The Robinson Library
The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> New England >> Connecticut

The capital of Connecticut and seat of Hartford County, is situated at the head of navigation on the Connecticut River. It is a financial, commercial, and service-oriented city, noted since the 1790's as one of the chief centers of the U.S. insurance business. The city proper has a population of approximately 124,400; the metropolitan area has a total population of approximately 1,188,240.

location of Hartford


The first European to visit the Hartford area was Adriaen Block, a Dutch navigator, who explored the Connecticut River in 1614. A trading post and fort, the House of Good Hope, was established by the Dutch in 1633, and in 1636 the Reverend Thomas Hooker and his assistant, Samuel Stone, brought most of their congregation here from New Towne (now Cambridge, Massachusetts). In 1637 the settlement was named for Hertford, England, Stone's birthplace. In 1639 Hartford became part of Connecticut Colony, governed under the Fundamental Orders. In 1662 Charles II of England granted the colony a charter, and the capital was located in Hartford. The City of Hartford was incorporated in 1784.


The insurance industry was created when groups of merchants began to share the risks inherent with their trade. The practice was formalized with the creation of the Hartford Fire Insurance Group in 1810, which still operates today, as the Hartford Insurance Company. Hartford continues to be home of many of the nation's largest insurance companies, and is known today as the Insurance Capital of the World.


Hartford has a mayor-council form of government.

Official Seal of the City of Hartford


Hartford is served by Hartford Public Schools, as well as many private and parochial schools.

Institutions of higher learning in Hartford include Trinity College (1823), Hartford Seminary (1834), Hartford College for Women (1939), and the Hartford Graduate Center (1955).

Points of Interest

Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

Charter Oak Cultural Center, housed in the first synagogue in Connecticut, built in 1876.

Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Research Center.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Twain House and Museum.

Old State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch and completed in 1796.

Wadsworth Atheneum, an art museum, opened in 1844.

The homes of authors Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Noah Webster.

Other Information

Hartford industries introduced numerous products to the American public, including: dental gold (1812), the revolver (1836), oilcloth (1837), and machine-made watches (1838).

The Hartford Courant, established in 1764, is the oldest continuously-operating newspaper in the country.

Hartford as seen from the Connecticut River

City of Hartford
Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau

Thomas Hooker
Charles II
Mark Twain
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Noah Webster

The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> New England >> Connecticut

This page was last updated on October 04, 2017.