Burlington, the seat of Chittenden County, is situated on the shores of Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Winooski River. The city,
the largest in Vermont, is an industrial and commercial center as well as the gateway to the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks.
Samuel de Champlain, exploring on behalf of France, was the first European known to have reached the future site of Burlington. In 1609,
he found a village at the mouth of the Winooski, occupied by members of the Abenaki tribe.
Burlington was chartered in 1763 by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. In 1772, the Onion River Land Company was formed by Ethan, Ira, Heman, and Zimri Allen. The first person to buy land from the company was Felix Powell, who settled in 1774. Burlington is generally believed to have been named for the Burling family of landholders, but this is not well documented. Ethan Allan built a home in Burlington in 1787 and lived there until his death in 1789. A 40-foot marble monument marks Ethan Allan's grave.
Burlington played an important role in the War of 1812, due to its strategic location on Lake Champlain. In 1823, the Champlain Canal opened, connecting the lake with the Hudson River and opening Burlington to southbound water commerce. The Burlington Breakwater was constructed in 1837.
City Hall Park, situated on land originally designated in 1790 for a courthouse, is surrounded by historic public buildings, including the Burlington City Hall and the old Ethan Allan Firehouse. On the heights above Burlington is the campus of the University of Vermont. It is situated in the University Green Historic District, one of 12 historic districts in Burlington. Trinity College, which had occupied a nearby campus since 1925, closed in 2000 and its campus was purchased by the University of Vermont.
When Burlington was incorporated in 1865, a portion was split off to form South Burlington, which, interestingly, lies to the east of