Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Vermont is the 6th smallest in area and the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States. It is the only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont's western border, which it shares with the state of New York. The Green Mountains are within the state. Vermont is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east across the Connecticut River, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
Originally inhabited by two major Native American tribes (the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and the Iroquois), much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France during its early colonial period. France ceded the territory to the Kingdom of Great Britain after being defeated in 1763 in the Seven Years' War (in the United States, referred to as the French and Indian War). For many years, the nearbycolonies, especially New Hampshire and New York, disputed control of the area (then called the New Hampshire Grants).
Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic. Founded in 1777 during the Revolutionary War, the republic lasted for fourteen years. Aside from the Thirteen Colonies, Vermont is one of only four U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, and California) to have been a sovereign state in its past. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the 14th state, the first in addition to the original 13 Colonies. Vermont was the first state to partially abolish slavery while still independent.
Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States. The state capital is Montpelier with a population of 7,855, making it the least populous state capital in the country. Vermont's most populous city is Burlington, with a 2013 population of 42,284, which makes it the least populous city in the United States to be the largest city within a state. Burlington's metropolitan area has a population of 214,796. Vermont is one of the most racially homogeneous states; 94.3% of its population identified as white in 2010.
Vermont is located in the New England region in the eastern United States and comprises 9,614 square miles (24,900 km2), making it the 45th-largest state. It is the only state that does not have any buildings taller than 124 feet (38 m). Land comprises 9,250 square miles (24,000 km2) and water comprises 365 square miles (950 km2), making it the 43rd-largest in land area and the 47th in water area. In total area, it is larger thanEl Salvador and smaller than Haiti.
The west bank of the Connecticut River marks the eastern (New Hampshire) border of the state (the river is part of New Hampshire). 41% of Vermont's land area is part of the Connecticut River's watershed.
Lake Champlain, the major lake in Vermont, is the sixth-largest body of fresh water in the United States and separates Vermont from New York in the northwest portion of the state. From north to south, Vermont is 159 miles (256 km) long. Its greatest width, from east to west, is 89 miles (143 km) at the Canadian border; the narrowest width is 37 miles (60 km) at the Massachusetts line. The width averages 60.5 miles (97.4 km). The state's geographic center is approximately three miles (5 km) east of Roxbury, in Washington County. There are fifteen US federal border crossings between Vermont and Canada.
The origin of the name "Vermont" is uncertain, but likely comes from the French les Verts Monts, meaning "the Green Mountains". Thomas Young introduced it in 1777. Some authorities say that the mountains were called green because they were more forested than the higherWhite Mountains of New Hampshire and Adirondacks of New York; others say that the predominance of mica-quartz-chlorite schist, a green-hued metamorphosed shale, is the reason. The Green Mountain range forms a north–south spine running most of the length of the state, slightly west of its center. In the southwest portion of the state are the Taconic Mountains; the Granitic Mountains are in the northeast. In the northwest, near Lake Champlain, is the fertile Champlain Valley. In the south of the valley is Lake Bomoseen.
Several mountains have timberlines with delicate year-round alpine ecosystems, including Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in the state;Killington Peak, the second-highest; Camel's Hump, the state's third-highest; and Mount Abraham, the fifth-highest peak. About 77% of the state is covered by forest; the rest is covered in meadow, uplands, lakes, ponds, and marshes.
Areas in Vermont administered by the National Park Service include the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (in Woodstock) and theAppalachian National Scenic Trail.
According to 2012 and 2014 Gallup polls, Vermont ranked the least religious state in the U.S., with 23% of the residents considering themselves "very religious". In 2008, just over half of Vermont residents identified themselves as Christians. The largest single religious body in the state is the Roman Catholic Church. According to the ARDA in 2010, the Catholic Church had 128,293 members.
Almost one-third of Vermonters were self-identified Protestants. The Congregational United Church of Christ is the largest Protestant denomination with 16,392 members. Vermont has the largest percentage of this denomination of any state.The number of congregations of the United Church of Christ (135) was larger than the number of Catholic congregations (129).
The second-largest Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church with 14,710 members; followed by the Baptistswith 7,178 members.
Twenty-four percent of Vermonters attended church regularly. This low is matched nationally only by New Hampshire.
In 2008, 34 percent of Vermonters claimed no religion; this is the highest percentage in the nation. A survey suggested that people in Vermont and New Hampshire, which were polled jointly, were less likely to attend weekly services and are less likely to believe in God (54 percent) than people in the rest of the nation (71 percent). The two states were at the lowest levels among states in religious commitment. About 23 percent of the respondents attended religious service at least once a week (39 percent nationally). Thirty-six percent said religion is very important to them (56 percent nationally).
Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young—the first two leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—were both born in Vermont. A memorial to Joseph Smith, at his birthplace in Sharon, is maintained by the LDS church and draws about 70,000 visitors annually. As of 2010, the church reports 4,386 members in twelve congregations throughout the state.
Vermont may have the highest concentration of western-convert Buddhists in the country. Several Buddhist retreat centers are located in the state.
2,000 people of the Islamic faith are estimated to live in the state.
Tourism is an important industry to the state. Some of the largest ski areas in New England are located in Vermont. Skiers and snowboarders visitBurke 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. Summer visitors tour resort towns like Stowe, Manchester,Quechee, Wilmington and Woodstock. Resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops, designed to attract tourists, employ people year-round. Summer camps contribute to Vermont's tourist economy.
In winter, Nordic and backcountry skiers visit to travel the length of the state on the Catamount Trail. Several horse shows are annual events. Vermont's state parks, historic sites, museums, golf courses, and new boutique hotels with spas were designed to attract tourists.
According to the 2000 Census, almost 15 percent of all housing units in Vermont were vacant and classified "for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use". This was the second highest percentage nationwide, after Maine. In some Vermont cities, vacation homes owned by wealthy residents of New England and New York City constitute the bulk of all housing stock. According to one estimate, as of 2009, 84 percent of all houses in Ludlow, Vermont, were owned by out-of-state residents. Other notable vacation-home resorts include Manchester and Stowe.
In 2005, visitors made an estimated 13.4 million trips to the state, spending $1.57 billion. In 2012, fall accounted for $460 million of income, about one-quarter of all tourism.
In 2011, the state government earned $274 million in taxes and fees from tourism. 89% of the money came from out-of-state visitors. Tourism supported over 26,000 jobs, 7.2% of total employment.
In 2000–01, there were 4,579,719 skier and snowboarder visits to the state. There were 4,125,082 visits in 2009–2010, a rise from recent years.
In 2008, there were 35,000 members of 138 snowmobiling clubs in Vermont. The combined association of clubs maintains 6,000 miles (9,700 km) of trail often over private lands. The industry is said to generate "hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business."
Hunting is controlled for black bear, wild turkeys, deer, and moose. There are 5,500 bears in the state. The goal is to keep the numbers between 4,500 and 6,000. In 2010, there were about 141,000 deer in the state, which is in range of government goals. However, these are distributed unevenly and when in excess of 10-15 per square mile, negatively impact timber growth.
In 2012, hunting of migratory birds was limited to October 13 to December 16. Waterfowl hunting is also controlled by federal law.
Vermont's main mode of travel is by automobile. 5.7 percent of Vermont households did not own a car in 2008. In 2012, there were 605,000 motor vehicles registered, nearly one car for every person in the state. This is similar to average car ownership nationwide. In 2012, about half the carbon emissions in the state resulted from vehicles.
On average, 20–25 people die each year from drunk driving incidents; as well as 70–80 people in fatal car crashes in the state. Motorists have the highest rate of insurance in the country, 93%, tied with Pennsylvania.
In 2010 Vermont owned 2,840 miles (4,570 km) of highway. This was the third smallest quantity among the 50 states. 2.5 percent of the highways were listed as "congested," the 5th lowest in the country. The highway fatality rate was 1 per 100,000,000 miles (160,000,000 km), tenth lowest in the nation. The highways cost $28,669 per 1 mile (1.6 km) to maintain, the 17th highest in the states. 34.4 percent of its bridges were rated deficient or obsolete, the 8th worst in the nation.
Individual communities and counties have public transit, but their breadth of coverage is frequently limited. Greyhound Lines services a number of small towns. Two Amtrak trains serve Vermont, the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express. In 2011, Amtrak evaluated the track used by the Ethan Allen Express between Rutland and Whitehall, as the worst in the nation.
Trucks weighing less than 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg) can use Vermont's interstate highways. The limit for state roads is 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg). This means that vehicles too heavy for the turnpikes can legally only use secondary roads.
In 1968 Vermont outlawed the use of billboards for advertisement along its roads. It is one of four states in the US to have done this, along with Hawaii, Maine, and Alaska.
Vermont festivals include the Vermont Maple Festival, Festival on the Green, The Vermont Dairy Festival in Enosburg Falls, the Apple Festival (held each Columbus Day Weekend), the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Vermont Brewers Festival. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is supported by the state and performs throughout the area.
Since 1973 the Sage City Symphony, formed by composer Louis Calabro, has performed in the Bennington area. In 1988 a number of Vermont-based composers including Gwyneth Walker formed the Vermont Composers Consortium, which was recognized by the governor proclaiming 2011 as The Year of the Composer.
The Brattleboro-based Vermont Theatre Company presents an annual summer Shakespeare festival. Brattleboro also hosts the summertime Strolling of the Heifers parade which celebrates Vermont's unique dairy culture. The annual Green Mountain Film Festival is held in Montpelier.
In the Northeast Kingdom, the Bread and Puppet Theatre holds weekly shows in Glover in a natural outdoor amphitheater.
Vermont's most recent best known musical talent was the group Phish, whose members met while attending school in Vermont and spent much of their early years playing at venues across the state.
The Vermont-based House of LeMay performs several shows a year, hosts the annual "Winter is a Drag Ball," and performs for fundraisers.
Examples of folk art found in Vermont include the Vermontasaurus in Post Mills, a community in Thetford.
The rate of volunteerism in Vermont was eighth in the nation with 37% in 2007. The state stood first in New England. In 2011, Vermont residents were ranked as the healthiest in the country. Also in 2011, Vermont was ranked as the fourth most peaceful state in the United States. In 2011, Vermont residents were ranked as the sixth most fit/leanest in the country. Vermonters were the second most active citizens of state with 55.9% meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's physical activity requirements. Vermont was ranked as the twelfth happiest state in the country.