World History

New Hampshire State History – Colonial, Revolution, Lakes Facts

Native Americans

The land that is today the state of New Hampshire was settled for thousands of years by various native peoples. When the Europeans arrived in the 1600s, the Algonquian peoples lived in the region including the Abenaki and Pennacook tribes. These Native Americans hunted, fished, farmed corn and beans, and lived in domed houses called wigwams.

Information about New Hampshire State:

Capital Concord
Population 1,377,518 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Derry
Borders Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Canada, Atlantic Ocean
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $215,917.8 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including apples, eggs, dairy products, and cattle
Electronic equipment, plastics, machinery, and tourism

Flag of New Hampshire State:

Europeans Arrive

One of the first Europeans to visit the region was English explorer Martin Pring in 1603. Other explorers followed including Captain John Smith and French explorer Samuel de Champlain. England claimed the land after John Smith’s visit and soon began to colonize the area.


The first English settlement was a small fishing outpost near present day Rye in 1623. That same year, another settlement was established called Hilton’s Point. It would later become the city of Dover.

Over the next several years, more colonists came. The living was tough, but with help from the local natives they learned to survive. The colony became known for its lumber and tall trees that were good for shipbuilding. Portsmouth became a wealthy port and shipbuilding location.

In 1679, New Hampshire was officially named a province of England. It would remain under the government of Massachusetts until 1741, when it became a separate colony. In 1764, the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont (which was part of New York at the time) was established as the Connecticut River.

New Hampshire State Symbols

  • New Hampshire State Nickname: Granite State
  • New Hampshire State Slogan: Granite State
  • New Hampshire State Motto: Live free or die
  • New Hampshire State flower: Purple lilac
  • New Hampshire State bird: Purple Finch
  • New Hampshire State fish: Brook trout (fresh water), Striped bass (salt water)
  • New Hampshire State tree: White Birch
  • New Hampshire State mammal: White-tailed deer
  • New Hampshire State foods: Pumpkin

American Revolution

After the French and Indian War, the British began to tax the American colonies. The colonists did not like this and began to protest. In December of 1774, one of the first engagements of the Revolutionary War occurred when colonists from New Hampshire captured Fort William and Mary. They took the fort without firing a shot and captured much needed guns, cannon, and ammunition for the upcoming war.

The Geography of New Hampshire State:

  • Total Size of New Hampshire: 8,968 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of New Hampshire: Atlantic Ocean at Sea Level (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of New Hampshire: Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Coos (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of New Hampshire: Located in Belknap County approx. 3 miles east of Ashland (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of New Hampshire: 10 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of New Hampshire: Atlantic Ocean, Merrimack River, Connecticut River, Lake Winnipesaukee

Becoming a State

After the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire joined the newly formed United States. On June 21, 1788 it became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution.

Famous People of New Hampshire State:

Daniel Webster Politician and lawyer
Harlan Stone Supreme Court justice
Alan Shepard Astronaut
Franklin Pierce The 14th President of the United States
Seth Meyers Actor and comedian
John Irving Author who wrote The Cider House Rules
Robert Frost Poet who lived in New Hampshire
Salmon Chase Civil rights activist
Dan Brown Author of The Da Vinci Code

Interesting Facts of New Hampshire State:

New Hampshire was the first state to have its own constitution.

The summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire is said to have the worst weather in the world. A wind speed world record of 231 mph was set here.

Many of Robert Frost’s famous poems were inspired by New Hampshire.

New Hampshire was one of the first states to hold a presidential primary.

The state was named after a county of Hampshire in England by Captain John Mason. The motto “Live or Die Free” dates back to General John Stark’s 1809 statement.

Granite from New Hampshire is literally in abundance. 30,000 tons were used by him to build the Library of Congress.

The first free public library he founded here in 1833.

Another nickname for this state is “Mother of Rivers”.

Timeline Overview:

1603 – Englishman Martin Pring explores New Hampshire.
1623 – The first settlements are established at Rye and Dover.
1679 – New Hampshire is made a province of England.
1741 – New Hampshire splits from Massachusetts and becomes an English colony.
1764 – The Connecticut River is established as the border between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
1769 – Dartmouth College is founded in the city of Hanover.
1774 – The colonists capture guns and ammo from the British Fort William and Mary.
1788 – New Hampshire becomes the ninth state.
1808 – Concord is made the permanent capital.
1852 – Franklin Pierce becomes the 14th President of the United States.
1918 – White Mountain National Forest is established.
1945 – The Old Man of the Mountain is made the official state emblem.
1961 – Alan Shepard becomes the first American and second person to travel to space.
2003 – The Old Man of the Mountain collapses.