and west areas are technically part of the New York metropolitan area.

The center of population is in the city of Cheshire in New Haven County. Dutch settlers first arrived here and setup what would be a small and short-lived settlement . Originally, over half of the area was considered part of the colony New Netherlands.

map of Connecticut

Major settlements were established by England in the 1630’s. During this time, Thomas Hooker led a band of people from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to found the Connecticut Colony. Other settlers came to found the Saybrook and New Haven Colonies as well. Two of these settlements created a set of documents known as the Fundamental Orders.

These documents are considered the first constitutions of their kind in North America. The three colonies merged together under a royal charter which made CT a crown colony. It would be one of the Thirteen Colonies that rose up against the British in the American Revolution.

The presence of several prominent rivers and ports along the Long Island Sound have added to the a focus on maritime traditions here. While it is one of the wealthiest states in terms of economy, there is a gap between the urban and suburban income that is larger than expected.

A Rich History of Organized Law and Government

With a nickname like “The Constitution State,” it is apparent that this place has a history in regards to organized government. It’s possible that the name originated from the Fundamental Orders, or it could be referring to the “Great Compromise” of the 1787 Constitutional convention.

Over the course of its history, the settlement began with these Fundamental Orders and proceeded through a total of four separate documents over the years. The second iteration was when they were granted governmental authority by King Charles II of England via a charter in 1662.

At this time there were no separate branches of government, thus the General Assembly had all of the say in matters. The state did not see a constitution like the U.S. has until 1818. The current iteration of the document was implemented in 1965. This final and modern version was very similar to the 1818 one, but with some tweaks.

The most likely reason that the nickname was given was a result of CT’s role in the constitutional convention of 1787. During this event, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth put together what would be known as the Great Compromise.

This plan was designed to combine both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey plan which would create a bicameral legislature. This plan went into place until the early 20th century where Senators no longer were selected by states and instead were elected by the people. Now we’ll look at the branches of government individually:

1. Executive

Currently, the executive branch is headed by the governor. From 1639 until the constitution’s creation in 1818, the governor was the one to monitor and organize the General Assembly. In 1974 the first woman to be elected governor before her husband, Ella Grasso, was sworn into office.

There are a number of executive departments, and beyond a Governor and Lieutenant Governor, there are four other offices that are elected by the people:

  • Secretary of the State
  • Treasurer
  • Comptroller
  • Attorney General

2. Legislative 

This name refers to the General Assembly which is a bicameral government body. It consists of an upper portion (the State Senate) and a lower portion (The House of Representatives). In order for laws to pass, they must go through each body, but these can be vetoed by the Governor. Even this can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in each house.

Article XV of the CT state constitution states that Senators and Representatives must be at least eighteen years old and can be elected to two-year terms. The lieutenant Governor runs the Senate, while the Speaker of the House runs the House of Representatives.

These bodies are also responsible for creating ordinances that regulate noise control and zoning guidelines.

3. Judicial 

The highest court in this branch of government is the Supreme Court of the state. While similar to the United States Supreme Court, there is no testimony given by witnesses, and lawyers may only present oral arguments for up to thirty minutes.

The court became its own entity in 1818 to separate itself from the legislative and executive branches.

CT State Symbols

Starting first with the flag of the state, we see a white shield on a blue background. There are three grapevines, each showing three bunches of purple grapes, and a banner below the shield that reads: “Qui Transtulit Sustinet” which means “He who transplanted still sustains” in Latin. This is course, the state’s motto.

Below are some other official symbols:

  • Flower: Mountain Laurel
  • Tree: Charter Oak
  • Bird: American Robin
  • Fish: American Shad
  • Insect: Praying Mantis
  • Mammal: Sperm Whale

If you’re hungry for more information, we also have some phenomenal Connecticut state facts for you to digest. Thanks for reading and be sure to share your experiences in this state in the comments below!

printable map of Connecticut



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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