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The Abenaki and Pennacook Indians were living in the area of New Hampshire when Europeans arrived. Exactly who were the first white men to settle the area is unknown, but general exploration began in the 1600s.
1603, Martin Pring from England explored the mouth of the Piscataqua
River. John Smith explored
the Isles of Shoals in 1614, naming them Smith’s Islands.
English King James I gave the land that now includes Maine and New Hampshire to Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason in 1622. The land was divided between the two men in 1629, Mason receiving his share between the Merrimack and Piscataqua rivers. He named it after his home county in England, Hampshire. Massachusetts bought New Hampshire in 1641, but in 1680 King Charles II again made it a separate colony.
Britain gained control of Northeastern America during the French and
Indian Wars. New laws
increasing taxes and restricting colonial trade led to the Revolutionary
War. New Hampshire was the
first colony to declare independence of Britain by establishing a
separate government on January 5, 1776.
Although none of the Revolutionary battles took place on New
Hampshire land, hundreds of “minutemen” went to Boston to fight the
British. On June 21, 1788,
New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the U.S.
Constitution, making it the law of the land.
Hampshire was against slavery and sent about 34,000 soldiers to fight
for the Union during the Civil War.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard built ships that blockaded Southern
the war, the once agricultural state began a period of industrial growth
with new businesses and factories.
Thousands of immigrants from Canada and Europe came to work in
textile, woodworking, and leather industries.
Many farmers left to claim free land in the West, creating more
of an urban New Hampshire.
World War I, Portsmouth again supplied warships.
Leather and shoe manufacturing became the state’s leading
industry. World War II, required more warships and submarines.
Military uniforms were supplied from textile mills and boots from
1944, the International Monetary Conference was held in Bretton Woods,
to help restore world trade after the war.
Representatives from 44 different countries came together and
established the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
In the 1950s, the Business Development Corporation and the Industrial Park Authority were established to aid new businesses and attract industry to New Hampshire. Today, few of the businesses in New Hampshire are textile mills or shoe factories. Computer companies and tourism are the growing industry.