In sharp contrast, the Hartford metropolitan area is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 7th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income.Highlighting the socio-economic disparity between Hartford and its suburbs, 83% of Hartford's jobs are filled by commuters from neighboring towns who earn over ,000, while 75% of Hartford residents who commute to work in other towns earn just ,000.

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Census Bureau estimates since then have indicated Hartford's fall to fourth place statewide, as a result of sustained population growth in the coastal city of Stamford.

Hartford is nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", as it hosts many insurance company headquarters and insurance is the region's major industry.

The first Europeans known to have explored the area were the Dutch under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614.

Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the area for the Dutch West India Company.

The Reverend Lyman Beecher was an important Congregational minister known for his anti-slavery sermons.

His daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin; her brother Henry Ward Beecher was a noted clergyman who vehemently opposed slavery and supported the temperance movement and women's suffrage.

In 1860, Hartford was the site of the first "Wide Awakes," abolitionist supporters of Abraham Lincoln.

These supporters organized torch-light parades that were both political and social events, often including fireworks and music, in celebration of Lincoln's visit to the city.

Various tribes lived in or around present-day Hartford, all part of the loose Algonquin confederation.