From Academic Kids
|State nickname: The Green Mountain State|
Map of the U.S. with Vermont highlighted
|Other U.S. States|
|Area||24,923 km² (45th)|
|- Land||23,974 km²|
|- Water||949 km² (3.8%)|
|- Population||608,827 (49th)|
|- Density||25.41 /km² (30th)|
|Admission into Union|
|- Date||March 4, 1791|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
|Latitude||42?44'N to 45?0'43"N|
|Longitude||71?28'W to 73?26'W|
|- Highest||1,339 m|
|- Mean||305 m|
|- Lowest||29 m|
|- ISO 3166-2||US-VT|
Vermont is a small U.S. state located in New England. The state ranks 45th in land area (24,923km?), and its population (608,827) ranks as the second smallest of the fifty states. As the only New England state not to have a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont is noted mainly for the Green Mountains in the west and Lake Champlain in the northwest. It borders Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
Originally inhabited by Native American tribes (Iroquois, Algonquian and Abenaki), the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France but became a British possession after France's defeat in the French and Indian War. For many years, rightful control of the area was disputed by the surrounding colonies. Settlers who held land titles granted by the Province of New Hampshire, through their Green Mountain Boys militia, eventually prevailed. Vermont became the 14th state to join the United States, following its 14-year period of independence during and after the Revolutionary War. Famous for its scenery, dairy products and maple syrup, Vermont has long been known for its liberal politics and staunchly independent political thinking. The state capital is Montpelier, while the largest city is Burlington.
Vermont is located in the New England region in the eastern United States and comprises 9615 square miles (24,902 km?), making it the 45th largest state. Of this, land comprises 9249 square miles (23,955 km?) and water comprises 366 square miles (948 km?), making it the 43rd largest in land area and the 47th in water area.
The west bank of the Connecticut River marks the eastern border of the state with New Hampshire (the river itself is part of New Hampshire). Lake Champlain, the major lake in Vermont, is the sixth-largest body of water in the United States and separates Vermont from New York and Canada in the northwest portion of the state. The state's greatest length, from north to south, is 159 miles. Its greatest width, from east to west, is 89 miles (the narrowest width is at 37 miles). The state's geographic center is Washington, three miles east of Roxbury.
The Green Mountains, so named because their relatively low altitude allows for little timberline, form a north-south spine running the most of the length of the state, slightly west of its center. In the southwest portion of the state are the Taconic Mountains; the White Mountains are in the northeast. In the northwest off Lake Champlain is the fertile Champlain Valley. In the south of the valley is Bomoseen Lake.
Several mountains do have timberlines: Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in the state and Killington are two examples. About 77 percent of the state is covered by forest, the rest in meadow, uplands, lakes, ponds and swampy wetlands.
Vermont is known for its brief mud season in spring followed by a cool summer and a colorful autumn, and particularly for its cold winters. The northern part of the state, including the rural northeastern section (dubbed the "Northeast Kingdom") is known for exceptionally cold winters, often averaging more than ten degrees (F) colder than the southern areas of the state. Annual snowfall averages between 60 to 100 inches depending on elevation, giving Vermont some of New England's best cross-country skiing areas.
In the autumn, Vermont's hills experience an explosion of red, orange and gold foliage caused by the sugar maple. That this famous display occurs so abundantly in Vermont is not due so much to the presence of a particular variant of the tree; it rather results from a number of soil and climate conditions unique to the area.
The highest recorded temperature was 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), at Vermon on July 4, 1911; the lowest recorded temperature was –50 degrees Fahrenheit (–46 degrees Celsius), at Bloomfield on December 30, 1933.
Little is known of the pre-Columbian history of Vermont. The western part of the state was originally home to a small population of Algonquian-speaking tribes, incuding the Mohican and Abenaki peoples. Between 8500 to 7000 BCE, glacial activity created the Champlain Sea, and Native Americans inhabited and hunted in Vermont. From 7000 to 1000 BCE was the Archaic Period. During the era Native Americans migrated year-round. From 1000 BCE to 1600 CE was the Woodland Period, when villages and trade networks were established, and ceramic and bow and arrow technology was developed. Sometime between 1500 and 1600, the Iroquois drove many of the smaller native tribes out of Vermont, later using the area as a hunting ground and warring with the remaining Abenaki. The population in 1500 is estimated to be around 10,000 people.
The first European to see Vermont is thought to be Jacques Cartier, in 1535. On July 30, 1609, French explorer Samuel de Champlain claimed the area of what is now Lake Champlain, giving to the mountains the appellation of les Verts Monts (the Green Mountains).
France claimed Vermont as part of New France, and erected Fort Sainte Anne on Isle La Motte in 1666 as part of their fortification of Lake Champlain. This was the first European settlement in Vermont and the site of the first Roman Catholic mass.
During the later half of the 17th century, non-French settlers began to explore Vermont and its surrounding area. In 1690, a group of Dutch-British settlers from Albany under Captain Jacobus de Warm established the De Warm Stockade at Chimney Point (eight miles west of Addison). This settlement and trading post was directly across the river from Crown Point, New York (Pointe ࠬa Chevelure).
In 1731, the French arrived. Here they constructed a small temporary wooden stockade (Fort de Pieux) on what was Chimney Point until work on Fort St. Fr餩ric began in 1734. The fort, when completed, gave the French control of the New France/Vermont border region in the Lake Champlain Valley and was the only permanent fort in the area until the building of Fort Carillon more than 20 years later. The government encouraged French colonization, leading to the development of small French settlements in the valley. The British attempted to take the Fort St. Fr餩ric four times between 1755 and 1758; in 1759 a combined force of 12,000 British regular and provincial troops under Sir Jeffrey Amherst captured the fort. The French were driven out of the area and retreated to other forts along the Richelieu River. One year later a group of Mohawks burnt the settlement to the ground, leaving only chimneys and giving the area its name.
The first permanent British settlement was established in 1724 with the construction of Fort Dummer in Vermont's far southeast under the command of Lieutenant Timothy Dwight. This fort protected the nearby settlements of Dummerston and Brattleboro in the surrounding area. These settlements were made by the Province of Massachusetts Bay to protect its settlers on the western border along the Connecticut River. The second British settlement was the 1761 founding of Bennington in the southwest.
During the French and Indian War, some Vermont settlers, including Ethan Allen, joined the colonial militia assisting the British in attacks on the French. Fort Carillon on the New York-Vermont border, a French fort constructed in 1755, was the site of two British offensives under Lord Amherst's command: the unsuccessful British attack in 1758 and the retaking of the following year with no major resistance (most of the garrison had been removed to defend Quebec, Montreal, and the western forts). The British renamed the fort Fort Ticonderoga (which became the site of two later battles during the American Revolutionary War). Following France's loss in the French and Indian War, the 1763 Treaty of Paris gave control of the land to the British.
The end of the war brought new settlers to Vermont. A fort at Crown Point had been built, and the Crown Point Military Road stretched from the east to the west of the Vermont wilderness from Springfield to Chimney Point, making traveling from the neighboring British colonies easier than ever before. Three colonies laid claim to the area. The Province of Massachusetts Bay claimed the land on the basis of the 1629 charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Province of New York claimed Vermont based on land granted to the Duke of York (later King James II) in 1764. The Province of New Hampshire also claimed Vermont based upon a decree of George II in 1740. In 1741, George II ruled that Massachusetts's claims in Vermont and New Hampshire were invalid and fixed Massachusetts's northern boundary at its present location. This still left New Hampshire and New York with conflicting claims to the land.New Hampshire Grants, a series of 135 land grants made between 1749 and 1764 by New Hampshire's colonial governor, Benning Wentworth. The grants sparked a dispute with the New York governor, who began granting charters of his own for New Yorker settlement in Vermont. In 1770, Ethan Allen—along with his brothers Ira and Levi, as well as Seth Warner—recruited an informal militia, the Green Mountain Boys, to protect the interests of the original New Hampshire settlers against the new migrants from New York. When a New York judge arrived in Westminster with New York settlers in March 1775, violence broke out as angry citizens took over the courthouse and called a sheriff's posse. This resulted in the deaths of Daniel Houghton and William French in the "Westminster Massacre."
On January 18, 1777, representatives of the New Hampshire Grants convened in Westminster and declared their land an independent republic. For the first six months of the republic's existence, the state was called New Connecticut.
On June 2, a second convention of 72 delegates met at Westminster, known as the "Westminster Convention." At this meeting, the delegates adopted the name "Vermont" on the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Young of Philadelphia, a supporter of the delegates who wrote a letter advising them on how to achieve statehood. The delegates set the time for a meeting one month later. On July 4, the Constitution of Vermont was drafted at the Windsor Tavern owned by Elijah West during a violent thunderstorm, and was adopted by the delegates after four days of debate. This was the first written constitution in North America and the first to constitutionally provide for the abolition of slavery, suffrage for men who did not own land, and public schools. The tavern has been preserved as the Old Constitution House, administered as a state historic site.
On August 16, 1777, the Battle of Bennington took place, not at Bennington but just across the New York border. However, Vermont men played the most important role in the battle and were led by General John Stark and Colonel Seth Warner of Vermont. Ordered to retreat by Continental Army leaders, Stark had refused and instead led his men to fight the British troops and Hessian mercenaries. Stark prepared his men to fight to the death, telling them that: "There are your enemies, the redcoats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!" With reinforcements from the Vermont militia, American forces routed the British, leading to the surrender of John Burgoyne's 6000-man force at Saratoga on October 17. The battle is seen as the turning point in the Revolutionary War because it was the first major defeat of a British general and it convinced the French that the Americans were worthy of military aid. Stark became widely known as the "Hero of Bennington" and the anniversary of the battle became a legal holiday in Vermont, known as "Bennington Day."
Vermont continued to govern itself as a sovereign entity based in the eastern town of Windsor for 14 years. Thomas Chittenden, who came to Vermont from Connecticut in 1774, acted as President of Vermont from 1778 to 1789 and from 1790 to 1791. In 1791, Vermont joined the Union as the 14th member–the first state to enter the union after the original 13 colonies, and a counterweight to Kentucky, which was admitted to the Union shortly afterward.
The northernmost land action of the American Civil War took place in Vermont on October 19, 1864. In this incident, one of the most unusual in American history, Bennett H. Young led Confederate forces. Young had been captured in John Hunt Morgan's 1863 raid in Ohio, but escaped to Canada in the fall of that year. Morgan went to the south, where he proposed Canada-based raids on the Union as a means of building the Confederate treasury and forcing the Union army to protect their northern border as a diversion. Young was commissioned as a Lieutenant and returned to Canada, where he recruited other escaped rebels to participate in the October 19, 1864 raid on St. Albans, Vermont, a quiet town 15 miles from the Canadian border.
Young and two others checked into a local hotel on October 10, saying that they had come from St. John's in Canada for a "sporting vacation." Every day, two or three more young men arrived. By October 19, there was 21 men. Just before 3:00 p.m., the group simultaneously staged an armed robbery of the three banks in the town. They announced that they were Confederate soldiers and stole a total of $208,000. As the banks were being robbed, eight or nine of the Confederates held the townspeople prisoner on the village green as their horses were stolen. One townsperson was killed and another wounded. Young ordered his troops to burn the town down, but the four-ounce bottles of Greek fire they had brought failed to work.
Vermont also sent over 30,000 men into the service of the Union Army, of which some one out of three did not return, a higher proportion of men sent and lost than any other state. The most famous Vermont unit was the hard-fighting First Vermont Brigade. This unit remains the hardest-fighting brigade in the history of the United States military.
Large-scale flooding occurred in early November 1927. During this incident, 85 people died, 84 of them in Vermont. Another flood occurred in 1973, when the flood caused the death of two people and the loss of millions of dollars in property damage.
See also: List of forts in Vermont
Law and government
Vermonters are known for their political independence and liberal views. The Vermont government maintains a proactive stance with regards to the environment, social services and prevention of urbanization. The most recent controversy to stir up major political conflict in the state was the adoption of civil unions, an institution which grants same-sex couples nearly all the rights and privileges of marriage. In Baker v. Vermont (1999) the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that, under the Constitution of Vermont, the State of Vermont must either allow same-sex marriage or provide a separate but equal status for them. The state legislature chose the second option by creating the institution of civil union; the bill, which was supported by over half of the state's voters, was passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Howard Dean.
Vermont is the home state of the only two current members of the United States Congress who do not associate themselves with a political party: Representative Bernard Sanders and Senator James Jeffords.
Attempts by out-of-state candidates (so called "flatlanders") to win a seat in Vermont have often been thwarted by locals. In 1998, a 79-year-old local man named Fred Tuttle won national attention by defeating a Massachusetts multimillionare in the Republican Primary for United States Senate. With a campaign budget of $201, Tuttle garnered 55 percent of the primary vote, before conceding the general election to Patrick Leahy.
The Republican Party dominated Vermont politics throughout most of the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. In the early 1960s many progressive Vermont Republicans and newcomers to the state helped bolster the State's then-small Democratic Party.
The Vermont Progressive Party is a small, left-wing political party created in the early 1980s and has held a handful of seats in the Vermont legislature for two decades and is affiliated with Vermont's lone congressman, Bernie Sanders; it has had official recognition as a political party by the state government since 1999.
Provision is made for the following governing institutions under the Constitution of the State of Vermont
Vermonters independently elect a state Governor and Lieutenant Governor every two years (as opposed to every four years, which is the most common term length for a governor of a U.S. state). The current governor of Vermont is Jim Douglas, who assumed office in 2003.
Unlike other states, Vermont does not have a term limit for the governor.
The Vermont's state legislature is the Vermont General Assembly, a bicameral body composed of the Vermont House of Representatives (the lower house) and the Vermont Senate (the upper house). The Senate is composed of 30 state senators, while the House of Representatives has 150 members. Like the governor, members of the General Assembly serve two-year terms.
The Vermont Supreme Court is the state supreme court, made up of five justices who served six year terms. Superior courts in the state are made up of eight judges serving a term of six years. Appointments to the state supreme court, superior court, and district courts are made by the governor and approved by the General Assembly. Judges on lower courts are elected on a partisan ballot.
In the U.S. Senate, Vermont is represented by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, and Senator James Jeffords, an independent. Jeffords was a former Republican but left the party in 2001 as a result of political disagreements and now caucuses with the Democrats. Unusually, like its neighbor New Hampshire, Vermont tends to elect more independents than other states; in the U.S. House of Representatives, Vermont's single at-large congressional district is represented by Bernard Sanders, an independent representative and socialist who served as the mayor of Burlington.
Vermont has many festivals, including the Vermont Maple Festival, the Enosburg Falls Dairy Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, and the Mozart Festival. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is supported by the state and performs throughout the area. The Brattleboro-based Vermont Theatre Company presents an annual summer Shakespeare festival. Brattleboro also hosts the summertime Strolling of the Heifers parade which celebrates Vermont's unique dairy culture.
See also: Music of Vermont
Over the past two centuries, Vermont has seen both population explosions and population busts. First settled by farmers, loggers and hunters, Vermont lost much of its population as farmers moved West into the Great Plains in search of abundant, easily-tilled land. Logging similarly fell off as over-cutting and the exploitation of other forests made Vermont's forest less attractive. Although these population shifts devastated Vermont's economy, the early loss of population had the beneficial effect of allowing Vermont's land and forest to recover from the excesses of human beings. The accompanying lack of industry has allowed Vermont to avoid many of the ill-effects of 20th century industrial busts, effects that still plague neighboring states. Today, much of Vermont's forest consists of second-growth.
Of the remaining industries, dairy farming is the primary source of agricultural income.
A unique part of Vermont's economy is the manufacture and sale of novelty goods and foods for cottage industries and niche markets. Examples of these are such exports as Cabot Cheese, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Burton Snowboards, King Arthur Flour, and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (headquartered in South Burlington).
Captive insurance plays an increasingly large role in Vermont's economy. With this form of alternative insurance, large corporations or industry associations form standalone insurance companies to insure their own risks, thereby substantially reducing their insurance premiums and gaining a significant measure of control over types of risks to be covered. There are also significant tax advantages to be gained from the formation and operation of captive insurance companies. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Vermont in 2004 was the world's third-largest domicile for captive insurance companies, following Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Numerous summer camps, furniture-making and skiing also make up a large component of Vermont's income. Trout fishing, lake fishing and even ice fishing draw the outdoorsman to the state as does the excellent hiking on the Long Trail. Several noteworthy horse shows are annual events. Golf courses are springing up with spas to service the weary client. One major fashion outlet mall isn't really a mall but the old town of Manchester gentrified.
In the winter, the mountains in Vermont have enough snow to make skiing a viable industry.
The town of Rutland is the traditional center of marble quarrying and marble shaping in the USA. For many years Vermont was also the headquarters of the smallest union in the USA, the Stonecutters Association, of about 500 members.
In recent years, Vermont has been deluged with plans to build condos and houses on what was relatively inexpensive, untouched land. Vermont's government has responded with a series of laws controlling development and with some pioneering initiatives to prevent the loss of Vermont's dairy industry.
In 2001, Vermont produced 1,040,000 liters of maple syrup, about a quarter of the U.S. production.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports Vermont’s 2000 population as 608,827, and estimates its 2003 population as 619,107.
Race and Sex
Vermont's population is:
Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Vermont ranks:
- 2nd in its proportion of Whites
- 41st in its proportion of Asians
- 49th in its proportion of Hispanics
- 48th in its proportion of Blacks
- 29th in its proportion of American Indians
- 39th in its proportion of people of mixed race
- 28th in its proportion of males
- 24th in its proportion of females
The five largest ancestry groups are:
Like many of the neighboring states, Vermont's largest religious affiliation in the colonial period was Congregationalism. In 1776, 63 percent of affiliated church members in Vermont were Congregationalists. At the time, however, most settlers were not church members, because much of the land was wilderness. Only 9 percent of people belonged to a church at the time.
Today, most of the religious data about the state comes from 1990 (see Hunter). Nearly 84 percent of Vermont residents identify themselves as Christians. The state's largest single religious body is the Roman Catholic Church. A self-identification survey in 1990 found that 36.7 percent of Vermonters consider themselves to be Catholics, although a Church survey that same year reported that only 25% of Vermonters were actually members, indicating that many Catholics don't attend church regularly and are not formally affiliated with the church.
45.5 percent of Vermonters are self-identified Protestants. The largest single Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church, with 5 percent of the population, followed by Episcopalians, and Baptists.
Although Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young—the first two leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—were both born in Vermont, Mormons have never made up a large percentage of Vermont's population.
Judaism and Unitarian Universalism claim around 1 percent of the state's population. The 2001 Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia reported that the state has 5,000 Jews—300 in Burlington and 500 each in Montpelier-Barre and Rutland—and four Reform and two Conservative congegations.
Important cities and towns
Wealth of locations by per capita income:
see also: Vermont locations by per capita income
1 Old Bennington, Vermont $40,884
273 Island Pond, Vermont $13,207
The public school system in Vermont is regulated by the Vermont State Board of Education, which consists of nine voting members and one non-voting member, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate. One voting member is a high school student; the non-voting member is another Vermont high school student who is a junior member and will move into the voting student member position the following year.
Colleges and universities include:
- Bennington College
- Burlington College
- Castleton State College
- Center for Cartoon Studies
- Champlain College
- College of St. Joseph
- Goddard College
- Green Mountain College
- Johnson State College
- Landmark College
- Lyndon State College
- Marlboro College
- Middlebury College
- Norwich University
- Saint Michael's College
- School for International Training
- Southern Vermont College
- Trinity College (Vermont)
- University of Vermont
- Vermont Law School
- Vermont Technical College
- Woodbury College
Vermont is one of twelve states that have no death penalty statute. After 1930 there were four executions; the last was in 1954. Capital punishment was effectively abolished in practice in 1964, with the statutes being completely removed in 1987. Current state law, however, allows children as young as ten years to be tried as adults, the lowest age limit currently specified by any of the 50 states.
Crime per capita is generally very low.
The Vermont prison system is administered by Vermont Department of Corrections. There are nine prisons in Vermont:
- Caledonia Community Work Camp
- Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility
- Dale Women's Facility
- Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility
- Northern State Correctional Facility
- Northwest State Correctional Facility
- Southeast State Correctional Facility
- Southern State Correctional Facility
- St. Johnsbury Regional Correctional Facility
State song and symbols
The state song and state symbols are designated by act of the state legislature and confirmed by the governor.
Vermont's state song is "These Green Mountains," written by composed by Diane Martin and arranged by Rita Buglass Gluck. This song was officially designated as the state song on May 22, 2000, when Governor Howard Dean signed No. 99 of the Acts of 2000 into law. This song replaced "Hail to Vermont!," which was written by Josephine Hovey-Perry and made the state song in 1938.
The state bird is the hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus). This was adopted as No. 1 of the Acts of 1941, effective June 1, 1941. The bird was only designated after debate in the legislature; though the hermit thrush is found in all of 14 counties and has a distinctive sweet call, it left the state during the winter for its yearly southward migration. Many legislators actually favored the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) or the crow. The red clover (Trifolium pratense) was designated as the state flower by No. 159 of the Acts of 1894, effective February 1, 1895. The red clover is often seen in the countryside of Vermont but was originally naturalized from Europe.
Vermont has two official state fish, both adopted by Joint Resolution R-91 of the Acts of 1978 and effective on May 3, 1978: the cold-water fish, brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and the warm-water fish, the walleye pike (Stizosedion vitreum vitreum).
The state tree is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), adopted by the Acts of 1949, effective March 10, 1949. The sugar maple is the source of maple syrup, Vermont's most famous export. (The sugar maple is also the state tree of Wisconsin). The state mammal is the Morgan horse, designated as such by No. 42 of the acts of 1961, effective March 23, 1961. The Morgan horse is a horse breed originally from Vermont.
The state insect is the honeybee (Apis mellifera), designated by No. 124 of the Acts of 1978, effective July 1, 1978. The honeybee is also the state insect of ten other states—Arkansas, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The state amphibian, adopted by No. 126 of the Acts of 1997, is the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens).
Vermont has also designated an official state mineral (talc), pie (apple pie), soil ("Tunbridge Soil Series"), beverage (milk), and gem (grossular garnet), and fossil (the beluga skeleton at the University of Vermont's Perkins Geology Museum.)
Clip Art and Pictures
- Free Clipart (http://classroomclipart.com)
- US State Maps (http://classroomclipart.com/cgi-bin/kids/imageFolio.cgi?direct=Clipart/US_State_Maps)
- US State Flags (http://classroomclipart.com/cgi-bin/kids/imageFolio.cgi?direct=Clipart/State_Flags)
Lesson Plans, Resources and Activites
- Lesson Plan Central (http://lessonplancentral.com)
- Open Directory Project: Vermont. Link (http://directory.google.com/Top/Regional/North_America/United_States/Vermont/)
- State of Vermont. Link (http://www.vermont.gov)
- Vermont Cities, Towns, Mountains, Rivers, and Lakes, from Hayward's Gazetteer of 1839. Link (http://newenglandtowns.org/vermont/)
- Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. Link (http://www.travel-vermont.com/)
- Vermont Historical Society. Link (http://www.vermonthistory.org/)
- Vermont Judicial System. Link (http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/default.aspx)
- "Vermont QuickFacts." U.S. Census Bureau. Link (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/50000.html)
- "Vermont State Historic Sites." Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Link (http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/HistoricSites/sites.htm)
- Vermont State Legislature. Link (http://www.leg.state.vt.us/)
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