Landscape Lenses

Cultural Landscape : Early Settlement

Burlington 1868
Burlington from the waterfront, 1858

Most of the cultural landscape features you see today in Vermont are from the historic era. The first European to visit Vermont, Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1609. However, it was not until the mid-1700's, most coming from the south and migrating up along that Champlain Valley, with a lot of military and political clashes between the French in the north and the British in the south.

Population data for the state of Vermont began in 1790, listing 330 residents for Burlington. The number of Burlingtonians had grown more than ten times that amount by 1830 when the census recorded 3,526 residents, and continued to increase dramatically to 13,576 in the 1870 census.

When the Europeans arrived, they came to an almost entirely forested landscape, and systematically transformed it over several generation into an almost entirely cleared farming landscape with occasional small villages. This enormous landscape change is the underlying framework of most of the cultural landscape we see today. The landscape continued to evolve and is still evolving today, and we have remnants in the landscape of all the eras in European use of the land.

Burlington has grown and changed much over the last several years. Explore the various focal places of this website to learn more about how early settlers occupied Burlington during this early settlement period