Under an English land grant, Capt. John Smith sent settlers to establish a fishing colony at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, near present-day Rye and Dover, in 1623. Capt. John Mason, who participated in the founding of Portsmouth in 1630, gave New Hampshire its name.
After a 38-year period of union with Massachusetts, New Hampshire was made a separate royal colony in 1679. As leaders in the revolutionary cause, New Hampshire delegates received the honor of being the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. New Hampshire gained a measure of international attention in 1905 when Portsmouth Naval Base played host to the signing of the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, known as the Treaty of Portsmouth.
Abundant water power turned New Hampshire into an industrial state early on, and manufacturing is the principal source of income. The most important industrial products are electrical and other machinery, textiles, pulp and paper products, and stone and clay products. Dairy and poultry, and growing fruit, truck vegetables, corn, potatoes, and hay are the major agricultural pursuits.
Because of New Hampshire's scenic and recreational resources, tourism now brings over $3.5 billion into the state annually.
Vacation attractions include Lake Winnipesaukee, largest of 1,300 lakes and ponds; the 724,000-acre White Mountain National Forest; Daniel Webster's birthplace near Franklin; and Strawbery Banke, restored buildings of the original settlement at Portsmouth. In 2003, the famous “Old Man of the Mountain” granite head profile, the state's official emblem, fell from its perch in Franconia.
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Selected famous natives and residents:
- Sherman Adams former governor and presidential advisor;
- Salmon P. Chase jurist;
- Charles Anderson Dana editor;
- Mary Baker Eddy founder of the Christian Science Church;
- Dustin Farnum actor;
- Thomas Green Fessenden journalist and satirical poet;
- Daniel Chester French sculptor;
- Robert Frost poet;
- Horace Greeley journalist and politician;
- Sarah J. Hale editor;
- John Irving writer;
- Benjamin F. Keith theater entrepreneur;
- Jackson Hall Kelly promoter of Oregon settlement;
- John Langdon political leader;
- Sharon Christa McAuliffe teacher and astronaut;
- Franklin Pierce former president;
- Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculptor;
- Alan Shepard astronaut;
- Harlan F. Stone jurist;
- Daniel Webster statesman;
- Henry Wilson politician and former vice president;
- Noah Worcester clergyman and pacifist.