37 Important Facts About New Hampshire

Last updated on October 7th, 2022

New Hampshire is the 41st most populous and the 46th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is the state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. New Hampshire attained statehood on June 21, 1788, becoming the 9th state to join the union. Its three bordering states are Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. New Hampshire (nicknamed: Granite State, Mother of Rivers, White Mountain State) has 10 counties. The state’s capital is Concord. The postal abbreviation for New Hampshire is NH.

New Hampshire facts

1. The state is nicknamed “The Granite State” because granite from the state was supplied for building structures mainly in Boston and Washington D.C., and many other small towns. The pink colored Conway Granite and the gray colored Concord Granite are two granites that were quarried locally and shipped widely. The granites got their names from the towns in which they were first quarried.[1]

2. The state is named New Hampshire after the Hampshire County in England.

map of U.S. states
New Hampshire (in red) on the map with other states.

3. The state’s motto is “Live Free or Die.” The state declared its independence from England in Exeter on January 5, 1776. It was the ninth state to ratify the constitution.[2]

4. In 1776, New Hampshire became the first colony to create a constitution and declare its independence from Great Britain.

5. In 1961, Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. born in New Hampshire became the first American to travel into space. And in 1971, he walked on the moon – becoming the fifth man in the process. His first flight into the space lasted for a good fifteen minutes and traveled 116 miles into the atmosphere.[2]

6. Ground winds as high as 231 miles an hour were recorded atop the peaks of Mount Washington on April 12, 1934. This remained a world record until 1996. The wind speeds are comparable to winds in Category 5 hurricanes and F4 tornadoes.[3]

7. The only FAA-approved ice runway in the lower 48 states is a stretch of New Hampshire’s Winnipesaukee’s lake water. Formerly known as the Alton Bay Seaplane Base, it was first opened to airplane traffic in 2009. The runway is 2,730 feet long and 100 feet wide.

8. More than four-fifths of the state is forested. After Maine, it is the second-most forested state in the U.S.[4]

9. The first potato grown in the United States was planted in New Hampshire in 1719.[5]

10. Ralph Baer Memorial was unveiled recently in Manchester, NH to honor the “father of video games” – Ralph Henry Baer. In 1968, Baer created the “Brown Box” a device that allowed players to control moving dots on a TV screen. The prototype of the box was sold to Magnovax in 1972 and the company marketed the first ever commercially sold video game in the world. The game was sold as the Magnavox Odyssey Home Video Game System. The invention led to the flourishing of the today’s multibillion dollar gaming industry. The iconic inventor had more than 150 patents awarded to him during his lifetime.[26,27,28]

New Hampshire on the map

11. New Hampshire has the shortest coastline of any U.S. state. The coastline is just 18 miles long.[6]

12. The world’s first totally tax-supported public library was established in Peterborough in 1833.[7]

13. The first strike organized by women workers in the United States took place in New Hampshire on December 30, 1828. The strike was organized to protest against the new policies of the Dover Cotton Factory that banned talking on the job. Nearly half of the 800 mill girls walked out in protest of the reduction in their wages by 5 cents a day. Men on the contrary were paid at a higher rate.[8]

14. New Hampshire is one of the thirteen original colonies. It was initially named “North Virginia,” then “New England” and finally “New Hampshire.”[9]

15. The revolutionary war hero John Stark wrote the words, “Live Free or Die” in a letter to the veterans of the Battle of Bennington when he was invited to a reunion. He could not attend the reunion and instead wrote a letter with the famous slogan which was later adopted as the state’s motto in 1945.[10]

16. Famously known as Uncle Sam, Samuel Wilson grew-up in Mason, New Hampshire. When he was 14 years old, his family moved to Mason and settled in a hundred acre farm.[11]

17. The fourteenth president of the United States—Franklin Pierce—was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.[12]

18. Cornish-Windsor Bridge in New Hampshire is the longest wooden covered bridge and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is approximately 449 feet (137 m) long and 24 feet (7 m) wide. [13,14]

19. In July 1944 financiers from 44 countries gathered at Mount Washington Hotel for the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference and the American dollar was designated the standard of international exchange. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund was also established at the same time. The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington, D.C., and work closely with each other.[16]

20. There is no tax on earned income in New Hampshire. Tennessee and New Hampshire do tax investment income, however. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming do not impose state income tax.[15]

21. The world’s first cog railway was built in 1869 and still pushes the train up Mt. Washington. It is the second steepest rack railway in the world after the Pilatus Railway in Switzerland.[17]

22. New Hampshire is the only state that offers ski jumping as a high school sport. Bode Miller hails from the state. He is a winner of 6 Olympics medals including one gold, three silver and two bronze medals. He learnt the art of skiing in Franconia.[18,19]

23. Piscataqua River is the third-fastest tidal river in the US.[20]

24. One of the moon’s craters is named after an astronomer Ambrose Swasey. He was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on December 19, 1846.[21]

25. With 400 members, New Hampshire’s state house is the largest of all the states. Minnesota has the largest state senate with 67 members.[22]

26. Other nicknames of the state include: Mother of Rivers: for the rivers of New England that originate in our Mountains; White Mountain State: for its white mountain range; Switzerland of America: for its beautiful mountain scenery.

27. New Hampshire is the only state in the U.S. that does not require adults to wear seat belts while operating a motor vehicle. Nor does it requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet while riding.

28. New Hampshire racks among the top ten states in the US for total energy cost per month. On average, a household in the state pays $550 every month towards electricity, natural gas, motor-fuel, and home heating, combined. Wyoming tops the list with an expense of $738 per month while New Mexico ($377) is the cheapest in this regards. The data was researched and collected by Wallet Hub.[24]


29. New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate in the U.S. It is also one of the wealthiest states in the Union.[25]

30. Concord, Hopkinton and Salisbury were the three cities that were initially picked up for the construction of the state capitol. Eventually it was decided that the state house would be built in concord. The availability of granite in the north end of the town might have helped in choosing Concord for building the state house. Interestingly, the cutting, shaping and facing of the stones was done by the inmates of the state prison. The original building cost of construction was approximately $82,000.[29]

31. Traffic related deaths in 2019 dropped by a staggering 30% compared to the previous year – all thanks to the Granite Staters for being alert while behind the steering wheels.[30]

New Hampshire facts for kids

32. New Hampshire has 93 state park properties. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is the only national park site in NH.

33. New Hampshire is home to more than 500 species of vertebrate animals.[31]

34. Moose is the largest land mammal in New Hampshire. An adult moose averages 1,000 pounds and stands 6 feet tall at the shoulders. Surprisingly, their front legs are longer than their hind legs which helps them to jump over fallen trees and debris of other sorts. They also have keen sense of smell and hearing.[32]

35. Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding lakes (Winnisquam and Opechee) are the primary recreation focus of the state during the non-ski months of the year.[33]

36. Belknap County, 3 mi (4.8 km) east of Ashland is considered as the geographic center of New Hampshire.

37. Tourism is the state’s second-largest industry.

About the Flag of New Hampshire

Flag of New Hampshire
Flag of New Hampshire

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of New Hampshire provides a glimpse of its maritime history and contributions to the revolution. It also offers insight into the land and the people.

It features the Great Seal of New Hampshire with a golden ornamental border and a blue field. The border alternates between stars and leaves, with nine stars as a nod to the 9th state of the Union.

The seal depicts the USS Raleigh surrounded by a laurel wreath – a symbol of honor and victory. The 32-gun, 40-meter frigate is one of the first warships of the US navy.

At the harbor is a granite boulder. This igneous rock represents the strong character of New Hampshire residents. It also reflects the state’s rugged landscape.

Along the edge are the words “SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.” At the bottom is the date of construction of the Raleigh in Portsmouth, “1776.”

2. Adoption

New Hampshire adopted the current flag in 1931 after enacting a revised state seal law.

3. Technical Details

The flag uses a proportion of 2:3. Dots are present between words around the seal.

4. History

The First Independent Seal

In 1774, the First Provincial Congress of New Hampshire discarded every Royal Seal from the British. They designed a new one depicting a bundle of five arrows in the middle, with an upright fish on the left and a pine tree on the right. They represented the five counties, the fishing sector, and the lumber industry.

The First Official State Seal

In 1776, New Hampshire achieved statehood. They approved a state seal two days later with the fish, tree, arrows, and a Latin inscription highlighting strength in unity.

The Second Seal

In 1784, New Hampshire passed its current state constitution. The legislature also approved a seal featuring a ship on stocks with a rising sun. It highlights the shipbuilding industry that boomed during the American Revolutionary War. The Latin motto Sigillum Reipublicae Neo Hantoniensis wraps around the edge. Some placed this seal on their flags, but official adoption did not come until 1909.

Seal Reproduction Issues

In 1919, the governor ordered Otis Hammond of the New Hampshire Historical Society to write about the history of the state flag and seal. His research led to surprising findings. According to Hammond, the vague law describing the seal made it hard to create faithful copies. Artists had their interpretations and injected new details, such as people and rum barrels on the dock. In 1931, Gov. John Winant created a committee to eliminate the confusion.

The 1931 State Seal Law

The new law specified the USS Raleigh as the centerpiece ship. It removed the old Latin motto and replaced it with the English translation. It also declared that there should be nothing in the foreground except a granite boulder.

5. Flag Facts

The USS Raleigh honors the famous explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh, who was a leading figure in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Timothy Josephson, the state representative of Canaan, pushed for a flag redesign to break away from the common practice of putting the state seal on a blue background. He suggested using the Old Man of the Mountain or the motto “Live Free or Die.” However, the House leadership did not act on it.

New Hampshire – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationNH
State CapitalConcord
Largest CityManchester
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 9,350 sq miles; Land Only: 8,968 sq miles
1,402,054 (Estimate July 1, 2023 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJune 21, 1788
State rank by population41st
State rank by date of formation9th
State rank by area46th
Number of Counties10
DemonymGranite Stater, New Hampshirite
Bordering StatesMaine, Massachusetts, Vermont
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointMount Washington
6,288 ft (1916.66 m)
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
Sea level
Length 190 miles (305 km)
Width68 miles (110 km)
GovernorChris Sununu (R)
Electoral Votes4
State MottoLive Free or Die
State NicknameGranite State
% Water4.2
Noble prize WinnersGeorge H. Whipple (Physiology or Medicine, 1934)
Famous peopleWilson Bethel
Ray LaMontagne
U.S. President Born in New Hampshire1. Franklin Pierce.
State Flag

New Hampshire flag

State seal

Seal of New Hampshire.svg

State coat of arms

New Hampshire state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg

State AmphibianRed-spotted Newt
State AnimalWhite-tailed Deer
State BirdPurple finch
State ButterflyKarner Blue Butterfly
State DogChinook
State FishBrook Trout
State FlowerPurple Lilac
State FruitPumpkin
State GemSmokey quartz
State InsectLadybug
State MineralBeryl
State TreeWhite Birch
State WildcatBobcat
State WildflowerPink lady's slipper
Longitude70° 36′ W to 72° 33′ W
Latitude42° 42′ N to 45° 18′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Area Codes603
Table last updatedDecember 21, 2023