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In 1637 a small party of Puritans reconnoitered the New Haven harbor area and wintered over.
In April 1638, the main party of five hundred Puritans who had left the Massachusetts Bay Colony under the leadership of the Reverend John Davenport and London merchant Theophilus Eaton sailed into the harbor.
Yale president Ezra Stiles recounted in his diary that while he moved furniture in anticipation of battle, he still couldn't quite believe the revolution had begun.
A militia of Yale students had been preparing for battle, and former Yale president and Yale Divinity School professor Naphtali Daggett rode out to confront the Redcoats.
New Haven was founded in 1638 by English Puritans, and a year later eight streets were laid out in a four-by-four grid, creating what is commonly known as the "Nine Square Plan".
The central common block is the New Haven Green, a 16-acre (6 ha) square, and the center of Downtown New Haven.
The city served as co-capital of Connecticut from 1701 until 1873, when sole governance was transferred to the more centrally located city of Hartford. New Haven had the first public tree planting program in America, producing a canopy of mature trees (including some large elms) that gave New Haven the nickname "The Elm City".
New Haven has since billed itself as the "Cultural Capital of Connecticut" for its supply of established theaters, museums, and music venues. Before Europeans arrived, the New Haven area was the home of the Quinnipiac tribe of Native Americans, who lived in villages around the harbor and subsisted off local fisheries and the farming of maize.