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New Hampshire

State of New Hampshire
(Flag of New Hampshire ) (Seal of New Hampshire )
State nickname: The Granite State
Other U.S. States
Capital Concord
Largest city Manchester
Governor John Lynch
Official languages English
Area 24,239 km² (46th)
 - Land 23,249 km²
 - Water 814 km² (3.4%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 1,235,786 (41st)
 - Density 53.20 /km² (20th)
Admittance into Union
 - Date June 21, 1788
 - Order 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Latitude 4240'N to 4518'N
Longitude 7037'W to 7237'W
Width 110 km
Length 305 km
 - Highest 1,917 m
 - Mean 305 m
 - Lowest 0 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-NH
Web site

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the United States (U.S. postal abbreviation NH), named for the English county of Hampshire. New Hampshire is called the "Granite State" because it has numerous granite quarries, although that industry has declined greatly in recent decades. The nickname has also come to reflect the state's attachment to tradition and its history of frugal government. The state motto is "Live free or die".

New Hampshire's state flower is the purple lilac. Its state bird is the purple finch. Its state tree is the white birch.

New Hampshire is best known as the state with the first primary in the presidential election (see New Hampshire primary), the spot with the highest recorded winds ever recorded (the Mount Washington weather observatory in the Presidential Range), and colorful fall foliage. In 2003 it gained international attention for having the first openly Censored page bishop, Gene Robinson, within the Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church in the USA).

New Hampshire's recreational attractions include skiing, 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 States.

USS New Hampshire was named in honor of this state.



New 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.

Law and Government

The New 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), who defeated one-term Craig Benson (Republican). 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. List of New Hampshire Governors.

Its strong libertarian heritage has attracted the Free State Project to New Hampshire. It has also earned the positive attention of residents in neighboring states: Killington, Vermont voted on March 2, 2004 to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire state legislature, called the General Court, has 400 members in the House and 24 in the Senate. It claims to be the third-largest legislative body in the English-speaking world, behind only the United States House of Representatives and the British House of Commons.

State representatives and state senators are paid just $100 a year, plus mileage, effectively meaning that state laws are written by volunteers. Because of this pay scale, many New Hampshire lawmakers are either wealthy or retired.


See: List of New Hampshire counties

New Hampshire is part of the New England region. It is bounded by Quebec 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 White Mountains region, the Lakes area, the Seacoast region, the Merrimack Valley area, the Monadnock region, and the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area.

The Presidential 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. In 1934 the highest wind speed on earth of 231 miles per hour was recorded on Mount Washington. 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 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.

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 resitant eroded plain.

Major 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.

New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline of any coastal state, just 18 miles (29 km -however, Pennsylania has the shortest shoreline - See Extended Footnote in " Miscellaneous" for an explanation). Hampton Beach is a popular local summer tourist destination. About 10 miles (16 km) offshore are the Isles of Shoals, nine small islands best known as the site of a 19th-century art colony founded by poet Celia Thaxter.

During a period of bad weather in May 2-3, 2003 the geographical emblem of New Hampshire, the overhanging face-like mountain craig known as the Old Man of the Mountain, suddenly crumbled and collapsed. Located in Franconia Notch, the feature had been depicted on a US stamp and was the subject of a famous literary quote by Daniel Webster.

A dramatic change in the visual landscape of New Hampshire occurred about a century ago from a small farm holding appearance to a much more forested one. This came about due to abandonment of marginal small farm plots by owners seeking wage jobs in urban areas. The reversion of the rural landscape to a more wild, less settled, wooded sight forms the subject of many poems by Robert Frost ( who wrote about New Hampshire as well as Vermont) in such collections as his " North of Boston" and "New Hampshire".


New Hampshire's 1999 total state gross product was $44 billion, placing it 39th in the nation. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $33,332, 6th 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.

New 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: US 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) has resulted in the state's local communities having some of the nation's highest property taxes.


According to the Census Bureau, as of 2003, the population of New Hampshire was 1,287,687.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The 5 largest ancestry groups in New Hampshire are: Irish (19.4%), English (18%), French (14.6%), French Canadian (10.6%), German (8.6%).


The religious affiliations of the citizens of New Hampshire are:

  • Protestant 41%
  • Roman Catholic 41%
  • Other Christian 3%
  • Other Religions 2%
  • Non-Religious 9%

The three largest Protestant denominations in New Hampshire are: Methodist (11% of the total state population), Baptist (9%), Presbyterian & Episcopalian (tied 2%).

Important cities and towns

  • Manchester, the largest city in the state, has a main street (Elm Street) which is a dead-end at both ends.
  • Keene is still often called "The Elm City" despite the fact that the Dutch Tree Blight destroyed most of the city's Elm Trees in the 1930s.
  • Peterborough is the inspiration for the town of Grover's Corners portrayed in Thornton Wilder's play Our Town.


Colleges and universities

  • New England College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Notre Dame College
  • Plymouth State University
  • Rivier College
  • Saint Anselm College
  • The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of New Hampshire at Manchester

Professional sport teams

Minor league baseball teams:

Hockey teams:

Arena football teams:

Miscellaneous information

See List of New Hampshire-related topics

  • New Hampshire was the last of the New England states to observe Fast Day, a day of prayer for a bountiful harvest. Traditionallly 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 Rights Day. [1]
  • In 1999 New Hampshire changed the name of Civil Rights Day to Martin Luther King Day. [2]
  • There are no general sales or individual income taxes in New Hampshire, though the state does have meals, lodging, and other taxes. (List of other states without personal income taxes)
  • New 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.
  • New 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.
  • New 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 was the symbol of the state until it fell apart, due to natural erosion, on May 3, 2003.
  • The Census of 2000 says the unincorporated town of Erving's Location has a population of exactly 1 - although this fact is disputed. A June 27, 2004, article in the Union-Leader of Manchester quoted the administrator of Coos County as saying the town's only taxable property is some utility poles, and that nobody has ever lived there.
  • In northern New Hampshire the town of Dixville 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.
  • New Hampshire is the only state with no mandatory seatbelt law for adults, no motorcycle helmet law for adults nor mandatory vehicle insurance for automobiles.
  • New Hampshire is the destination of the Free State Project.
  • EXTENDED FOOTNOTE on New Hampshire Versus Pennsylvania Seashore. 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. In addition, the shoreline also inludes 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 versus 13 for New Hampshire, so Pennsylvania cannot be considered for ranking in a discussion of saltwater coastlines. But when the more detailed measurement of shoreline configuration is used, Pennsylvania has a saltwater shoreline of 89 miles versus 131 for New Hampshire. The source for the above is US Dept of Commerce, " US Coastline by States" cited on Page 606 of the 2003 "World Almanac". The reason that Pennsylvania picks up a shoreline under the more detailed measuring concept is not given in that source, but it could well be due to the fact that some portion of the Delaware River of Pennsylvania's eastern border is tidal).

Daily newspapers

Other publications

External links

  • Official State Website
  • The New Hampshire Almanac
  • New Hampshire Underground

Regions of New Hampshire

Dartmouth Sunapee | Great North Woods | Lakes | Merrimack Valley | Monadnock | Seacoast | White Mountains


Belknap | Carroll | Cheshire | Coos | Grafton | Hillsborough | Merrimack | Rockingham | Strafford | Sullivan

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Last updated: 02-02-2005 23:35:03
Last updated: 02-20-2005 07:32:09