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All About Vermont: Freedom and Unity

by | Dec 23, 2022 | All About States

Like maple syrup, especially when it’s warm and poured over a stack of pancakes? Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, which is made from sap from the sugar maple, the state tree. You can also try maple sugar candy, maple lollipops, and even maple ice cream. Yum!

BUT, the state is known for many other things. With a population of approximately 8,000 people, Montpelier is the smallest capital city in the country. Likewise, the state’s largest city is Burlington, which is home to the University of Vermont. This university was one of the first higher education institutions to admit female students back in 1871. That may help explain the state’s motto (“Freedom and Unity”).

Vermont is one of the six New England states, which are states that were first settled by Puritans from England. It’s bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and Canada’s province of Quebec to the north.

New England states are located in the Northeast. Can you name the other five states? (The answer is on the bottom of this blog.)

Can you find Vermont on a US map? Here’s another hint: It’s the only state in New England that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.

What really happened

  • Archaeologists (scientists who study what people in the past were like and how they lived) believe people have lived in the area we now call Vermont for about 13,000 years. Native American tribes, including the Abenaki, Mohican, Pennacook, Pocomtuc and Massachusett lived on the land.
  • In 1609, French explorer Samuel de Champlain claimed the territory for France.
  • According to some historians, Champlain drew a map that included the area now known as Vermont. On his map, he wrote “Verd Mont”, which means green mountain. The English version was eventually given to the state. Others believe the name honors the Green Mountain Boys, an army first created to protect the state’s land from New York.
  • In 1724, the British built the first permanent European settlement and then claimed the land for Britain. But in 1754, France and Britain began fighting over the land. This war lasted nine years. France was defeated.
  • Great Britain’s King George III decided to add this region to New York, but it didn’t last long. In 1777, as the American Revolution raged, people in this region declared their independence from both Great Britain and New York. They originally called their country “New Connecticut”, but then changed the name to Vermont a few months later.
  • Vermont remained separate from the United States for 14 years. It had its own system of money called Vermont coppers, a postal service, constitution, and even president until it joined the United States as the 14th state in 1791.
  • It was the first state admitted after the original thirteen colonies and the first state to join the Union after the US Constitution was officially adopted.
  • During the Civil War (1861-1865), Vermont fought on the side of the Union.
  • It was the first of the former British colonies to ban slavery, which was part of the state’s constitution adopted in 1777. However, some wealthy landowners continued to own slaves into the 1800s.
  • Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vermont attracted numerous Irish, Scots Irish and Italian immigrants. Until then, most of the people who lived there were ancestors of the British and French-Canadians.

Stuff you should know

  • A person who is from or lives in Vermont is called a Vermonter.
  • Lake Champlain is the largest lake in New England. It’s in this state as well as in New York with a small portion in Quebec, Canada.
  • Vermont approved women’s suffrage (the right of women to vote and hold an elected office) decades before it became part of the national constitution. Women were first allowed to vote in the elections of December 18, 1880 when women were granted limited suffrage. They were first allowed to vote in town elections, and later in state legislative races.
  • It is the smallest landlocked state, which means it does not have any coastlines. Vermont is also the only landlocked state in New England.
  • It is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. It makes almost two million gallons a year, which is enough to fill about 40,000 bathtubs!
  • Vermont is the birthplace of two American presidents – Calvin Coolidge, the 30th US president; and Chester A. Arthur, this nation’s 21st
  • The Connecticut River cuts through the state’s eastern border and feeds most of Vermont’s lakes, ponds and minor rivers.

Funny, crazy, or just plain weird

  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in Vermont was -50 °F on December 30th, 1933.
  • Vermont is one of four states that have made billboard advertising The other states are Maine, Alaska and Hawaii. Can you guess why? Billboards tend to block the natural scenery.
  • The Snowflake Man (Wilson A. Bentley), a farmer from Vermont, photographed more than 5,000 snowflakes and was the first person to realize that no two snowflakes were alike.
  • The skeleton of a beluga whale was found in a farmer’s field in western Vermont in 1849.
  • According to legend, a monster named Champ lives in Lake Champlain. Do you think he lives alone or with his family?
  • Vermont is the seventh coldest state in the country. In winter, Vermont can be too cold to snow; the air is too cold to contain enough moisture to prompt precipitation.
  • Out of 49 of the 50 capital cities in this country, there is a McDonald’s restaurant within the city limits. As of this writing, there’s just one exception – Montpelier.

Tell me more

  • In the fall, the 1938 New England hurricane blew down 15,000,000 (15 million) acres of trees. That represents about one-third of the total forest at the time in New England. Its strong winds were a Category 4 hurricane level – 130 to 156 miles per hour. Today, many of the older trees in Vermont are roughly 75 years old, dating from after this storm. Have you ever been in a hurricane?
  • Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library allows residents to check out nontraditional things like tools or items that people can’t afford or may not want to own, ranging from gardening tools to its most popular item: an

Were you able to name any of the other five states in New England? They are: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

If you live in Vermont or visited the state, tell us something special about its geography or past. What impressed you? What have you mentioned to your friends or family members about the state? Email: info@adventuresofmo.com along with your first name, age and state you live in, and we’ll post it on Mo’s social media pages!

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