Vermont is a state in the northeastern United States, known for its natural landscape, which is primarily forested. Part of the New England region, it’s also known for being home to more than 100 19th-century covered wooden bridges, and as a major producer of maple syrup. Thousands of acres of mountain terrain are crossed by hiking trails and skiing slopes.
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.
Vermont is the 2nd-least populous of the U.S. states, with nearly 50,000 more residents than Wyoming. The capital is Montpelier, the least populous state capital in the U.S. The most populous municipality, Burlington, is the least populous city in the U.S. to be the most populous within a 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.
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