History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People
Mahican and Penacook groups were among the first Native Americans in the
Vermont region. The New York
Iroquois arrived around 1500, forcing many of the other groups away.
During the early 1600s, several groups returned to conquer the
Iroquois with help from French explorers.
In 1609, Samuel de
Champlain entered Lake Champlain and claimed the entire Vermont region for
France. Britain also claimed
land in Vermont. Colonists
from Massachusetts built Fort Dummer, the first permanent white settlement
of Vermont. During the French
and Indian War (1754-1763), France and Britain fought for control of North
America. At the end of the
war Britain received all land east of the Mississippi River, including
During the late
1600s, the governor of New Hampshire granted land to settlers.
New York claimed the same land and granted it to other settlers.
In 1764, King George III of England ruled that New York owned the
land. A group of New
Hampshire settlers, the Green Mountain Boys, fought to keep their land and
forced New Yorkers out of the region.
War (1775-1783) began before the land disputes were settled.
Many of the Green Mountain Boys united to capture two British forts
in New York. They also helped
to win a huge American victory in the Battle of Bennington.
In 1777, settlers
of the New Hampshire Grants united to form their own state.
They named it Vermont, a French word for “green mountain.”
Vermont settled the dispute with New York in 1790 by paying $30,000
to the state. On March 4,
1791, Vermont became the 14th state of the Union.
During the early
1800s, trade with Britain was important to Vermont’s economy.
After the War of 1812, restricted trade hurt the economy.
In 1823, completion of Champlain Canal gave Vermont direct access
to a major market in New York. Wool
became the leading industry. In
1850, prices dropped due to increased competition from western states.
Many farmers were forced to sell their sheep and dairy farming
replaced wool as the leading industry of the state.
Vermont fought for
the Union during the Civil War (1861-1865).
After the war, the agriculture industry became less important and
many people moved to the cities. Wood-processing
and cheese industries grew quickly. The
quarry industry provided work cutting granite, marble, and slate.
Other factories manufactured lumber, tools, and guns.
During the early
1900s, manufacturing continued to lead Vermont’s industries.
The Great Depression (1929-1939) closed businesses and many lost
their jobs. The federal
government helped to provide jobs by constructing dams, parks, and
conserving natural resources. World
War II (1939-1945) also helped to provide jobs and improve the economy.
The Vermont Development Department was established in 1949 to
attract new industries to Vermont. Some
large companies moved to the state and the tourism industry grew
Recently, tourism and manufacturing continue to lead the industries of Vermont. The population has also continued to grow. Several laws have been passed to protect the environment from pollution and preserve farmland and forests.