The geography of the state is marked by the Green Mountains, which run north–south up the middle of the state, separating Lake Champlain and other valley terrain on the west from the Connecticut River valley that defines much of its eastern border. A majority of its terrain is forested with hardwoods and conifers, and a majority of its open land is devoted to agriculture. The state's climate is characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters.
Vermont's economic activity of $34 billion in 2018 ranked 52nd on the list of U.S. states and territories by GDP (every state plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico were larger), but 34th in GDP per capita. In 1960, Vermonters' politics started to shift from being reliably Republican toward favoring Democratic candidates. Starting in 1963, Vermont voters have alternated between electing Republican and Democratic governors. Since 2007, Vermont has elected only Democrats and Independents to Congress. In 2000, the state legislature was the first to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples. In 2011–2012, the state officially recognized four Abenaki tribes.