New Hampshire State Flag
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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.
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.
Hampshire is home to the highest winds ever recorded on Earth: 231
mph in 1934 at the Mount Washington weather observatory in the Presidential
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 USA).
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
USS New Hampshire
was named in honor of this state.
- % water
24,239 km² (46th)
- Total (2000)
53.20 /km² (20th)
June 21, 1788
70°37'W to 72°37'W
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
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
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 conspicous krummholz (dwarf, matted trees
much like a carpet of bonsai), the upper reaches of 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.
At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in New
Hampshire and New England. The fastest land wind speed in the
world was recorded at its weather observatory.
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.
bridge spans the Connecticut River at the New
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.
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
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
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."
Hampshire was founded by Captain John Mason and first settled in
1623, just three years after the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts
and 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.
In the 1830s, NH
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,
NH 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.
Settled in 1623, Portsmouth, NH is one of the oldest towns in the
Granite State and the former Capitol.
Law and Government
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 1983–1988. New
Hampshire and Vermont
are the only states that still elect governors to two-year, rather than
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
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.
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
government has earned the positive attention of residents in neighboring
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 sucession
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 the only two interstate school
districts in the United States.
Although the state
retains the death penalty the last execution was conducted in 1939.
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.
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.
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.
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 per cent 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.
Manchester is New Hampshire's commercial, economic, and financial
|As of 2004,
the population of New Hampshire
was estimated to be 1,299,500. This includes 64,000 foreign-born
The racial makeup of the state is:
(making New Hampshire
the third whitest state, trailing only Maine
0.2% Native American
1.1% Mixed race
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.
affiliations of the people of New
Protestant – 43%
Congregational/United Church of Christ – 7%
Baptist – 7%
Episcopal – 4%
Methodist – 3%
Other Protestant or general Protestant – 22%
Roman Catholic – 35%
Other Christian – 2%
Other Religions – 1%
Non-Religious – 19%
Important Cities and Towns
is the most populous city in the state giving it the nickname of the
"Queen City." The Merrimack River runs through the city
and once provided water power to a textile mill industry.
New Hampshire, the second-most-populous city, was twice named
the best city in the country to live by Money magazine.
is still called "The Elm City" despite the fact that Dutch
elm disease destroyed most of the city's elm trees in the 1930s. Keene
is the home to Keene State College.
contains The Mall at Rockingham Park, frequented by Massachusetts
residents to avoid paying sales tax; Canobie Lake Park, an amusement
park; and Rockingham Park, New England's first racetrack for horses.
is the inspiration for the town of Grover's Corners portrayed in Thornton
Wilder's play Our Town.
is known as "The City of Fountains." It contains Lebanon
College and the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and is the location
of many malls along the Connecticut River that draw Vermont
shoppers avoiding that state's sales tax.
Keene's Pumpkin Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Colleges and Universities
College of New England
Pierce Law Center
- New England
New Hampshire University
- The Thomas
More College of Liberal Arts
of New Hampshire
of New Hampshire at Manchester
Established in 1769, Dartmouth College is an Ivy League school
in Hanover, NH. It is one of the oldest colleges in the United
Notable High Schools
- St. Paul's School
- Dublin School
- Tilton School
- Derryfield School
- Pinkerton Academy
- Pembroke Academy
- Phillips Exeter
- Kimball Union
- Minor league
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
New Hampshire Fisher Cats Logo.
- The New Hampshire
Constitution is the nation's only state constituion that allows the
Right to Revolution.
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
- In 1999 New
Hampshire changed the name of Civil Rights Day to Martin Luther
King, Jr. Civil Rights Day.
- There are no
general sales or individual income taxes in New
Hampshire, though the state does have meals, lodging, and other
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 2003, all but about
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.
This system generates millions of dollars annually for the state and
results in liquor being so cheap that it attracts many out-of-state
customers. Many liquor stores are located near state lines, often
on interstate highways (with their own exits).
Hampshire is host to the New Hampshire Highland Games, formerly
the Scottish Games. New Hampshire
has also registered an official tartan with the proper authorities
in Scotland; this tartan is used to make kilts worn by the State Police
while they serve during the games.
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 rock formation visible from
Interstate 93 in Franconia.
The formation, the state symbol, fell apart due to natural erosion
on May 3, 2003.
- In northern
New Hampshire the town
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.
Hampshire is the only state with no mandatory seatbelt law for
adults, no motorcycle helmet law for adults nor mandatory vehicle
insurance for automobiles.
Hampshire is the destination of the Free State Project.
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 is the most detailed measurement
practical and includes measurements for offshore islands and other features
such as inlets and rivers to the head of a narrow tidewater. Based on
these concepts, Pennsylvania
has a saltwater coastline of 0 miles, so it cannot be considered for
ranking in a discussion of saltwater coastlines, but when the more detailed
measurement of shoreline is used, Pennsylvania
has a saltwater shoreline of 89 miles versus 131 for New
Hampshire, giving Pennsylvania
a shorter ocean shore. 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
Current New Hampshire License Plate
New Hampshire Conservation License Plate
Granite State Firsts
- On January 5,
1776 at Exeter, the Province of New Hampshire
ratified the first independent state constitution, free of British
- Started in 1822,
Dublin's Juvenile Library was the first
free public library.
- In 1908, Monsignor
Pierre Hevey organized the nation's first credit union, in Manchester,
to help mill workers save and borrow money.
- The first ballot
of New Hampshire's Presidential Primary has been cast in the Ballot
Room of the Balsams Hotel in Dixville
Notch since 1920.
- In 1963, New
Hampshire's Legislature approved the nation's first legal state lottery.
- In 1828, the
first Woman's strike in the nation took place at Dover's
- In 1845, the
machine shop of Nashuan John H.Gage was considered the first shop
devoted to the manufacture of machinists' tools.
- 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.
- In 1966, Ralph
Baer of Sanders Associates, Inc., Nashua,
recruited engineers to develop the first video game, patented in 1969.
- Christa McAuliffe
of Concord became the first private citizen
selected to venture into space, she but perished with her six space
shuttle Challenger crewmates in the January 28, 1986 mishap.
- On May 5, 1961,
Alan B. Shepard Jr. of Derry rode a Mercury
spacecraft and became the first American in space.
- On August 29,
1866, Sylvester Marsh demonstrated the first mountain-climbing "cog"
- 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.
- On June 12,
1800, Fernald's Island in the Piscataqua River, became the first government-sanctioned
US Navy shipyard.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway.
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