Vermont is one of the fifty states that make up the United States of America and one of the six New England states in the northeast section of the country, along with Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. It is bordered to the west by New York, to the north by Québec, Canada, to the south by Massachusetts, and to the east by the Connecticut River, which separates it from New Hampshire. Montpelier is the capital. Other important cities in Vermont are Burlington, Essex, Rutland, Colchester, and South Burlington.
Vermont is the 43rd of the 50 states by size with an area of 9,249.56 square miles (23,956.25 sq km), but ranks 49th in population with 608,827 in the 2000 census. It is 31st among states in population density. The earliest inhabitants of Vermont were, first, Paleo-Indians, around 11,000 years ago. These were followed by Native Americans of the Algonquian language group referred to as the Abenaki Confederacy, although there were also Mohican and Mohawk communities in the region. Unlike some other New England states, the name of Vermont comes from its French settlement: the name comes from the French Vers Mont — green mountain, and Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State.
Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, reached the lake which is named for him on Vermont’s west boundary in 1609, and a permanent French settlement on Isle La Motte 57 years later was the first in what is now Vermont. A Dutch community was established in 1724, and English-speaking settlers built Fort Dummer in the same year.
Although Vermont was not one of the thirteen original colonies, it was involved in the American Revolutionary War. When Ethan Allen and Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys attached Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775, it was the first offensive move by colonial forces in the struggle for independence. Vermont was not, however, recognized at the Continental Congress, and so became the fourteenth state a bit later, joining the Union on 4 March 1791.
The proper name for a resident of Vermont is a Vermonter. The state motto of Vermont is "Freedom and Unity." The motto appears on the state coat of arms, which shows a landscape with a pine tree in the center. In the background are mountains with a blue sky and the sun. On one side of the pine tree are three sheaves and on the other side, a red cow. The crest is a buck’s head. The coat of arms also appears on the state flag. Other state emblems include the following:
- State Flower: Red Clover
- State Bird: Hermit Thrush
- State Tree: Sugar Maple
- State Beverage: Milk
- State Butterfly: Monarch Butterfly
- State Insect: Honeybee
- State Animal: Morgan Horse
- State Pie: Apple Pie. In a piece of legislation from 1999, it is suggested that the pie be served with either cold milk, a slice of cheddar cheese weighing at least .5 ounces (14.2 gm), or a largish scoop of vanilla ice cream.