Originally called New Connecticut, Vermont created one of North America's first constitutions and was the first region to officially abolish slavery and support public schools. Ethan Allen, leading his Green Mountain Boys, helped capture Fort Ticonderoga at the start of the Revolutionary War, a victory that helped inspire American forces. It remained an independent republic for years after the war, finally becoming the 14th state admitted to the Union in 1791.
Since its earliest days, Vermont always concerned itself with basic human rights. Aside from abolishing slavery and supporting public schools, it also led the way in universal manhood suffrage. Years later, these rights were extended to woman when, in 1880, women were allowed to vote in town elections, and then state legislative races. Historically, Vermont had been a heavily Republican state. Abraham Lincoln took Vermont in his bid to the Presidency by a larger margin than any other state. It is only recently that Vermont began to move towards the Democratic Party.
Vermont is a New England state bordered by Canada to the north, New Hampshire to the east, Massachusetts to the south, and New York to the west. The Connecticut River flows along the state's border with New Hampshire. It is the only New England state not bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The state shares Lake Champlain with New York and Canada. The lake was named after Samuel de Champlain, who, in 1609, was the first European to explore the region. Vermont became the first state added to the original 13 colonies when it joined the Union in 1791 as the 14th state. The abbreviation for Vermont is VT.
The tree-covered Green Mountains occupy most of Vermont's land. In fact, the state is nicknamed the "Green Mountain State," and its name comes from the French words "Vert Mont," meaning "Green Mountain." The state's landscape includes the Northeast Highlands, the Taconic Mountains, rivers, river valleys and thin soil. Forests cover about three-quarters of Vermont's land. The state has a very rocky terrain and not much farmable land.
Vermont's mountainous, rugged terrain may be the cause for the state's small population. The state ranks 48th in population; only Alaska and Wyoming have fewer residents. Vermont is the least populated state east of the Mississippi River. A smaller percentage of the state's residents live in cities than any other state. In fact, Burlington and Rutland are Vermont's only cities with populations greater than 15,000. Fewer people live in Montpelier, the state capital, than any other state capital.
Industry is the most important part of Vermont's economy. The state's mountains are rich in marble and granite. The rocks taken from Vermont's quarries are used in buildings, memorials, and tombs. Trees are also important to the state's economy. The state is also the nation's leading producer of maple syrup, which is taken from its trees. Vermont is a leading producer of maple sugar. The state's trees are also used for making paper and furniture.
Vermont is the most important agricultural state in New England. Besides being the leading maple syrup producing state, Vermont also has an important dairy industry; the state's dairy industry is a leader in the Northeastern United States. Service industries are also important to Vermont. About two-thirds of the state's workers are employed by service industries like retail trade and finance.
Tourism is also an important part of Vermont's economy. The state attracts tourists from the United States and Canada because of its scenic beauty and rural charm. Visit Vermont's numerous small villages and maybe you'll find a valuable antique in one of the local shops. Enjoy the beauty of the Green Mountains, or join the thousands of tourists who ski down the mountain slopes every winter.
Many famous people have come from Vermont. President Chester A. Arthur and President Calvin Collidge were born in the state. Ethan Allen, an American Revolutionary War hero who led Vermont's Green Mountain Boys, is buried in Burlington, the state's largest city. The Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British. John Deere and Thomas Davenport were famous inventors from Vermont. Deere invented the first steel plowshare and Davenport invented the first electric motor.