Up in the
right corner of the United States there is a state so small, it is only about
100 miles across.
But if you have seen many American films, you probably know
exactly what Connecticut looks like. A typical picture shows an autumn
countryside. The trees burst with red, yellow, and gold leaves. There are shiny
red apples and fat orange pumpkins. The small towns have stone walls and painted
wooden houses. And there is always a steepled church so white that it seems to
glow. In fact, so many films with a snowy winter and merry Christmas theme have
been made here, that "Christmas in Connecticut" is almost a stereotype
for many Americans.
The real picture and true story of Connecticut is, of course,
quite different. Along with the beautiful countryside, you will find small
cities with big-city problems such as unemployment. Many of the very old large
factories have closed and are empty and silent.
Connecticut has a long and interesting history. The first
residents were Indians, mostly from the Pequot tribe. In the early 17th
century the English arrived. By the early 1900s, seven out of ten
people in The Constitution State were immigrants or children of immigrants.
During World War II, many Blacks from the south moved to
Connecticut to work in factories. In the 1980s and 1990s, a large number of
immigrants came from Laos and Cambodia. And today some of the wealthy
businessmen who take the short train ride across the border to their offices in
New York City are … Japanese.
This changing mixture of people, cultures, and even languages
has caused many changes in the lifestyle of this tiny state. Each time new
factories were created, the owners earned a lot of money. But every time
technology changed, some factories closed, and many workers lost their jobs. As
a result, some of the richest and some of the poorest people in the United
States live side-by-side here. But it is possible that this cycle will change.
Connecticut has always been known for its traditional factories, but new
technology and strong but smaller companies are becoming successful here.
For example, many companies use robotics to make goods, and a
biotechnology center has just opened.
Although famous Colt rifles and guns are still manufactured
in this little state, many people earn a living from fishing in the Atlantic
Ocean, tourism, and the arts.
The world's first nuclear submarine was built here, in 1954.
There's a Lego factory in Enfield, and a jet engine factory in Southington.
If you visit Connecticut you might enjoy the Mystic Seaport
Museum of Maritime America. Why? You can explore the last American wooden
whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan. It was built in 1841. You can even
help raise its sails and squeeze into the tiny rooms below the deck.
Or you could visit Yale University, one of the oldest and
finest universities in America. There's a Mark Twain Memorial here, and one of
the largest dinosaur sites in North America. At Dinosaur State Park you can even
make plaster casts of dinosaur tracks dating from the early Jurassic era, 200
million years ago.