Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ten Interesting Things about Vermont

From a book in the "America the Beautiful" series.

1. Although only 43rd in size, Vermont has no less than six geographical regions.

2. Its border with New Hampshire is formed by a river named after yet another state, Connecticut.

3. Its longest river is not even called a river, it is Otter Creek.

4. Its proportion of rural residents is the highest of any state., Fully 2/3 of Vermonters live in the country or in towns of less than 2,500. This to me is an amazing statistic.

5. Its politics has undergone a remarkable evolution. From the forming of the Republican Party in 1854 until 1958, every major elected official was a Republican. Starting in 1958, this began to change and the Democrats have been competitive ever since. In 1990 Bernard Sanders won election to the House as the first Socialist House member in 60 years. Vemont also has the largest % of women in its legislature--33%.

6. Settlement in Vermont did not begin until around 1750. At that time the governors of both New Hampshire and New York began making grants of land in what is now Vermont, often involving the same land. Ethan Allen organized his Green Mountain Boys to defend the claims of New Hampshire grantees against those of New York grantees, organizing his group in a meeting at the Catamount Tavern in Bennington in 1770. The controversy was finally resolved in 1790 when Vermont paid New York $30,000 for the disputed land.

7. Not being one of the original 13 colonies, Vermont adopted its own Declaration of Independence and constitution in 1777. This constitution made Vermont the first political body in the U.S. to ban slavery, and the first to grant the right to vote to men who were not property owners. Vermont remained an independent country until joining the U.S. in 1791 as the 14th state.

8. As of 1993, air conditioning in cars is prohibited in Vermont.

9. Environmental reforms have led to a restoration of the state's forests. Originally 90% of the state was forested, then this was mostly wiped out, but it is now restored to about 80%.

10. Vermont is the country's leading producer of maple syrup.

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