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New Hampshire, USA

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New Hampshire is a mountainous state in the east of the United States of America. It is the 5th smallest state in area, but ranks 6th in life expectancy1 among American states, with its 1,315,809 inhabitants living an average of 78.3 years.

The state of New Hampshire can be found on any map of the United States. It is bordered to the west and northwest by Vermont, and to the south by Massachusetts, while Maine and the Atlantic Ocean comprise the eastern boundary. Vermont also shares a short northern border with Quebec, Canada.

New Hampshire was one of the original colonies in New England2. Unlike its neighbouring states which were mostly started by those dealing with religious discrimination, New Hampshire was settled by a small group who had been given a land grant in 1623 to establish a fishing colony. Captain John Mason sent David Thomson, Edward Hilton, Thomas Hilton, and several others, to begin fishing operations in the service of the Crown.

In modern times, tourism has overtaken the mining of granite, fishing, lumber production, manufacturing and construction as the state's top money maker, bringing in about $8.6 billion a year.


Known as the Granite State, its motto is 'Live free or die.'

  • Area - 9,283 sq mi (24,043 sq km)
  • Highest point - Mt Washington 6,288 Feet (1,917 m)
  • State bird - Purple finch
  • State flower - Purple lilac
  • State wild flower - The pink lady's slipper, Cypripedium acaule
  • State tree - White birch
  • State dog - The chinook
  • State song - 'Old New Hampshire'
  • State Capital - Concord
  • Largest City - Manchester

New Hampshire History

New Hampshire was first explored between 1600 and 1605. It was officially settled in 1623. The first settlement was made at the mouth of the Piscataqua River and was called Little Harbor. A few years later, the second settlement, Dover, was established. Over the next few years, expeditions were sent and other villages established. Each town, however, was independent of the others and this provided no stable government. New Hampshire remained a territory of Massachusetts until 1679, when the King chose to separate them. They were rejoined in 1686 and again separated in 1691. This final separation resulted in a stable government with the president and council appointed by the Crown and the assembly elected by the people. The English settlers were joined in 1719 by a colony of Scottish-Irish immigrants who founded the town of Londonderry.

New Hampshire officially became a state on 21 June, 1788, and was the 9th state admitted to the Union. It was one of the original 13 colonies and participated in the revolt against the British in the American Revolution. Even though it was the first state to actually declare independence, the only battle fought there was a raid on the harbour at Portsmouth on 14 December, 1774. About 400 locals overwhelmed the six British soldiers guarding the fort, took down the British flag, and stole the fort's munitions. Had they been named, they could have been hung for treason. This raid is now recognised as the first battle of the War of Independence.


Weather in New Hampshire is changeable. There are wide variations in both the seasonal and daily temperatures. These variations are affected by proximity to the mountains, ocean, and other waterways in the state. In New Hampshire the summers are short and cool; the winters are long and cold. These are punctuated with brief periods of spring and fall. It can also vary considerably by location. Some of the coldest temperatures and strongest winds in the continental United States have been recorded at Mount Washington, the highest point in the state.

Temperatures in Manchester are as follows:

MonthNormal HighNormal Low
January32°F (0° C)5.2°F (-15°C)
April56°F (13°C)18.4°F (-7.5°C)
July82°F (28°C)54°F (12°C)
October61°F (16°C)32°F (0°C)

Temperatures are considerably colder at higher altitudes.

New Hampshire Unique Features

New Hampshire has the shortest coastline of all the US coastal states, with only 18 miles of shoreline.

The state's most famous icon was a rock formation in the shape of a facial profile, known as the 'old man of the mountain'. This profile is now history — it fell victim to the ravages of time in 2003.

New Hampshire is also home to Mount Washington, the location that claims the dubious title of 'worst weather on Earth'. The upper regions of Mt Washington suffer from hurricane-force winds about every three days and there have been over 100 reported deaths of visitors. A weather observatory now resides on the peak to record and observe the harsh conditions.

You will also find a part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site as features of this state.

New Hampshire Trivia

New Hampshire In Fiction

New Hampshire has been a setting for numerous movies including:

  • The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
  • On Golden Pond (1981)
  • What Goes Up (2009)
The American TV drama series Peyton Place was also set in New Hampshire, as were the novels Pollyanna3 by Eleanor H Porter and The Shining by Stephen King.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Scattered around the state there are 1,300 lakes or ponds and 40,000 miles of river and streams. These aquatic features provide numerous locations for fishing.

  • During the winter, there are over a dozen ski resorts in the state. In 1998, the state government adopted skiing as the official state sport.

  • New Hampshire has an official tartan, registered in Scotland, that the State Police wear as kilts when performing ceremonial duties.

  • It tied with Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation during 2003.

  • Three US Navy ships have been named after the state.

  • Killington, Vermont has twice voted to leave the state of Vermont and become a part of New Hampshire.

Places to See

New Hampshire Firsts

  • In 1690, the British Government contracted local ship builders in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to construct the HMS Falkland, a 637-ton, 54-gun frigate, which was added to the Royal Navy, 2 March, 1695. This was the first warship built in America.

  • In 1822, Dublin's Juvenile Library was the first free public library in the US.

  • In 1908, Monsignor Pierre Hevey opened the nation's first credit union in Manchester.

New Hampshire Primary

Once every four years, for more than 80 years, during the federal election cycle, New Hampshire has held a Presidential Primary election on the second Tuesday in February. On this day the eyes of the whole United States are watching as the voters in New Hampshire tell the country who they think should get the Democratic and Republican nominations for President of the United States. Candidates for the office will have set up a campaign office and tried to convince the voters that they are the one in the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary.

Eminent Persons

  • Josiah Bartlett (1729 - 1795) Patriot, Governor - He moved to New Hampshire in 1750. He was New Hampshire's delegate to the Continental Congress 1775, and was Governor of the state from 1790 to 1794.

  • Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869) US President - He was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. At the Age of 48 he became President of the United States and served from 1852 to 1856. After being denied re-election he retired to Concord, New Hampshire.

  • Horace Greeley (1811 - 1872) Newspaper Editor - Son of a poor family in Amhurst, New Hampshire, he rose to be a prominent member of the Whig Party and founded his own newspaper: The New York Tribune.

  • Mary Baker Eddy (1821 - 1910) Religious Leader - She was born in Bow, New Hampshire. She founded the Christian Science religion and its newspaper The Christian Science Monitor.

  • Alan B Shepard Jr (1923 - 1998) Astronaut - He was born in East Derry, New Hampshire. Rear Admiral Shepard piloted the suborbital flight of Freedom 7 on 5 May, 1961 and was Commander of Apollo 14 in 1971.

  • David H Souter (born 1939) US Supreme Court Jurist - Born in Massachusetts, he practised law in New Hampshire beginning in 1966 and was the state's Attorney General from 1976 to 1978. As a member of the US Supreme Court from 1991 to 2009, he was part of a liberal minority.

  • Christa McAuliffe (1948 - 1986) Teacher, Astronaut - Born in Massachusetts, Christa taught at Concord, New Hampshire from 1982 until her death. She was payload specialist on the Shuttle Challenger (STS 51-L) which blew apart in the sky before achieving orbit.

1According to the Harvard University Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard School of Public Health.2Traditionally, New England includes the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, although between the years 1686 and 1689, King James II had in place a Dominion of New England which also included New York and New Jersey.3Whose perpetual sunny disposition gave her mention in Concepts From Fiction.4Merriam-Webster defines a zip-line as a cable suspended above an incline to which a pulley and harness are attached for a rider.

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