Hartford, located at the end of the navigable portion of the Connecticut River, was settled in 1623 as a Dutch trading post called House of Hope. In 1636, a group of English settlers led by the Reverend Thomas Hooker left Massachusetts and formed a colony here. The settlers made peace with the local Algonquin Indians, who called the town Saukiog, and renamed it after Hertford in England.

Early in its existence Hartford made a significant contribution to the burgeoning society. The Fundamental Orders adopted by the colony in 1639, was the first document in history to establish a government by the consent of the people. The pattern was followed by the framers of the United States Constitution, giving Connecticut its nickname the Constitution State.

Evolving from an early agricultural economy, Hartford grew into an important trading center on the Connecticut River. Molasses, spices, coffee and rum were distributed from warehouses in the city's thriving merchant district. Ships set sail for Hartford to England, the West Indies and the Far East. Merchants were concerned about risks to this thriving trade, with fires, pirates, storms and accidents always a threat. The insurance industry was created when groups of merchants began to share these risks.

Colonial Towns of Connecticut Links