The Connecticut River flows south 407 miles from the Connecticut Lakes in northern New Hampshire near the border with Canada to Long Island Sound. Along the way, it forms the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, crosses Massachusetts and split Connecticut before reaching the sound at Old Saybrook.
There are more than 350 cities and towns along its course.
The river was discovered by Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer, in 1614. The first settlers, however, were English colonists who came from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the vicinity of present-day Hartford. The river is noted for many first, including some of the first ferries in America, first ships to engage in foreign trade, first factories on its banks, and first war vessels to be built.
The river realized its peak importance as a commercial waterway between the American Revolution and the War of 1812.