The third smallest state in the Union, Connecticut is divided by the river which bears its name and gradually rises in elevation westward toward the Litchfield Hills. The state's coastline is along the Long Island Sound, and the state shares its longest border with Massachusetts to the north. Puritans were the first to settle the state in 1633. Connecticut was one of the 13 original colonies and was the fifth state admitted to the Union on January 9th, 1788. Largely agricultural in its early history, Connecticut's industry boomed over time to include famous manufactures such as the Colt revolver, the world's first submarine (dubbed 'the Turtle') completed in 1755 and America's first steamship built in 1786.
According to many economic indicators (such as per capita income), Connecticut is the richest state in the U.S., though this belies the fact that wealth disparities in Connecticut are greatly pronounced. Generally the richest areas are concentrated in the extreme southwest (closest to New York City), whereas Hartford, the state capitol, has one of the lowest per capita incomes in all of America. The state is considered a tax haven for those with personal wealth, and it was not until 1991 that the state introduced a personal income tax. Connecticut is ranked fourth in the U.S. in terms of population density, with the largest concentration of people in the south and the middle of the state. Industrious and economically powerful for its size, Connecticut is a world leader in manufacturing nuclear-powered submarines and specialized ships. Though the state is firmly left-leaning politically, it has historically been considered one of the more conservative New England states. The state has since sent its 8 electoral votes to the last four Democratic presidential candidates.