New Haven History


Founded by Puritans who sailed south from the Massachusetts Bay colony, New Haven is the seventh largest city in New England.

In 1638 English Puritans sailed into the Long Island Sound and settled along the CT shoreline. The settlement was originally called “Quinnipiak”, after the Native American tribe that inhabited parts of southern CT, but was later renamed “Newhaven”. The settlers designed the country's first planned community and mapped out nine geometric squares surrounding a central Green, a plan which still exists today. The settlers also wanted to found a college, but this idea would have to wait several decades. In 1664, New Haven formally joined the CT Colony, and by 1701, it became co-capital of the Colony. It was in 1716, with significant donations of land and money, that the growing village was able to convince a young Yale College to move from its 1701 birthplace in Saybrook, CT, to the heart of New Haven.

1860s view of the Brick Row. John Trumbull and James Hillhouse developed Yale's Brick Row campus plan in 1792.

Four Yale graduates signed the Declaration of Independence, and partly in response to the College’s support for colonial independence from Great Britain, New Haven was invaded during the American Revolutionary War. Both the city and College survived intact, and both continued to expand in size and scope. Over the next two centuries, homes, businesses, and city streets arose alongside dormitories, classrooms, and labs. Development and expansion continue even today, and Yale University and New Haven are now inextricably linked.