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Colt is often considered the father of the Connecticut River Valley industrial revolution, although there were a handful of small outfits already in operation by the time that he purchased a large tract of land in the area in the 1840s. Sales were initially slow and his business ventures struggled. In 1848, Colt was able to start again with a new business of his own, and he converted it into a corporation in 1855 under the name of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company.The original factory is situated in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood just south of downtown Hartford.

In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant met with English representatives to negotiate a permanent boundary between the Dutch and English colonies; the line that they agreed on was more than 50 miles (80 km) west of the original settlement.

The English began to arrive 1637, settling upstream from Fort Hoop near the present-day Downtown and Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods.

In 1860, Hartford was the site of the first "Wide Awakes," abolitionist supporters of Abraham Lincoln.

These supporters organized torch-light parades that were both political and social events, often including fireworks and music, in celebration of Lincoln's visit to the city.

Puritan pastors Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, along with Governor John Haynes, led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Cambridge) and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and had to determine how it was to be governed.

Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document ratified January 14, 1639 which invested the people with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State." The original settlement area contained the site of the Charter Oak, an old white oak tree in which colonists hid Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general.Various tribes lived in or around present-day Hartford, all part of the loose Algonquin confederation.The area was referred to as Suckiaug, meaning "Black Fertile River-Enhanced Earth, good for planting." These included the Podunks, mostly east of the Connecticut River; the Poquonocks north and west of Hartford; the Massacoes in the Simsbury area; the Tunxis tribe in West Hartford and Farmington; the Wangunks to the south; and the Saukiog in Hartford itself.The first Europeans known to have explored the area were the Dutch under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614.Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the area for the Dutch West India Company.Census Bureau estimates since then have indicated Hartford's fall to fourth place statewide, as a result of sustained population growth in the coastal city of Stamford.

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