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New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a New England state in the United States (U.S. postal abbreviation NH). It was named after 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. 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) 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 worst recorded weather at an inhabited location (the Mount Washington weather observatory in the Presidential Range), and colorful fall foliage. In 2003 it gained international attention for having the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, within the Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church in the USA).

New Hampshire′s recreational attractions include skiing in the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, and the New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly the Loudon Racetrack), the home of the Loudon Classic, the longest-running motorcycle race in the United States.

New Hampshire was explored 1600-1605 and first settled in 1623. By 1631 the Upper Plantation comprised modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham; in 1679 it became the "Royal Province." Indian raids were a serious problem before 1763. See also: Province of New Hampshire

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, but there were no battles here. New Hampshire was a Jacksonian stronghold; the state sent Franklin Pierce to the White House in the election of 1852. Industrialization took the form of numerous textile mills, which in turn attracted large flows of immigrants from Quebec (the "French Canadians") and Ireland. The northern parts of the state produced lumber and the mountains provided tourist attractions. After 1960 the textile industry collapsed, but the economy rebounded as a center of high technology and a service provider.

Since 1952 New Hampshire gained national and international attention for its presidential primary held early in every presidential election year. It immediately became the most important testing grounds for candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations. The media give New Hampshire (and Iowa) about half of all the attention paid to all states in the primary process, magnifying the state′s decision power (and spurring repeated efforts by out-of-state Democrats to change the rules.)

Miscellaneous information


  • The New Hampshire Constitution is the nation′s only state constitution that allows the right to revolution, and one of the few that does not mandate the provision of a public school system.
  • In Charlestown, New Hampshire there is the reconstructed Fort at Number 4 from the 1740s and 1750s
  • New Hampshire has the highest per capita elected and appointed Libertarians, and the highest density of Libertarian Party members in the nation.
  • New Hampshire was the last of the New England states to observe Fast Day, a day of prayer for a bountiful harvest. It was a legal holiday until 1991, when it was replaced by Civil Rights Day.
  • 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 2005, all but two dozen communities in the state provided public kindergarten.
  • Like several states, New Hampshire requires all hard liquor to be sold in state-owned, state-run stores, which keep prices so low that it attracts many out-of-state customers.
  • New Hampshire is host to the New Hampshire Highland Games. New Hampshire has also registered an official tartan with the proper authorities in Scotland, used to make kilts worn by the State Police while they serve during the games.
  • Based on FBI figures, New Hampshire had the least overall crime in the nation as of 2001.
  • New Hampshire is the healthiest state in the nation, tied with Minnesota, as ranked by the United Health Foundation, 2003.
  • New Hampshire has the 4th lowest percentage of government employment in the country, following Nevada, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
  • 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 former rock formation visible from Interstate 93 in Franconia.
  • 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. 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 was the destination of the Free State Project.
    • Footnote about coastline. Official figures recognize two coastal concepts: the coastline, and the shoreline, which includes offshore islands and other features such as inlets and rivers to the head of a narrow tidewater. Pennsylvania has no saltwater coastline, but has a saltwater shoreline of 89 miles. versus 131 for New Hampshire. 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 Almanac."