Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Indian tribes of the Algonquian group inhabited Vermont. They were driven out by the Iroquois from New York, but returned in the 1600s with help from the French. The first permanent white settlement was Fort Dummer, where Brattleboro is located now. It was established by settlers from Massachusetts. The territory was contested between French and English interests until the Treaty of Paris obliged France to surrender all its claims.
Between 1749 and 1763, the governor of New Hampshire issued a number of land grants in Vermont. At the same time, New York claimed the same territory and handed out its own grants. England recognized New York's rights and ordered Vermonters who had received grants from New Hampshire to pay New York or give up their land. Ethan Allan organized a military force to defend Vermonters against New York. The force came to be known as the Green Mountain Boys and later played a significant role in the War of Independence.
In 1777, Vermont declared itself to be an independent republic. At first it was called New Connecticut, but later in the year the present name was selected. Its constitution, adopted July 8, 1777, provided for universal manhood suffrage, earlier than any of the original 13 colonies. It was also, since its territory was claimed by both New York and New Hampshire, a declaration of independence from New York.
Vermont remained an independent republic for 14 years. After settling its dispute with New York and New Hampshire, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state in 1791.
Vermont was a bastion of Union support during the Civil War. It elected its first Republican governor in 1854 and did not elect a Democrat thereafter until 1963. When Vermont voted for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, it was the first time in its history that Vermont had supported a Democrat.
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