Quick facts for kids
|State of Vermont|
The Green Mountain State
Freedom and Unity and Stella quarta decima fulgeat (May the 14th star shine bright)
|Anthem: These Green Mountains|
Map of the United States with Vermont highlighted
|Before statehood||Vermont Republic|
|Admitted to the Union||March 4, 1791 (14th)|
|• Total||9,616 sq mi (24,923 km2)|
|• Land||9,250 sq mi (23,957.39 km2)|
|• Water||382 sq mi (989 km2) 4.1%|
|• Length||160 mi (260 km)|
|• Width||80 mi (130 km)|
|Elevation||1,000 ft (300 m)|
|4,395 ft (1,340 m)|
|Lowest elevation||95 to 100 ft (29 to 30 m)|
|• Density||67.7/sq mi (26.1/km2)|
|• Density rank||30th|
|• Median household income||$57,513|
|• Income rank||28th|
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (EDT)|
|ISO 3166 code||US-VT|
|Latitude||42°44′ N to 45°1′ N|
|Longitude||71°28′ W to 73°26′ W|
|Vermont state symbols|
The Flag of Vermont
The Seal of Vermont
The Coat of arms of Vermont
|Amphibian||Northern leopard frog
Sander vitreous vitreous
|Insect||Western honey bee
|Rock||Granite, marble, slate|
|State route marker|
Released in 2001
|Lists of United States state symbols|
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders the other U.S. states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont's western border with the state of New York and the Green Mountains run north-south the length of the state.
As of 2015, Vermont continued to be the leading producer of maple syrup in the U.S. It was ranked as the safest state in the country in January 2016.
For thousands of years inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and Mohawk, much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France's colony of New France. France ceded the territory to Great Britain after being defeated in 1763 in the Seven Years' War. For many years, the nearby colonies, especially the provinces of New Hampshire and New York, disputed control of the area (then called the New Hampshire Grants). Settlers who held land titles granted by New York were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which supported the many settlers whose claims were based on grants from New Hampshire.
Ultimately, those settlers prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic. Founded in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War, the republic lasted for 14 years. Aside from the original 13 states that were formerly colonies, Vermont is one of only four U.S. states that were previously sovereign states (along with California, Hawaii, and Texas). Vermont was also the first state to join the U.S. as its 14th member state after the original 13. While still an independent republic, Vermont was the first of any future U.S. state to partially abolish slavery. It played an important geographic role in the Underground Railroad.
- State symbols
- Notable Vermonters
- Images for kids
- See also: List of mountains in Vermont
Vermont is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and comprises 9,614 square miles (24,900 km2), making it the 45th-largest state. It is the only state that does not have any buildings taller than 124 feet (38 m). Land comprises 9,250 square miles (24,000 km2) and water comprises 365 square miles (950 km2), making it the 43rd-largest in land area and the 47th in water area. In total area, it is larger than El Salvador and smaller than Haiti.
The west bank of the Connecticut River marks the state's eastern border with New Hampshire, though much of the river is within New Hampshire's territory. 41% of Vermont's land area is part of the Connecticut River's watershed.
Lake Champlain, the major lake in Vermont, is the sixth-largest body of fresh water in the United States and separates Vermont from New York in the northwest portion of the state. From north to south, Vermont is 159 miles (256 km) long. Its greatest width, from east to west, is 89 miles (143 km) at the Canada–U.S. border; the narrowest width is 37 miles (60 km) at the Massachusetts line. The width averages 60.5 miles (97.4 km). The state's geographic center is approximately three miles (5 km) east of Roxbury, in Washington County. There are fifteen U.S. federal border crossings between Vermont and Canada.
The origin of the name "Vermont" is uncertain, but likely comes from the French les Verts Monts, meaning "the Green Mountains". Thomas Young introduced it in 1777. Some authorities say that the mountains were called green because they were more forested than the higher White Mountains of New Hampshire and Adirondacks of New York; others say that the predominance of mica-quartz-chlorite schist, a green-hued metamorphosed shale, is the reason. The Green Mountain range forms a north–south spine running most of the length of the state, slightly west of its center. In the southwest portion of the state are the Taconic Mountains; the Granitic Mountains are in the northeast. In the northwest, near Lake Champlain, is the fertile Champlain Valley. In the south of the valley is Lake Bomoseen.
Several mountains have timberlines with delicate year-round alpine ecosystems, including Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in the state; Killington Peak, the second-highest; Camel's Hump, the state's third-highest; and Mount Abraham, the fifth-highest peak.
Vermont State House in Montpelier
The Hancock Overlook, on Route 100 in Hancock, Vermont.
Burlington, Vermont's largest city
The downtown part of the city of Rutland
Montpelier, Vermont's capital city
The most populous city in Vermont is Burlington, and its metropolitan area is also the most populous in the state with an estimate of 214,796 as of 2013.
Although these towns are large enough to be considered cities, they are not incorporated as such.
The annual mean temperature for the state is 43 °F (6 °C). Vermont has a humid continental climate, with muddy springs, in general a mild early summer, hot Augusts; it has colorful autumns: Vermont's hills reveal red, orange, and (on sugar maples) gold foliage as cold weather approaches. Winters are colder at higher elevations.
The rural northeastern section known as the "Northeast Kingdom" often averages 10 °F (5.6 °C) colder than the southern areas of the state during winter. The annual snowfall averages between 60 and 100 inches (1,500 and 2,500 mm) depending on elevation.
Vermont is the seventh coldest state in the country. In winter, until typical El Niño conditions, Vermont's winters are "too cold to snow"; the air is too cold to contain sufficient moisture to prompt precipitation.
The state contains 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, 89 species of fish, of which 12 are non native; 193 species of breeding birds, 58 species of mammals, more than 15,000 insect species, and 2,000 higher plant species, plus fungi, algae, and 75 different types of natural communities.
Vermont contains one species of venomous snake, the eastern timber rattlesnake, which is confined to a few acres in western Rutland County.
Vermont is in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. Much of the state, in particular the Green Mountains, is covered by the conifers and northern hardwoods of the New England-Acadian forests. The western border with New York and the area around Lake Champlain lies within the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests. The southwest corner of the state and parts of the Connecticut River are covered by Northeastern coastal forests of mixed oak.
Native American occupancy
Between 8500 and 7000 BCE, at the time of the Champlain Sea, Native Americans inhabited and hunted in present-day Vermont. During the Archaic period, from the 8th millennium BCE to 1000 BCE, Native Americans migrated year-round. During the Woodland period, from 1000 BCE to 1600 CE, villages and trade networks were established, and ceramic and bow and arrow technology was developed. In the western part of the state there lived a small population of Algonquian-speaking tribes, including the Mohican and Abenaki peoples. Sometime between 1500 and 1600 CE, the Iroquois, based in present-day New York, drove many of the smaller native tribes out of Vermont, later using the area as a hunting ground and warring with the remaining Abenaki. The population in 1500 CE was estimated to be around 10,000 people.
The first European to see Vermont is thought to have been Jacques Cartier in 1535. On July 30, 1609, French explorer Samuel de Champlain claimed Vermont as part of New France. In 1666, French settlers erected Fort Sainte Anne on Isle La Motte, the first European settlement in Vermont.
The "violent" 1638 New Hampshire earthquake was felt throughout New England, centered in the St. Lawrence Valley. This was the first seismic event noted in Vermont.
From 1731 to 1734, the French constructed Fort St. Frédéric, which gave them control of the New France-Vermont frontier region in the Lake Champlain Valley. With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, the North American front of the Seven Years' War between the French and British, the French began construction of Fort Carillon at present-day Ticonderoga, New York in 1755. The British failed to take Fort St. Frédéric or Fort Carillon between 1755 and 1758. In 1759 a combined force of 12,000 British regular and provincial troops under Sir Jeffery Amherst captured Carillon, after which the French abandoned Fort St. Frédéric. Amherst constructed Fort Crown Point next to the remains of the Fort St. Frédéric, securing British control over the area.
Following France's loss in the French and Indian War, through the 1763 Treaty of Paris they ceded control of the land to the British. Colonial settlement was limited by the Crown to lands east of the Appalachians, in order to try to end encroachment on Native American lands. The territory of Vermont was divided nearly in half in a jagged line running from Fort William Henry in Lake George diagonally north-eastward to Lake Memphremagog.
On July 20, 1764, King George III established the boundary between New Hampshire and New York along the west bank of the Connecticut River, north of Massachusetts, and south of 45 degrees north latitude. New York refused to recognize the land titles known as the New Hampshire Grants (towns created by land grants sold by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth) and dissatisfied New Hampshire settlers organized in opposition. In 1770 Ethan Allen, his brothers Ira and Levi, and the Allens' cousins Seth Warner and Remember Baker, recruited an informal militia known as the Green Mountain Boys to protect the interests of the original New Hampshire settlers against newcomers from New York.
In 1775, after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the Green Mountain Boys assisted a force from Connecticut, led by Benedict Arnold, in capturing the British fort at Ticonderoga. Thereafter, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia directed the New York colony's revolutionary congress to fund and equip Allen's militia as a ranger regiment of the Continental Army, which it did. Seth Warner was chosen by the men of the regiment to lead, while Ethan Allen went on to serve as a colonel in Schuyler's Army of Northern New York.
On January 15, 1777, representatives of the New Hampshire Grants declared the independence of Vermont. For the first six months of its existence, it was called the Republic of New Connecticut.
On June 2, 1777, a second convention of 72 delegates met and adopted the name "Vermont."
On July 4, they completed the drafting of the Constitution of Vermont at the Windsor Tavern, and adopted it on July 8. This was the first written constitution in North America to ban adult slavery, saying male slaves become free at the age of 21 and females at 18. Slavery was fully banned by state law on November 25, 1858, less than three years before the American Civil War.
Vermont played an important geographical role in the Underground Railroad, which helped American slaves escape to Canada.
The Battle of Bennington, fought on August 16, 1777, was a seminal event in the history of the state of Vermont and the United States. A combined American force, under General John Stark's command, attacked the Hessian column at Hoosick, New York, just across the border from Bennington. It killed or captured virtually the entire Hessian detachment. General Burgoyne never recovered from this loss and eventually surrendered the remainder of his 6,000-man force at Saratoga, New York, on October 17 that year.
The battles of Bennington and Saratoga together are recognized as the turning point in the Revolutionary War because they were the first major defeat of a British army. The anniversary of the battle is still celebrated in Vermont as a legal holiday.
The Battle of Hubbardton (July 7, 1777) was the only Revolutionary battle within the present boundaries of Vermont. Although the Continental forces were technically defeated, the British forces were damaged to the point that they did not pursue the Americans (retreating from Fort Ticonderoga) any further.
Admission to the Union
Vermont continued to govern itself as a sovereign entity based in the eastern town of Windsor for 14 years. The independent state of Vermont issued its own coinage from 1785 to 1788 and operated a statewide postal service. Thomas Chittenden was the Governor in 1778–89 and in 1790–91.
In January 1791, a convention in Vermont voted 105–4 to petition Congress to become a state in the federal union. Congress acted on February 18, 1791 to admit Vermont to the Union as the 14th state as of March 4, 1791. Vermont became the first to enter the Union after the original 13 states.
The Civil War
During the American Civil War, Vermont sent 33,288 men into United States service. 5,224 Vermonters, over 15%, were killed or mortally wounded in action or died of disease.
The northernmost land/battle action of the war, the St. Albans Raid, took place in Vermont. However, the raiders were forced to return the possessions after the Canadians captured them at their border.
Postbellum era to present
Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vermont attracted numerous Irish, Scots-Irish and Italian immigrants, adding to its residents of mostly English and French-Canadian ancestry. Many migrated to Barre, where the men worked as stonecutters of granite, for which there was a national market. Vermont granite was used in major public buildings in many states. Many Italian and Scottish women operated boarding houses in the late 19th century to support their families. Such facilities helped absorb new residents, who peaked between 1890 and 1900. Typically immigrants boarded with people of their own language and ethnicity, but sometimes they boarded with others.
The state has suffered some natural disasters in the 20th and 21st centuries related to hurricanes, extensive rain and flooding. Large-scale flooding occurred in early November 1927. During this incident, 84 people died, including the state's lieutenant governor.
The 1938 New England hurricane in the fall of that year blew down 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2) of trees, one-third of the total forest at the time in New England. Three billion board feet were salvaged. Today many of the older trees in Vermont are about 75 years old, dating from after this storm.
Another flood occurred in 1973, causing the deaths of two people and millions of dollars in property damage.
The state suffered severe flooding in late August 2011 caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Heavy rains caused flooding in many towns built in narrow river valleys. The governor described it as one of the worst natural disasters of the 20th and 21st centuries, second only to the flood of 1927.
Vermont approved women's suffrage 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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2019, Vermont had an estimated population of 623,989. This included a natural increase 3,178 (31,716 births minus 28,538 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 2,432 people out of the state. In 2006 it had the second lowest birthrate in the nation, 42/1000 women. The center of population of Vermont is located in Washington County, in the town of Warren.
Canada was Vermont's largest foreign trade partner in 2007. The state's second-largest foreign trade partner was Taiwan. The state had $4 billion worth of commerce with Quebec.
Agriculture contributed 2.2% of the state's domestic product in 2000.
Dairy farming is the primary source of agricultural income.
The number of cattle in Vermont had declined by 40%; however, milk production has doubled in the same period due to tripling the production per cow. The average dairy farm produced 1.3 million pounds of milk annually in 2008.
The dairy barn remains an iconic image of Vermont, but the 87% decrease in active dairy farms between 1947 and 2003 means that preservation of the dairy barns has increasingly become dependent upon a commitment to maintaining a legacy rather than basic need in the agricultural economy.
In 2009 there were 543 organic farms. Twenty percent of the dairy farms were organic and 23% (128) vegetable farms were organic. Organic farming increased in 2006–07, but leveled off in 2008–09.
In 2013 73.054 million cubic feet of wood was harvested in Vermont. A large amount of Vermont forest products are exports with 21.504 million feet being shipped overseas plus an additional 16.384 million cubic feet to Canada. Most of it was processed within the state.
In this century the manufacture of wood products has fallen by almost half.
An important and growing part of Vermont's economy is the manufacture and sale of artisan foods, fancy foods, and novelty items trading in part upon the Vermont "brand," which the statemanages and defends. Examples of these specialty exports include Cabot Cheese, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Fine Paints of Europe, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, several microbreweries, ginseng growers, Burton Snowboards, King Arthur Flour, and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.
There were about 2,000 maple products producers in 2010. Production rose to 920,000 US gallons (3,500,000 l; 770,000 imp gal) in 2009.
The wine industry in Vermont started in 1985. As of 2007 there were 14 wineries.
Tourism is an important industry to the state. Some of the largest ski areas in New England are located in Vermont. Skiers and snowboarders visit Burke Mountain Ski Area, Bolton Valley, Smugglers' Notch, Killington Ski Resort, Mad River Glen, Stowe Mountain Resort, Sugarbush, Stratton, Jay Peak, Okemo, Suicide Six, Mount Snow, Bromley, and Magic Mountain Ski Area. Summer visitors tour resort towns like Stowe, Manchester, Quechee, Wilmington and Woodstock. Resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops, designed to attract tourists, employ people year-round. Summer camps contribute to Vermont's tourist economy.
In winter, Nordic and backcountry skiers visit to travel the length of the state on the Catamount Trail. Several horse shows are annual events. Vermont's state parks, historic sites, museums, golf courses, and new boutique hotels with spas were designed to attract tourists.
In 2000–01 there were 4,579,719 skier and snowboarder visits to the state. There were 4,125,082 visits in 2009–2010, a rise from recent years.
In 2008 there were 35,000 members of 138 snowmobiling clubs in Vermont. The combined association of clubs maintains 6,000 miles (9,700 km) of trail often over private lands. The industry is said to generate "hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business."
The towns of Rutland and Barre are the traditional centers of marble and granite quarrying and carving in the U.S. For many years Vermont was also the headquarters of the smallest union in the U.S., the Stonecutters Association, of about 500 members.
The first marble quarry in America was on Mount Aeolus overlooking East Dorset.
The granite industry attracted numerous skilled stonecutters in the late 19th century from Italy, Scotland, and Ireland. Barre is the location of the Rock of Ages quarry, the largest dimension stone granite quarry in the United States.
Vermont is the largest producer of slate in the country. The highest quarrying revenues result from the production of dimension stone. The Rock of Ages quarry in Barre is one of the leading exporters of granite in the country. The work of the sculptors of this corporation can be seen 3 miles (4.8 km) down the road at the Hope Cemetery, where there are gravestones and mausoleums.
Vermont's main mode of travel is by automobile.
In 2010, Vermont owned 2,840 miles (4,570 km) of highway. This was the third smallest quantity among the 50 states.
Individual communities and counties have public transit, but their breadth of coverage is frequently limited. Greyhound Lines services a number of small towns. Two Amtrak trains serve Vermont, the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express.
In 1968, Vermont outlawed the use of billboards for advertisement along its roads. It is one of four states in the U.S. to have done this, along with Hawaii, Maine, and Alaska.
The state is served by Amtrak's Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express, the New England Central Railroad, the Vermont Railway, and the Green Mountain Railroad.
The Ethan Allen Express serves Castleton and Rutland, while the Vermonter serves St. Albans, Essex Junction, Waterbury, Montpelier, Randolph, White River Junction, Windsor, Bellows Falls, and Brattleboro.
There is ferry service to New York State from Burlington, Charlotte, Grand Isle, and Shoreham. All but the Shoreham ferry are operated by the LCTC (Lake Champlain Transportation Company).
Vermont is served by two commercial airports:
- Burlington International Airport is the largest in the state.
- Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport has regular flights to Boston via Cape Air.
Vermont festivals include the Vermont Maple Festival, Festival on the Green, The Vermont Dairy Festival in Enosburg Falls, the Apple Festival (held each Columbus Day Weekend), the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Vermont Brewers Festival. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is supported by the state and performs throughout the area.
Since 1973 the Sage City Symphony, formed by composer Louis Calabro, has performed in the Bennington area. In 1988 a number of Vermont-based composers including Gwyneth Walker formed the Vermont Composers Consortium, which was recognized by the governor proclaiming 2011 as The Year of the Composer.
The Brattleboro-based Vermont Theatre Company presents an annual summer Shakespeare festival. Brattleboro also hosts the summertime Strolling of the Heifers parade which celebrates Vermont's unique dairy culture. The annual Green Mountain Film Festival is held in Montpelier.
In the Northeast Kingdom, the Bread and Puppet Theatre holds weekly shows in Glover in a natural outdoor amphitheater.
Vermont's most recent best known musical talent was the group Phish, whose members met while attending school in Vermont and spent much of their early years playing at venues across the state.
The Vermont-based House of LeMay performs several shows a year, hosts the annual "Winter is a Drag Ball," and performs for fundraisers.
Examples of folk art found in Vermont include the Vermontasaurus in Post Mills, a community in Thetford.
The rate of volunteerism in Vermont was eighth in the nation with 37% in 2007. The state stood first in New England. In 2011 Vermont residents were ranked as the healthiest in the country. Also in 2011, Vermont was ranked as the fourth most peaceful state in the United States. In 2011 Vermont residents were ranked as the sixth most fit/leanest in the country. Vermonters were the second most active citizens of state with 55.9% meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's physical activity requirements. Vermont was ranked as the 12th happiest state in the country.
There are a number of museums in the state.
State symbols include:
- State song – "These Green Mountains"
- Unofficial popular state song – "Moonlight in Vermont"
- State beverage – milk
- State pie – apple pie
- State fruit – apple
- State flower – red clover
- State mammal – Morgan horse
- State rock – granite, marble, and slate
- State tree – sugar maple
- State butterfly – monarch butterfly
- State fish cold water – brook trout
- State fish warm water – walleye pike
- State fossil – white whale (beluga whale)
- State bird – hermit thrush
The following were either born in Vermont or resided there for a substantial period during their lives.
- Pearl S. Buck, author
- Jake Burton Carpenter, inventor of the modern snowboard
- John Deere, inventor of steel plow, founder of agricultural equipment manufacturer Deere & Company
- Carlton Fisk, Baseball Hall of Fame catcher
- James Fisk, financier
- John Dewey, philosopher, psychologist, and educator
- Richard Morris Hunt, architect
- Bill McKibben, environmentalist
- Samuel Morey, steam-powered paddle wheel boat inventor
- Bernie Sanders, United States senator and representative from Vermont, and 2016 presidential candidate.
- Joseph Smith, founder of Latter Day Saint movement
- Rudy Vallée, singer and actor
- Brigham Young, second prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Vermont was also the home of Dick Loudon, Bob Newhart's character on the 1980s sitcom Newhart. All action supposedly took place in Vermont.
- Vermont was the home of Pollyanna and her Aunt Polly in the novel Pollyanna, later made into the 1960 Disney film starring Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman, respectively.
- In the Marvel Comics shared universe, Vermont is home of the superhero team the Garrison.
- In H. P. Lovecraft's The Whisperer in Darkness, Vermont is the home of folklorist Henry Akeley (and the uninhabited hills of Vermont serve as one of the earth bases of the extraterrestrial Mi-Go).
Images for kids
The Lyndon Institute, a high school in Lyndon, Vermont
The University of Vermont Old Mill, the oldest building of the university
Stowe Resort Village
The Vermont Supreme Court's building in Montpelier
Much of the business of local government in Vermont towns takes place each March at a town meeting held at a meetinghouse, such as this one in Marlboro, Vermont.
Vermont Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.