Hartford is the capital of the State of Connecticut. It is located in Hartford County on the Connecticut River, north of the center of the state, 24 miles south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its 2006 population of 124,512 ranks Hartford as the state's second-largest city, after Bridgeport. New Haven, 40 miles to the south, has a population nearly identical to that of Hartford. 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. At 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. In 1868, Mark Twain exclaimed: "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, Hartford is the chief".