Early History




New Britain is one of three Connecticut cities that was not incorporated until the nineteenth century (the others are Meriden and Bridgeport) and the only city in Connecticut not situated on a major river.

For the first two hundred years of its history New Britain was a farming community mostly. New Britain was originally part of Farmington (laid out in 1640 and established in 1645), which was the largest town in colonial Connecticut and included Avon, Bristol, Burlington, Berlin, Southington, Plainville, and part of West Hartford.

The first settlers arrived in 1687. In colonial Connecticut you had to attend church every Sunday which was difficult as roads were not maintained. By 1754 there were enough people lived in the region to warrant petitioning the colony government for permission to establish a separate parish, and the name New Britain was taken after the island of Great Britain. In 1785, New Britain parish became part of Berlin when that town separated from Farmington but within a few generations New Britain had grown to a point where it could petition the state and was incorporated as a town in 1850.

Thanks to rapid growth of industry, New Britain was designated a city in 1871.

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