New Hampshire State History
The territory of present-day New Hampshire was largely populated by the Androscoggin and Pennacook nations of Abenaki people. They were largely displaced by the arrival of English settlers. 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 Hampshire in England).
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.
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.
New Hampshire Culture & Interesting Facts
The White Mountains
The heart of New Hampshire's tourism industry is the White Mountains. The White Mountains offer several popular destinations for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and more intense mountain-climbing. Leaf-peeping, or going out in nature to see the fall foliage, is also popular. This year-round nature tourism provides a major boon to the state economy. One mountain in particular plays a big role in White Mountain tourism. Mount Washington is the highest point in New England, and is infamous for having the worst weather in North America. The second highest ever wind speed was recorded on Mount Washington. The harsh conditions make it a popular training mountain for more dangerous climbs like in the Himalayas, since they can experience the weather while having a much safer egress down the mountain. Though not part of the White Mountains, nearby Mount Monadnock is another tourist attraction. With a fairly easy four-hour climb, scenic springs, and views as far out as Boston, it's a very popular destination; Monadnock is often called the world's most hiked mountain.
Video Games in the Granite State
New Hampshire has a couple of video game claims to fame. Back in the early 1970s, the Nashua, NH based Sanders Associates developed the first home video game console. The system, developed by Ralph Baer, was produced and distributed by Magnavox as the original Magnavox Odyssey. Tangentially related, but the influential coding language BASIC was also developed in New Hampshire at Dartmouth College. In the modern day, New Hampshire houses the world's largest arcade—Funspot Family Fun Center—which houses over 300 classic arcade machines. Funspot has a section designated as its "American Classic Arcade Museum" in which they have a rotating selection of 180 machines usable at any one time. Many of these machines were donations by classic video game fans, and the game enthusiasts at the arcade have put a great deal of effort into restoring all of the machines.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, New Hampshire has a major culture built up around motorsports. The state has several motorways that host regular events for NASCAR, IndyCar racing, and drag racing. The biggest of these are the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and the New England Dragway in Epping. The state is also home to one of the country's largest motorcycling events, Motorcycle Week in Laconia. At its peak Motorcycle Week attracted nearly 400,000 attendees, mostly motorcyclists; Motorcycle Week is somewhat notorious for getting out of hand, as a couple people die almost every year. Many attribute this to the "Live Free or Die" State not requiring riders to wear helmets.
Women in Politics
New Hampshire has a legacy of women in politics. In 1910, resident Marilla Ricker ran for the office of governor despite being unable to vote (she didn't succeed). She had been one of the first women to practice law before the Supreme Court. Just a decade later, in the first election after the national recognition of women's suffrage, New Hampshire elected several woman representatives by write-in. In 1999 the state was the first to have all of its top-level state positions filled by women. In 2008, the state senate had a female majority. And, in 2012, New Hampshire became the first state to send an all-woman delegation to Congress, with women filling both senator positions and both representative positions (and the governorship as well).
Famous New Hampshire Natives and Residents
Salmon P. Chase jurist;
Charles Anderson Dana editor;
Mary Baker Eddy founder of the Christian Science Church; ;
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;
John Langdon political leader;
Sharon Christa McAuliffe teacher and astronaut;
Franklin Pierce former president;
Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculptor;
U.S. State Comparisons
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