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New Hampshire State History

New Hampshire is in the New England region of the United States.

It played an important role in American history as it was one of the thirteen colonies that rebelled against Britain in the American Revolution.

Related: New Hampshire State Facts

Seal Of New Hampshire

Indigenous populations

Many Algonquin speaking peoples of the Abenaki tribes lived in the area before European settlers arrived.

Historians say that the people who lived here had very different cultures to their neighbours.

New Hampshire State Coat Of Arms

The Abenaki peoples lived in the Quebec region of Canada and New England in the United States.

These area was called Wabanahkik, which means “Dawn Land.” The Abenaki belong to a confederacy of five groups called the Wabanaki Confederacy.

Related: Native Americans

Wabanaki Wigwam With Birch Bark Covering

The first settlement

The first explorers in New Hampshire were from England and France. They visited the region now called New Hampshire between the years of 1600 and 1605.

In 1623, a man called David Thompson founded a settlement at Odiorne’s Point. The first permanent settlement was Hilton’s Point.

This later became the city of Dover.

Odiorne Point

By 1631, there were many settlements. These settlements were grouped together into “the Upper Province”.

In 1679, this became “the Royal Province.” It was made up of present-day Dover, Durham and Stratham.

Southern Ontario Mapped

A man called John Mason legally founded the colony itself.

It was called New Hampshire after the English county of Hampshire. Hampshire was named after the city of Southampton, which used to be called “Hampton.”

New Hampshire Historical Marker For John Mason

Massachusetts and New Hampshire used to be united until King Charles II separated them and created the royal Province of New Hampshire.

Related: Famous King Facts for Kids


Slavery in New Hampshire

Slavery was a big part of the history of New Hampshire.

Despite other states ending the slave trade, New Hampshire would not pass any laws against slavery until 1857.

Even when slavery was abolished, the New Hampshire economy relied on products from the slave states. Slave ships, such as the Nightingale of Boston, were also built in New Hampshire.


This particular ship was captured by the African Slave Trade Patrol in 1861. The African Slave Trade Patrol were an organisation who tried to stop the Atlantic Slave Trade.

They operated between 1818 and the Civil War in 1861. Finding this ship from New Hampshire proves that New Hampshire’s economy was still connected to the Atlantic Slave Trade, which continued in secret long after it was supposed to end.


New Hampshire was one of thirteen colonies that rebelled against the British in the American Revolution.

The rebel colonies defeated Britain in the revolutionary war in 1775-1783.

Col Edward E Cross

During the American Civil War, New Hampshire provided many troops. The most famous was the 5th new Hampshire Volunteer Infantry who were led by Colonel Edward Ephraim Cross.

The newspapers at the time gave them the nickname “the Fighting Fifth.”

They were thought to be the Union’s best.

New Hampshire after 1860

At one time, there were many jobs and opportunities in the New Hampshire region. This meant that New Hampshire attracted a lot of migrants from French-speaking Canada and also from countries like Poland.

Polish flag

The region was very prosperous (wealthy) when the textile industry was thriving. In the 1920s and 1930s, two major textile mills closed in the city of Manchester and also in Nashua (1949).

This was because of the Great Depression, when the economy crashed. It was difficult for New Hampshire to recover.

After the Second World War, New Hampshire’s textile industry was replaced by digital and electronic industries.

Mount Adams Nh From Madison


Who lived in the region first?

When was New Hampshire founded?

Where was New Hampshire named after?


What was New Hampshire famous for in the American Revolution?

Why did many people migrate to New Hampshire in the nineteenth-century?

US State History