New Haven was established in 1638 by English Puritans who were led by John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton. The settlement was created as a safe place for religious freedom and became one of the earliest European settlements in the New World. The New Haven Colony played a significant role in the early development of self-governance and religious tolerance in America.

During the American Revolutionary War, New Haven and its surrounding areas were actively involved in the fight for independence. The city served as a military supply depot and staging area for troops, and residents contributed soldiers to the Continental Army. Roger Sherman, who was the first mayor of New Haven, is the only person to sign all four of the vital American Revolutionary documents, including the Articles of Association in 1774, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation in 1781, and the Constitution of the United States in 1787.

In the 19th century, Greater New Haven became an industrial hub, particularly in manufacturing and transportation. Cities like New Haven and Bridgeport were centers of innovation, producing everything from firearms and clocks to carriages and sewing machines. The region’s industrial prowess contributed to Connecticut’s reputation as the “Arsenal of the Nation” during times of war. Early in the 19th century, Eli Whitney and Simeon North began making Connecticut firearms with interchangeable parts. This is generally recognized as the beginning of modern mass production.

New Haven played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1839, African captives on the La Amistad ship revolted for their freedom. They faced trial in New Haven, where abolitionist lawyers, including John Quincy Adams, defended them. The US Supreme Court ruled in their favor, marking the Amistad trial as a pivotal human rights case and a symbol in the fight against slavery, significantly impacting the abolitionist movement. In 1970, the city was the site of the Black Panther trials, which drew national attention to issues of racial justice and police brutality. The trials sparked protests and debates about civil rights and the role of law enforcement in American society.

Top Attractions & Events

  1. Amistad Memorial
  2. Amistad Schooner
  3. Grove Street Cemetery
  4. Henry Whitfield House State Museum
  5. New Haven Green
  6. New Haven Museum
  7. Shore Line Trolley Museum
  8. Stony Creek Quarry
  9. West Haven Veterans Museum and Learning Center
  10. Yale Peabody Museum