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                     CONNECTICUT STATE SYMBOLS 
        

                      Go to:  State Tree / State Bird / State Flower / State Insect /
                  State Animal / State Mineral State Shellfish / State Ship / State Fossil / 
                      State Hero / State Heroine / State Song State Composer


 

Connecticut State Tree

"The Charter Oak"

(White Oak Quercus Alba)

Deep-rooted in the historic tradition of Connecticut, the Charter Oak isone of the most colorful and significant symbols of the spiritual strength and love of freedom which inspired our Colonial forebears in their militant resistance to tyranny. This venerable giant of the forest, hundreds of years old when it hid the treasured Charter in 1687, finally fell during a great storm on August 21, 1856.

Two English kings, a royal agent, a colonial hero and a candle-lit room are the figures and backdrop in one of the most thrilling chapters of America's legend of liberty. The refusal of our early Connecticut leaders to give up the Charter, despite royal order and the threat of arms, marked one of the greatest episodes of determined courage in our history.

On October 9, 1662, the General Court of Connecticut formally received the Charter won from King Charles II by the suave diplomacy of Governor John Winthrop, Jr., who had crossed the ocean for the purpose.

Twenty-five years later, with the succession of James II to the throne, Connecticut's troubles began in earnest. Sir Edmund Andros, His Majesty's agent, followed up failure of various strategies by arriving in Hartford with an armed force to seize the Charter.

After hours of debate, with the Charter on the table between the opposing parties, the candle-lit room went suddenly dark. Moments later when the candles were relighted, the Charter was gone. Captain Joseph Wadsworth is credited with having removed and secreted the Charter in the majestic oak on the Wyllys Estate.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Bird

"The American Robin"

(Turdus Migratorius)

The American Robin was adopted as the official State Bird by the General Assembly in 1943. The name Robin is applied to a number of familiar birds, but in North America, it is the migratory thrush. (Turdus Migratorius.)

Our Robin, a true thrush, is a migratory bird with a reddish-brown or tawny breast and a loud cheery song. It was first called the Robin by the early colonists, in remembance of the beloved English bird. Despite the protests of some naturalists, we still retain that traditional name.

Familiar, in the summer, throughout North America, the American Robin is seen from Alaska to Virginia. Most people do not know that many Robins spend the entire winter in New England. They roost among the evergreens in the swamps where they feed on winter berries.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Flower

"The Mountain Laurel"

(Kalmia Latifolia)

Designated as the State Flower by the General Assembly in 1907, the Mountain Laurel is perhaps the most beautiful of native American Shrubs. Its fragrance and the massed richness of its white and pink blossoms so vividly contrast with the darker colors of the forests and the fields that they have continually attracted the attention of travelers since the earliest days of our colonization. First mentioned in John Smith's "General History" in 1624 specimens were sent to Linnaeus, the famous botanist by Peter Kalm, the Swedish explorer, in 1750.

Linnaeus gave it the name of Kalmia Latifolia, honoring the name of his correspondent and at the same time describing the "wide-leaved" characteristic of the plant. In addition to being called "Mountain Laurel," the plant has also been spoken of as "Calico Bush" and "Spoonwood."

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Insect

"European Mantis"

(Mantis Religiosa)

The European "praying" mantis (family, Mantidae, order, Orthoptera) officially became the State Insect on October 1, 1977. The name "mantis," derived from the Greek, originally meant prophet or diviner, and, appropriately, described the mantids' distinctive habit of standing motionless on four hind legs, with the two highly specialized forelegs raised in an attitude of meditation.

The European mantis is not native to Connecticut. Its origin is Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and temperate Asia. These mantids can be found, however, throughout the state from early May or June until the cold weather sets in, when they die rapidly

Harmless ot humans, and averaging 2-2 ½ inches in length, this small green or brown insect feeds on aphids, flies, grasshoppers, small caterpillars and moths. Although probably not a significant factor in biological control, mantids are beneficial insects, friends to the farmer, and are, therefore, symbolic reminders of the importance of the natural environment to human and biological survival.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Animal

"Sperm Whale"

(Physeter Macrocephalus)

The Sperm Whale was designated as the state animal by the General Assembly in 1975. Its selection was made both because of its special contribution to the state's history and because of its present-day plight as an endangered species.

The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales, growing up to 60 feet in length and capable of diving over 3,000 feet in search of the squid and cuttlefish on which it feeds. The sperm whale's brain is the largest of any creature ever existing on earth. "Moby Dick" was a sperm whale.

During the 1800s Connecticut ranked second only to Massachusetts as a whale hunting state. The sperm whale was the species most sought after by Connecticut whalers circling the globe on ships out of New London, Mystic and other Connecticut ports to bring back needed oil for lamps and other products.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Mineral

"The Garnet"

(Almandine Garnet)

Connecticut is one of the finest sources in the world of the almandine garnet, named the State Mineral by the 1977 General Assembly. An ancient gem, it was named "arnata" in the 13th century by Albertus Magnus, and was known as the "Carbuncle," likening it to a small, red-hot coal.

The garnets are actually a group of similar minerals, complex silicates of the same atomic structure, but differing in chemical composition. They vary in color from pale to dark tints, including the deep violet-red of the almandine garnet.

This mineral's significant hardness, 7 on the Mohs scale, has made the garnet, as an abrasive, important industrially throughout Connecticut's history. It contributed to this development by providing the base for grinding wheels, saws, and the better cutting quality of garnet paper, a variety of sandpaper.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Shellfish

"Eastern Oyster"

(Crassostrea Virginica)

The Eastern oyster was designated as the State Shellfish by the General Assembly in 1989. The oyster, which is bivalve mollusk, occurs naturally in Connecticut's tidal rivers and coastal embayments and is cultivated by the oyster industry in the waters of Long Island Sound.

Oysters were consumed in great quantities by Connecticut's native American inhabitants, and early European settlers found oysters to be a staple and reliable food source. The first colonial laws regulating the taking of oysters in Connecticut appeared in the early 1700s.

Oyster farming developed into a major industry in the State by the late 19th century. During the 1890s, Connecticut held the distinction of having the largest fleet of oyster steamers in the world.

Today, Connecticut's oyster industry continues to thrive. Annually, thousands of bushels of these delicious Connecticut grown mollusks are marketed throughout the country. Of all the shellfish species associated with the Connecticut shoreline, the oyster is by far the best known for its colorful history, continued economic importance and esteemed reputation for quality.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Ship

"USS Nautilus

(SSN-571)

Built by Connecticut craftsmen, USS Nautilus was the world's first nuclear powered submarine and logged more than 500,000nautical miles during her distinguished 25 year career. The USS Nautilus, named Connecticut's State Ship by the 1983 General Assembly, has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is permanently berthed next to the Submarine Force Library and Museum at Goss Cove in Groton.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Fossil

"Eubrontes Giganteus"

The Connecticut Valley is the world's foremost dinosaur track locality. Many different types of fossil track impressions have been found in the Valley's sandstones of the early Jurassic Period (200 million years ago). Eubrontes, a large three-toed track, was designated the State Fossil in 1991. Although no skeletal remains of the specific trackmaking dinosaur have been found, the shape, size, and stride of Eubrontes indicate that the animal was a carnivorous dinosaur approximately eighteen feet in length, and was closely related to the western genus, Dilophosaurus. Two thousand Eubrontes tracks were discovered on a single layer of rock in Rocky Hill, in 1966, and subsequently Dinosaur State Park was created for their preservation and interpretation. This Registered Natural Landmark site receives visitors from throughout the world.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Hero

"Nathan Hale"

(1755-1776)

On October 1, 1985, by an act of the General Assembly and the efforts of the Nathan Hale Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Nathan Hale officially became Connecticut's State Hero.

Born in Coventry, and educated at Yale University, Hale served as a school master until commissioned as a Captain in the Continental Army, in 1775. In September of 1776, at General George Washington's request for a volunteer, Nathan Hale crossed enemy lines to gather information as to the strength and plans of the British. Caught while returning, he was hanged as a spy on September 22, 1776, without benefit of a trial.

The Patriot's dedication to our country is enshrined in the immortal words, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." By every action of his short life, Hale exemplified the ideals of patriotism.

The Hale Homestead, located at 2299 South Street in Coventry, is maintained as a museum by the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, Inc.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Heroine

"Prudence Crandall"

(1803-1890)

On October 1, 1995, by an act of the General Assembly, Prudence Crandall became Connecticut's State Heroine.

In 1833, Prudence Crandall established the first academy for African-American women in New England. During its 18 months of operation, Crandall and her students faced hardships and violence. She was placed on trial twice for breaking a law specifically designed to prevent the school from operating. In the fall of 1834, although the charges against her were dismissed, the school was closed.

Prudence Crandall demonstrated great courage and moral strength by taking a stand against prejudice. In 1886, the legislature honored her with an annual pension of $400.00.

The Prudence Crandall House is a National Historic Landmark located at the intersection of 14 and 169 in Canterbury. It is operated by the Connecticut Historical Commission.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Song

"Yankee Doodle"

Words:

Yankee Doodle went to town,

Riding on a pony,

Stuck a feather in his hat,

And called it macaroni.

Chorus:

Yankee Doodle keep it up,

Yankee Doodle Dandy,

Mind the music and the step,

And with the folks be handy.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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Connecticut State Composer

"Charles Edward Ives"

(1874-1954)

Charles Edward Ives was designated the State Composer by the General Assembly in 1991.

(Information from "State of Connecticut Sites - Seals - Symbols)

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