Facts About Connecticut History: 6 Things You Might Not Know

 By Jason Gray

The Constitution State has a long and colorful history. However, the state seems more known these days for being home to more insurance professionals per capita than any other state in the country as well as the headquarters for ESPN. But some of the other facts about Connecticut will surprise even the most die-hard New Englander.

1. The first nuclear submarine was launched in Connecticut.
The Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, built the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine, in 1954. The submarine made history by being the first ship to cross the North Pole. The sub is now part of the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. Electric Boat, now part of General Dynamics, remains the top submarine shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy.

2. Connecticut has always been the "Arsenal of the Nation."
The nuclear submarines of Electric Boat or the attack helicopters of United Technologies trace their roots in Connecticut culture back to native son Samuel Colt's Hartford-based gunsmith company. Eli Whitney developed a way to make muskets from interchangeable parts in 1798, which led to a federal order for 15,000 muskets, according to the Connecticut Post. The Gatling Gun and Tommy Gun were also developed and built in Connecticut.

3. The Constitution State nickname doesn't refer to the U.S. Constitution.
The Fundamental Orders of 1639 was the first written constitution of a democratic government. It remained the colony's law for 23 years and provided for election of a governor and six magistrates, according to the Bill of Rights Institute.

4. I'll drink to that: Connecticut one of only two states that voted against Prohibition.
Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only two states to reject the 18th Amendment and prohibition at first. Connecticut eventually ratified it after it had already been adopted by the U.S. Constitution, but it failed its first vote in the state Senate by a vote of 20 to 14.

5. Naming the state after the river.
 The word “Connecticut” comes from the Algonquian “Quinnitukqut,” which means “at the long tidal river,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It is one of eight state names that come from Algonquian language roots. Luckily for people trying to remember how to spell it, Noah Webster of his eponymous dictionary was born in Connecticut.

6. Home of the second largest casino in the country.
Mashantucket, Connecticut, is home to the Foxwoods Resort Casino and its 344,000 square feet of gaming space. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe owns the casino, which is located on their reservation land.
Twenty-five percent of slot machine revenue goes to the state, resulting in more than $3.2 billion in state revenue since Foxwoods added slot machines in 1994, according to the Harford Courant.

Foxwoods' record as the largest casino was lost in 2013 when the WinStar World Casino expansion opened in Thackerville, Oklahoma.