Early Settlers of Connecticut

Who were some early European explorers of what is now Connecticut?
Important Dates in the History of the Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut until Unification with the Colony of New Haven in 1665
  • 1614: Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer, sails along the Connecticut coast and up the Connecticut River.  He claims the area for the Dutch.  English Captain John Smith explores the northern Atlantic coast and proposes English settlements in what he called "New England."

  • 1620: The Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  A patent is issued "for the planting, ruling, and governing of New England in America."

  • 1630: The Puritans establish a settlement at Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 1631: Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, purportedly prepares a document that has come to be known as the "Warwick Patent."  The patent is used to justify settlements within the present state of Connecticut.

  • 1632: By this time the Dutch have established trading posts along the coast and along the Connecticut River for a short distance inland.

  • 1633: The Dutch buy a parcel of land from the Indians, on what is the present site of Hartford, and build a fort/trading post known as The House of Good Hope.

  • 1633: The English build a trading post in the area where the Farmington River empties into the Connecticut River.  This site later becomes the Town of Windsor.

  • 1634: The English establish a settlement, under Captain John Oldham, south of the Dutch trading post at Hartford.  This site later becomes the Town of Wethersfield.

  • 1635: The English establish a permanent settlement at Hartford under the direction of John Steel. 

  • 1635: Saybrook Colony is established at the mouth of the Connecticut River.

  • 1636: Other "Founders" of Hartford arrive, including the Rev. Thomas Hooker, Rev. Samuel Stone, and most of the congregation of the First Church of Christ of New Towne (now Cambridge, Massachusetts).

  • 1636: Additional "Founders" of Windsor arrive.  By the end of April 1636 most of the congregation of the Dorchester, Massachusetts, church settles in what is now Windsor.

  • 1636: The Towns of Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield unite to form the Colony of Connecticut.

  • 1637: The English defeat the Pequots in a brief but bloody war.

  • 1638: A group of wealthy Puritans under the leadership of John Davenport found the Colony of New Haven.

  • 1639: Henry Whitfield helps establish the Town of Guilford.  The towns of Fairfield, Milford, and Stratford are settled.

  • 1639: The Fundamental Orders are adopted by the Colony of Connecticut.  They serve as the framework of civil government for the colony. John Haynes becomes Connecticut's first governor. 

  • 1641: A dispute in the religious community in Wethersfield leads several families to resettle in the newly established Town of Stamford.  

  • 1644: The Saybrook Colony merges with the Connecticut Colony.

  • 1645: Matthew Grant, a resident of Windsor, begins a "Diary."  Entries will include transcriptions of sermons, a family register, rules for measuring land, and more.

  • 1646: John Winthrop, Jr., establishes what will become the Town of New London.

  • 1647: Alse Young, the first person to be executed for witchcraft in Connecticut, is hung in May.

  • 1653: Samuel Wyllys begins his life-long service to Connecticut when the General Court votes that he be nominated as a magistrate.

  • 1662 The Colony of Connecticut obtains a royal charter from Great Britain, which unites it with the New Haven Colony.  This charter serves as Connecticut's constitution until 1818.

  • 1665: The Colonies of Connecticut and New Haven are officially united.


Bixby, William. Connecticut: A New Guide [CSL call number History Reference F 92.3 .B59].

Colonial Connecticut Records (CCR) complete, digitized volumes of the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776

The Encyclopedia of Connecticut: A Volume of the Encyclopedia of the United States [CSL call number History Reference F 92 .E53 1994].

Roberts, Richard C. "The Early Exploration of the Connecticut River Valley." Newsletter - Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor. vol. XXV, no. 3, Spring 2008 [CSL call number F 104 .W7 N48].

 "The Connecticut - Massachusetts Boundary: A Chronology." Newsletter - Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor. vol. XXV, no. 2, Winter 2008 [CSL call number F 104 .W7 N48].

Van Dusen, Albert E. Connecticut [CSL call number History Reference F 94 .V3].

The World Book Encyclopedia. 1987 Edition, Volume 4 [CSL call number AE 5 .W55 1987].