History of Vermont

Vermont (VT), the 14th state of the union, is one of only four U.S. states that were previously sovereign states and California, Hawaii, and Texas.  The VT Republic was founded in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War and lasted for 14 years.  Aside from the original 13 states that were formerly colonies, Vermont was the first state to join the U.S. as its 14th member state after the initial 13.  In addition, while still an independent republic, Vermont was the first of any future U.S. state to abolish slavery partially.

Despite its status as an independent republic, VT played a considerable role in the defense and formation of the United States.  A seminal event in the history of VT and the United States, the Battle of Bennington, was fought on August 16, 1777.  A combined American force attacked the Hessian column under General John Stark’s command at Hoosick, New York, not far from Bennington.  The entire Hessian force was either killed or captured, and General Burgoyne never recovered from this loss.  He eventually surrendered the remainder of his 6,000- man force at Saratoga, New York, on October 17th of that year.

VT and its residents have a long history of activism.  Since the mid-1850s, many Vermonters became activists opposing slavery.  Noted Vermonter and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens was born in Vermont and later represented the district in Pennsylvania in Congress.  He later became a national leader and promoted Radical Republican goals after the Civil War.  A new and different party at the time, VT supported Republican candidates as the Whig Party shriveled.  In 1860 VT voted for Abraham Lincoln for US President, giving him the most significant margin of victory of any state.


VT is very well known for its ski resorts.  Skiers and snowboarders have a variety of slopes to visit, including Burke Mountain Ski Area, Bolton Valley, Smugglers’ Notch, Killington Ski Resort, Mad River Glen, Stowe Mountain Resort, Sugarbush, Stratton, Jay Peak, Okemo, Suicide Six, Mount Snow, Bromley, and Magic Mountain Ski Area.  In the summer, visitors can tour Stowe, Manchester, Quechee, Wilmington, and Woodstock.  In addition, Nordic and backcountry skiers visit to travel the length of VT on the Catamount Trail.

This wealth of seasonal activities have impacted the local housing market; the U.S. 2000 Census showed that almost 15% of all housing units in Vermont were vacant and classified “for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use,” second only to Maine.

Vermont is home to many seasonal festivals, including the Vermont Maple Festival, the Festival on the Green, the Vermont Dairy Festival in Enosburg Falls, the Apple Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Vermont Brewers Festival.

The Vermont International Film Festival is held in Burlington each October.  The festival presents ten days of independent films from the US and worldwide.  The Green Mountain Film Festival is held in Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, each year.  In addition, the Vermont Theatre Company in Brattleboro hosts an annual summer Shakespeare festival.  Brattleboro is also home to the Strolling of the Heifers each summer, which celebrates Vermont’s dairy culture.