The part of the lands once inhabited by the Podunk Indians, the town saw its first permanent colonists in 1635 when Thomas Hooker and his followers came from Cambridge, Massachusetts to found Hartford. The east side of the Connecticut River was at that time part of Hartford. Initially settled about 1640, early settlers here included William Goodwin, Thomas Burnham and William Pitkin.
The first petition by residents to establish a separate Town was rejected by the General Assembly in 1726. Several more petitions were submitted between that year and 1783, when the Assembly at last gave its approval to the incorporation of East Hartford. The Town then received its Charter from the State of Connecticut on the land area taken from the City of Hartford.
Today, the Town of East Hartford is governed by a strong Mayor form of government. The Charter empowers the Mayor to govern the Town in cooperation with an elected nine-member Town Council and Town Treasurer. The Chairman of the Town Council is also the Deputy Mayor, and his powers include the power to approve and adopt the Annual Budget, the power to enact ordinances, the power to fix penalties and fines, and the powers of subpoena and investigation.