Hartford, Connecticut

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Hartford is the capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is located in Hartford County on the Connecticut River, north of the center of the state, 24 miles (39 km) south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its 2006 population was 124,512.[1] Hartford ranks as the state's third-largest city,[2] after Bridgeport and New Haven, 40 miles (64 km) to the south and the sixth largest in New England.[1] Greater Hartford is also the largest metro area in Connecticut, and 45th largest in the country (2006 census estimate) with a metropolitan population of 1,188,841.

Nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", Hartford houses many of the world's insurance company headquarters, and insurance remains the region's major industry.[3] Almost 400 years old, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States, and following the American Civil War, Hartford took the mantle of the country's wealthiest city from New Orleans.[4] In 1868, Mark Twain wrote, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief."[5]

Hartford is home to the nation's oldest public art museum (Wadsworth Atheneum), the oldest public park (Bushnell Park), the oldest continuously published newspaper (The Hartford Courant), the second-oldest secondary school (Hartford Public), and until its closure in 2009, the sixth-oldest opera company in the nation (Connecticut Opera).

In 2004, the Hartford metropolitan area ranked second nationally based on per capita economic activity, behind only San Francisco, California. Hartford is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and generates more economic activity than sixteen U.S. states.[6][7]

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