New Hampshire

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State of New Hampshire
State flag of New Hampshire State seal of New Hampshire
(Flag of New Hampshire) (Seal of New Hampshire)
State nickname: The Granite State
Map of the U.S. with New Hampshire highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Concord
Largest city Manchester
Governor John Lynch (D)
Senators Judd Gregg (R)

John Sununu (R)

Official language(s) English
Area 24,239 km² (46th)
 - Land 23,249 km²
 - Water 814 km² (3.4%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 1,235,786 (41st)
 - Density 53.20 /km² (20th)
Admission into Union
 - Date June 21, 1788
 - Order 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Latitude 42°40'N to 45°18'N
Longitude 70°37'W to 72°37'W
Width 110 km
Length 305 km
 - Highest point 1,917 m
 - Mean 305 m
 - Lowest point 0 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-NH
Web site

New Hampshire is a small U.S. state in northern New England. It is located east of Vermont, north of Massachusetts, south of Quebec, Canada, and west of Maine and the North Atlantic Ocean. The state ranks 46th of the 50 states in land area (23,249 km2) and 41st in population (around 1.3 million by a 2003 U.S. Census Bureau estimate). It is the site of the New Hampshire primary, the first primary in the U.S. presidential elections, and has probably the most famous of all state mottos: "Live free or die," quoted from Revolutionary War hero John Stark's response to a letter honoring him for the Battle of Bennington.

New Hampshire's state nickname is "the Granite State" because it has numerous granite quarries, although that industry has declined greatly in recent decades. The nickname has also been embraced for reflecting the state's attachment to tradition and limited government. Its state flower is the purple lilac. Its state bird is the purple finch. Its state tree is the American white birch, also called paper birch or canoe birch.

New Hampshire is home to the highest winds ever recorded on Earth: 231 mph in 1934 at the Mount Washington weather observatory in the Presidential Range.

In 2003, it gained international attention for having the first openly gay bishop of a large mainline Christian church, Gene Robinson, within the Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church in the United States of America).

New Hampshire's recreational attractions include skiing and other winter sports; observing the fall foliage; the Lakes Region; and the New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly Loudon Racetrack), home of the Loudon Classic, the longest-running motorcycle race in the United States.

USS New Hampshire was named in honor of this state.



New Hampshire was founded by Captain John Mason and first settled in 1623, just three years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. In 1631, Captain Thomas Wiggin served as the first governor of the Upper Plantation (comprising modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham). In 1679 this Upper Plantation became the "Royal Province" with John Cutt as governor.

The "Royal Province" continued until 1698 when it came under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts with Joseph Dudley as Governor. Thus it continued until 1741. Under King George II New Hampshire returned to its royal provincial status with a governor of its own, Benning Wentworth, who was its governor from 1741 to 1766.

It was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. It was the first state to declare its independence, and the historic attack on Fort William and Mary (now Fort Constitution) helped supply the cannon and ammunition needed for the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place north of Boston a few months later.

On January 5, 1776, the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire, meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution in the soon-to-be United States, six months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In the 1830s, New Hampshire saw two major news stories: the founding of the Republic of Indian Stream on its northern border with Canada over the unresolved post-revolutionary war border issue, and the founding of the modern Republican Party by Amos Tuck and friends. New Hampshire grew as a hotbed of Abolitionist sentiment up to the Civil War, participating in the Underground Railroad in providing safe routes into Canada, primarily via the Connecticut River waterway.

In the 20th Century, New Hampshire gained political renown for its First in the Nation political primaries which tended to accurately predict who would be elected President of the United States.

See also: Province of New Hampshire

Law and Government

Settled in 1623, Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of the oldest towns in the Granite State and the former Capitol.
Settled in 1623, Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of the oldest towns in the Granite State and the former Capitol.
Main article: Government of New Hampshire

The New Hampshire state capital is Concord, which has also been known over time by the names Rumford and Penacook. The governor of New Hampshire is John Lynch (Democrat). New Hampshire's two U.S. senators are Judd Gregg (Republican) and John E. Sununu (Republican), whose father John H. Sununu was governor of the state from 19831988. (see List of New Hampshire Governors). New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states that still elect governors to two-year, rather than four-year, terms.

New Hampshire has historically been dominated by the Republican Party. However, in national elections it has become a swing state. In 2004, New Hampshire narrowly gave its four electoral votes to John Kerry with 50.2% of the vote. In the 2000 presidential election, New Hampshire narrowly supported George W. Bush. The state supported Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but prior to that had only strayed from the Republican party for three candidates—Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Unlike other northeastern states, Republicans still dominate most local and state offices. Democratic strength is greatest in Strafford, Cheshire, Grafton, and Merrimack counties.

Unlike most states, New Hampshire does not have a Lieutenant Governor; the Senate President serves as "acting governor" whenever the governor is out of the state, or otherwise unable to perform the duties of the office. Instead, New Hampshire has a bifurcated executive branch, consisting of the Governor and a five-member Executive Council that is a holdover from the Governor's Council of the Colonial era. The Executive Council's duties include voting on state contracts worth more than $5,000, "advising and consenting" to the governor's nominations to major state positions such as department heads and all judgeships.

The New Hampshire state legislature, called the General Court, is made up of the House of Representatives and Senate. The House of Representative has 400 members in the House, which is reportedly the third-largest legislative body in the English-speaking world, behind only the United States House of Representatives and the British House of Commons. By contrast, the Senate has just 24 members.

State representatives and senators are paid $100 a year, plus mileage and bonuses for committee assignments, effectively making the state legislators volunteers. Because of the amount of pay, many New Hampshire lawmakers are either wealthy or retired.

New Hampshire's government has earned the positive attention of residents in neighboring Vermont: Killington, Vermont has twice voted to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire—a largely symbolic act, since secession would require the agreement of both states' legislatures and the U.S. Congress. Supporters of the secession note that almost all Vermont towns were first chartered by New Hampshire, and point out that these two states already have some unusual cross-border links, including two of the rarely seen interstate school districts in the United States (a third is shared by Oregon and Nevada).

Although the state retains the death penalty, the last execution was conducted in 1939, see List of individuals executed in New Hampshire. In 2000, the General Court passed HB1548-FN, which would have abolished capital punishment but it was vetoed by Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat. In 2005, a law passed raising the minimum age for capital punishment from 17 to 18 years-old, fueled largely by the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Roper v. Simmons (2005). In the state, 17 year-olds who commit misdemeanors or felonies are automatically tried as adults.

New Hampshire has a Libertarian-like political tradition that values individual freedom and weak state governmental powers, although the Libertarian party does not do well in elections when compared to the Democrat and Republican parties. Much of the authority in the state is in the hands of municipal governments. In 1995, with the passage of Senate Bill 2, municipalities were able to continue conducting town meetings the traditional way, or change to ballot voting.


At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in New Hampshire and New England.
At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in New Hampshire and New England.

See List of New Hampshire counties

New Hampshire is part of the New England region. It is bounded by Quebec, Canada to the north, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Massachusetts to the south, and Vermont to the west. New Hampshire's major regions are the Great North Woods, the White Mountains region, the Lakes region the Seacoast region, the Merrimack Valley region, the Monadnock region, and the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area.

See List of mountains in New Hampshire

New Hampshire was home to the famous geological formation called the Old Man of the Mountain, a face-like profile in Franconia Notch, until May 2 to May 3, 2003, when the symbol of New Hampshire collapsed.

The Presidential Range in New Hampshire spans the central portion of the state, with Mount Washington being the tallest, and other mountains like Mount Madison and Mount Quincy Adams surrounding it. With hurricane force winds every third day on the average, 100 recorded deaths among visitors, and conspicuous krummholz (dwarf, matted trees much like a carpet of bonsai), the upper reaches Mount Washington claim the distinction of the "worst weather on earth." In consequence, a non-profit observatory is located on the peak for the purposes of observing harsh environmental conditions.

In the flatter southwest corner of New Hampshire another feature, the prominent landmark and tourist attraction of Mount Monadnock, has given its name to a general class of earth-forms, a monadnock signifying in geomorphology any isolated resistant peak rising from a less resistant eroded plain.

See List of New Hampshire rivers

Major rivers include the 116 mile (187 km) Merrimack River, which bisects the state north-south and ends up in Massachusetts. Its major tributaries include the Souhegan River. The 410 mile (670 km) Connecticut River, which starts at New Hampshire's Connecticut Lakes and flows south to Connecticut, forms the western border of New Hampshire. Oddly, the state border is not in the center of that river, as is usually the case, but lies at the low-water mark on the Vermont side, so New Hampshire actually owns the whole river. The Piscataqua River and its several tributaries form the state's only significant ocean port where they flow into the Atlantic at Portsmouth.

The largest lake is Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 72 square miles (186 km²) in the central part of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline of any coastal state, 18 miles (29 km) by state figures. (Under some federal definitions, Pennsylvania's coast is shorter: See Footnote in "Miscellaneous"). Hampton Beach is a popular local summer destination. About 10 miles (16 km) offshore are the Isles of Shoals, nine small islands (4 belonging to the state) best known as the site of a 19th-century art colony founded by poet Celia Thaxter, as well as the alleged location of one of the buried treasures of the pirate Blackbeard.

The state has an ongoing boundary dispute with Maine in the area of Portsmouth Harbor, with NH claiming dominion over several islands (now known as Seavey Island) that include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as well as to the Maine towns of Kittery and Berwick. New Hampshire asserts the area was granted to it by Massachusetts prior to Maine becoming a state of its own rather than just the northern part of Massachusetts, in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. New Hampshire’s claim is also bolstered by British records of captured American POWs during the Revolutionary period, who were held in England and claimed "Berwick, NH," "York, NH," and "Kittery, NH" as their home towns.

A dramatic change in the visual landscape of New Hampshire occurred about a century ago when it changed from an open landscape of fields and small farms: It is now the second-most-forested state in the country, after Maine, in terms of percentage of land covered by woods. This change was caused by the abandonment of farms by owners seeking wage jobs in urban areas or bank seizure of unproductive farms, with farming families moving west. The reversion forms the subject of many poems by Robert Frost, while the emigration is consistent with the results of NH native and newspaper legend Horace Greeley imploring, "Go West, Young Man."


Manchester is New Hampshire's commercial, economic, and financial hub.
Manchester is New Hampshire's commercial, economic, and financial hub.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that New Hampshire's total state product in 2003 was $49 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $35,140, 7th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are dairy products, nursery stock, cattle, apples, and eggs. Its industrial outputs are machinery, electric equipment, rubber and plastic products, and tourism.

New Hampshire experienced a significant shift in its economic base during the last century. Historically, the base was composed of the traditional New England manufactures of textiles, shoe-making, and small machining shops drawing upon low wage labor from nearby small farms and from Quebec. Today, these sectors contribute only 2% for textiles, 2% for leather goods, and 9% for machining of the state's total manufacturing dollar value (Source: U.S. Economic Census for 1997, Manufacturing, New Hampshire). These traditional sectors experienced their sharp decline during the Twentieth Century due to increasingly obsolete plants and increasingly cheaper wages available in the US South.

The current New Hampshire economy is largely driven by fiscal policy. The state has no personal income tax and advocates a frugal budget, thereby attracting commuters, light industry, specialty horticulture, and service firms from other jurisdictions with high tax policies, notably from neighboring Massachusetts. This is a viable fiscal policy for a small, high-income state with limited social service demands, but it has not been one hundred percent successful, and pockets of depressed manufacturing activity still remain. Additionally, New Hampshire's lack of a broad-based tax system (aside from the controversial state-wide property tax which former Governor Benson cut nearly in half in two years) has resulted in the state's local communities having some of the nation's highest property taxes, yet overall NH remains ranked 49th in combined average state and local tax burden, due to its lack of income or sales taxes.


Historical populations
Year Population
1790 141,885
1800 183,858
1810 214,460
1820 244,161
1830 269,328
1840 284,574
1850 317,976
1860 326,073
1870 318,300
1880 346,991
1890 376,530
1900 411,588
1910 430,572
1920 443,083
1930 465,293
1940 491,524
1950 533,242
1960 606,921
1970 737,681
1980 920,610
1990 1,109,252
2000 1,235,786

As of 2004, the population of New Hampshire was estimated to be 1,299,500. This includes 64,000 foreign-born (4.9%).

The racial makeup of the state is:

The five largest ancestry groups in New Hampshire are: Irish (19.4%), English (18%), French (14.6%), French Canadian (10.6%), German (8.6%). People of British ancestry live throughout most of New Hampshire, although Coos and Hillsborough counties are predominantly French-Canadian. New Hampshire has the highest percentage of residents of French/French-Canadian ancestry of any state.


The religious affiliations of the people of New Hampshire are:

see List of Protestantism by US State see People from New Hampshire

Important cities and towns

New Hampshire, showing roads, rivers and major cities
New Hampshire, showing roads, rivers and major cities

10 Largest Towns/Cities in New Hampshire According to 2000 Census

Manchester 107,006
Nashua 86,605
Concord 40,687
Derry 34,021*
Rochester 28,461
Salem 28,112
Dover 26,884
Merrimack 25,119*
Londonderry 23,236*
Hudson 22,928

* While Census records may seem to indicate that two separate Census Districts exist for this community, in fact one district is contained entirely within the other.


Image:Darmouth uv.JPG
Established in 1769, Dartmouth College is an Ivy League school in Hanover, NH. It is one of the oldest colleges in the United States.

Colleges and universities

Notable high schools

Professional sport teams

New Hampshire Fisher Cats Logo.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats Logo.

Minor league baseball teams:

Hockey team:

Arena football teams:

Soccer team:

Miscellaneous information

Current New Hampshire License Plate
Current New Hampshire License Plate
New Hampshire Conservation License Plate
New Hampshire Conservation License Plate

See List of New Hampshire-related topics

  • The New Hampshire Constitution is the nation's only state constitution that allows the Right to Revolution.
  • In Charlestown, New Hampshire there is the reconstructed Fort at Number 4 from the 1740's and 1750's
  • New Hampshire was the last of the New England states to observe Fast Day, a day of prayer for a bountiful harvest. Traditionally observed on the 4th Thursday in April, from 1949 was observed as a legal holiday on the 4th Monday in April until 1991 when it was replaced by Civil Rights Day. [1]
  • There are no general sales or individual income taxes in New Hampshire, though the state does have meals, lodging, and other taxes. (List of states without personal income tax)
  • New Hampshire is the only state that does not mandate public kindergarten, partly out of frugality and lack of funding, and partly out of belief in local control, a philosophy under which towns and cities, not the state, make as many decisions as possible. As of 2005, all but two dozen communities in the state provided public kindergarten with local property-tax money.
  • Like several states, New Hampshire requires all hard liquor to be sold in state-owned, state-run stores, which keep prices so low that it attracts many out-of-state customers.
  • New Hampshire is host to the New Hampshire Highland Games. New Hampshire has also registered an official tartan with the proper authorities in Scotland, used to make kilts worn by the State Police while they serve during the games.
  • New Hampshire has the only piece of Interstate highway that is two-lane (i.e. a single northbound lane and a single southbound lane) with a cobblestone median. This was done to preserve Franconia Notch, the site of the Old Man of the Mountain, a former rock formation visible from Interstate 93 in Franconia.
  • In northern New Hampshire the town of Dixville Notch is traditionally the first city or town in the U.S. to vote in presidential primaries and the presidential election. The few dozen residents of Dixville Notch all stay awake until after midnight to vote. State law grants that a town where all registered citizens have voted may close early and announce their results.
  • New Hampshire is the only state with no mandatory seatbelt law for adults, no motorcycle helmet law for adults, nor mandatory vehicle insurance for automobiles.
  • New Hampshire is the destination of the Free State Project.
  • EXTENDED FOOTNOTE on coastline. Official figures recognize two coastal concepts, the coastline and the shoreline. The coastline is a generalized measurement of the shore configuration, whereas the shoreline includes measurements for offshore islands and other features such as inlets and rivers to the head of a narrow tidewater. Pennsylvania has no saltwater coastline of 0 miles, but when the more detailed measurement of shoreline is used, Pennsylvania has a saltwater shoreline of 89 miles versus 131 for New Hampshire. Pennsylvania's number apparently comes because a portion of the Delaware River on its southeastern border is tidal. Source: U.S. Dept of Commerce, "U.S. Coastline by States" cited on Page 606 of the 2003 "World Almanac."

Granite State Firsts

From New Hampshire's official folklife website:

  • On January 5, 1776 at Exeter, the Province of New Hampshire ratified the first independent state constitution, free of British rule.
  • On June 12, 1800, Fernald's Island in the Piscataqua River became the first government-sanctioned US Navy shipyard.
  • Started in 1822, Dublin's Juvenile Library was the first free public library.
  • In 1828, the first women's strike in the nation took place at Dover's Cocheco Mills.
  • In 1845, the machine shop of Nashuan John H. Gage was considered the first shop devoted to the manufacture of machinists' tools.
  • On August 29, 1866, Sylvester Marsh demonstrated the first mountain-climbing "cog" railway.
  • Finished on June 27, 1874, the first trans-Atlantic telecommunications cable between Europe and America stretched from Balinskelligs Bay, Ireland, to Rye Beach, New Hampshire.
  • On February 6, 1901, a group of nine conservationists founded the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the first forest conservation advocacy group in the US.
  • In 1908, Monsignor Pierre Hevey organized the nation's first credit union, in Manchester, to help mill workers save and borrow money.
  • In 1963, New Hampshire's legislature approved the nation's first legal state lottery.
  • In 1966, Ralph Baer of Sanders Associates, Inc., Nashua, recruited engineers to develop the first home video game, patented in 1969.
  • Christa McAuliffe of Concord became the first private citizen selected to venture into space. She perished with her six space shuttle Challenger crewmates in January 28, 1986.
  • On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. of Derry rode a Mercury spacecraft and became the first American in space.

Grand Hotels

Daily newspapers

Other publications

External links

Flag of New Hampshire State of New Hampshire

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