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April 22. 2011 1:56PM

New Hampshire Facts

Origin of State Name

New Hampshire was named for the colony of Hampshire, England by Captain John Mason.

State Seal

New Hampshire state seal: Several symbols make up the state seal. In the center is a broadside view of the frigate 'Raleigh,' in the foreground is a granite boulder, and in the background is a rising sun. A laurel wreath and the words, 'Seal of the State of New Hampshire,' surround the seal.

Emblem

New Hampshire state emblem

Flag

New Hampshire state flag

For more facts and official state symbols, please visit our State Symbols page.

Motto

Live Free or Die. The motto comes from a statement written by the Revolutionary General John Stark, hero of the Battle of Bennington.

The motto was part of a volunteer toast which General Stark sent to his wartime comrades, in which he declined an invitation to head up a 32nd anniversary reunion of the 1777 Battle of Bennington in Vermont, because of poor health. The toast said in full: "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils." The following year, a similar invitation (also declined) said: "The toast, sir, which you sent us in 1809 will continue to vibrate with unceasing pleasure in our ears, "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils."

It was the 1945 Legislature that gave New Hampshire its official motto and emblem, as World War II approached a successful end.

Nicknames

New Hampshire has 4 nicknames. The first is the one by which the state is commonly known.

Granite State

For our extensive granite formations and quarries

Mother of Rivers

For the rivers of New England that originate in our Mountains

White Mountain State

For the White Mountain Range

Switzerland of America

For our beautiful mountain scenery

Capitol

Concord is the seat of New Hampshire government. It is centrally located in the state on the Merrimack River.

Top 5 Commerce Centers

Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth and Salem

Statehood

New Hampshire became the 9th state on June 21, 1788. It was one of the original 13 colonies.

Population

1,315,000 (2008 estimates)

Population Density

Approximately 146.7 per square mile

Local Government

New Hampshire has 10 counties, 13 municipalities, 221 towns and 22 unincorporated places.

Geographic information

Land mass

The total area of the state is 9,304 sq miles (24,097 sq km), comprising 9,027 sq miles (23,380 sq km) of land and 277 sq miles (717 sq km) of inland water. It ranks as seventh smallest U.S. state.

Location

New Hampshire is located in northeastern United States. The state is bordered on the north by the Canadian province of Quebec; on the east by Maine and the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by Massachusetts; and the on the west by Vermont.

Geographic center

New Hampshire's geographic center lies in Belknap county, 3 miles (5 km) east of the town of Ashland.

Water mass

New Hampshire has 1,300 lakes or ponds and about 40 rivers with a total milage of about 41,800 miles. The coastline is 18-miles long and the shortest of any New England state.

Elevation

The highest point is Mount Washington at 6,288 feet (1,918 m); lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean at sea level; approximate mean elevation is 1,000 feet (305 m).

Climate

New Hampshire has a changeable climate, with wide variations in daily and seasonal temperatures. The variations are affected by proximity to the ocean, mountains, lakes or rivers. The state enjoys all four seasons. Our summers are short and cool; winters are long and cold; fall is glorious with foliage. The weather station on Mount Washington has recorded some of the coldest temperatures and strongest winds in the continental United States.

Flora

New Hampshire is heavily forested with an abundance of elm, maple, beech, oak, pine, hemlock and fir trees. Mount Washington features rare alpine plants such as Greenland sandwort, Labrador tea, alpine bearberry, dwarf cinquefoil and dwarf birch, willow and balsam fir.

Fauna

Among native New Hampshire mammals are the white-tailed deer, muskrat, beaver, porcupine and snowshoe hare. Threatened animals include the pine marten, arctic tern, purple martin, peregrine falcon, whip-por-will and osprey. The karner blue butterfly, lynx, bald eagle, shortnose sturgeon, Sunapee trout, Atlantic salmon and dwarf wedge mussel are on the State's endangered species list.


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