Vermont has been called a piece of America\'s past. In no other state has natural beauty been so untouched by modern development. In no other state has the small-town atmosphere of more than a century ago been so well preserved. Often chosen as a comfortable second home by city dwellers, Vermont seemingly has escaped the ugly urban sprawl that pollutes so many parts of the nation.

The state has long been noted for its hardy, independent people. Their rugged New England character was probably ordained by the inhospitable terrain—the granite spine of the dense Green Mountains. Except for Lake Champlain, Vermont\'s many rivers and lakes lack harbors for commerce. Nonetheless, its scenic splendor provides both resort and refuge for visitors and, more importantly, sustains the people who live there year-round. The mountains, a skier\'s paradise, provide a foundation for the foremost marble and granite quarries in the United States.

Tapping maple trees for syrup in Vermont
Although the rocky terrain and thin soil made large-scale farming difficult for the Yankee pioneers who settled Vermont, they were able to build small farms and villages on the forested land. The state is one of the nation\'s leading producers of maple sugar and syrup. In the lush river valleys, the Vermont dairy industry developed into one of the most significant in the Northeast.

Vermont was first explored by Samuel de Champlain in 1609, when he sailed from the colony he founded in Quebec into the vast lake that was named for him. After permanent white settlers came in 1724, the Native Americans, the French and British colonial powers, and the early American colonists fought one another over the land. For years the Green Mountains region was claimed by both New Hampshire and New York. In 1777, however, Vermont declared itself an independent state and adopted a constitution— the first to prohibit slavery. In 1791, after the American Revolution, it was admitted to the Union as the 14th state. Vermont was thus the first state to be added to the original 13 colonies that formed the United States.

One of the smallest states in the Union, Vermont ranks only 43rd in area and 48th in population. Despite its small size, the state has made vital contributions to the growth of the nation. Among the famous people born in Vermont were two presidents of the United States—Chester A. Arthur and Calvin Coolidge. An unsuccessful presidential candidate was Stephen A. Douglas of Brandon. In the Spanish- American War, Admiral George Dewey of Montpelier won fame at Manila Bay. John Dewey of Burlington, a noted educator, changed many of the nation\'s school practices. Thaddeus Stevens of Danville was an influential legislator during the Reconstruction era.

A notorious Vermonter who was forced to leave the state was John Humphrey Noyes of Brattleboro. In 1836 he formed a Bible group known as "Bible communists" at his home in Putney. After they proclaimed a doctrine of free love, Noyes and his followers were arrested for adultery but fled to New York to found the Oneida Community (see Communal Living). Putney was also the home of the Experiment in International Living, founded in 1932 as a worldwide educational exchange organization.

Vermont inventors include John Deere of Rutland, who made the first steel plowshare, and Thomas Davenport of Williamstown, who devised the first electric motor. Although Thaddeus Fairbanks was born in Massachusetts, he developed all his inventions—such as the platform scale—in his foundry in St. Johnsbury.

The early name of the region was New Hampshire Grants. In 1777 it was named New Connecticut. This was later changed at the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Young of Philadelphia. He wanted to perpetuate the nickname of Ethan Allen\'s militia, the Green Mountain Boys, who were heroes of the American Revolution. The name Vermont originates in two French words that mean "green" and "mountain." On the map of Champlain\'s discoveries, the explorer had labeled the dense evergreen slopes Verd Mont. The range is also the source of the nickname Green Mountain State.

Survey of the Green Mountain State
Vermont lies in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered on the north by the Canadian province of Quebec. To the east the Connecticut River forms the boundary with New Hampshire. On the south is Massachusetts and on the west is New York, separated