The Granite State is located in the North Eastern corner of the United States. There are some very interesting and fascinating facts about New Hampshire that may or may not be well known to the general public. The aim of this article is to try and highlight those amazing facts about New Hampshire.
Perhaps the first and oldest of these facts has to do with its political history. New Hampshire was the first post-colonial state to gain sovereignty in both North and South America. New Hampshire had declared independence from the colonial Great Britain in January 1776 around the period of the American Revolution. It later joined 12 other colonies to form the original thirteen colonies that will later progress into the 50 United States of America. It is also heart-warming to know that New Hampshire is the first state to have its own constitution. New Hampshire seems to have a lot of firsts.
In geographical and demographical terms, there are also some quite fascinating things to learn about the state. New Hampshire has a total area of over 24,000 km, and it has the shortest coastline of any of the coastal state with its tiny coastline running a length of almost 30 km. One of the most famous geological features in the world, the Old Man of the Mountain was situated in the state before the unfortunate disintegration in the middle of 2003. The wonderful thing about this feature was that it resembles the jagged profile of an old man’s face when viewed from certain angles. It also has one of the smallest state populations in the country with its 1.3 million inhabitants.
Moving to other matters, such as the economy, the state is unique in its style of taxation. The state has a property tax (one of the highest in the country) which is under the control and supervision of the local municipal council. There are no general taxes on sales or even income. However, tolls collected on the state’s highways, taxes on food, vehicles, investment and business income are considerably lower than in other states. The state has been rated almost the highest in terms of the burden of tax on citizens!
Apart from the popular Granite State nickname (which signifies the presence of extensive granite formation and quarries), the state has some other obscure nicknames. These include ‘Mother of Rivers’ which signifies the origin of the rivers of the New England region from the high mountains of New Hampshire. It is also called the White Mountain State because of the grandiose White Mountain Range and it is also known as the Switzerland of America because of the splendid mountains of the state. Perhaps one of the most fascinating facts of the about the state is its motto “Live free or die.” It was coined by the war hero, General John Stark.
The USA is a nation of vibrant and sports-loving people. The country is littered with millions of ardent sports followers. Most are devoted to a particular sport; some others are not choosy when it comes to sports while another category just engage in or watch sports for the sheer fun of it. The state of New Hampshire is not left out of this national frenzy. The state has a very vivacious sporting tradition.
New Hampshire is a strong base for many types of sporting activities. Sports such as baseball, car-racing, rugby, ice hockey, basketball and soccer are well-represented. In baseball, one of the most vibrant teams in the region is the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a minor league team based in the city of Manchester. It plays in the Eastern League and is an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. In the past, it was affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies. The Fisher Cats, which plays at the Merchants Auto Stadium, did the state proud in 2004 when it won the Eastern League Championships. Other baseball teams include the Manchester Silkworms, Nashua Pride, Keene Swamp Bats and Concord Quarry Dogs.
Also, car-racing is a favourite and popular pastime for the people of the state. New Hampshire is the site of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (formerly known as the New Hampshire International Speedway). The Speedway which is more than a mile in length has been used for various national motorsports championships like the NASCAR Cup Series, the Indy Car Series and the Champ Car. The facilities of the Speedway are of world-class standard. Apart from being a venue for racing competitions, the Speedway has put the state on the world map of automobile racing.
In hockey, the Manchester Monarchs have never ceased to fly the flag of the state high. The team is a professional one with the American Hockey League. It is in the Atlantic Division and is based in Manchester. The team plays its matches at the Verizon Wireless Arena, situated on the famous Elm Street. Affiliates of the team are the Ontario Reign and the Los Angeles Kings. The team emerged 1st in the Atlantic Division in the 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 seasons. In that game invented by James Naismith, i.e. the much-loved basketball, there is the Saint John Mill Rats in the Premier Basketball League. The team was formerly referred to as Manchester Mill Rats and has been described by various commentators as a compact, disciplined and highly-mobile team. Like the Manchester Monarchs, it is also based in Manchester.
Also based in the ‘sports capital’ of Manchester is the New Hampshire Phantoms, an American soccer team. It plays in the USL Premier Development League (PDL) and it is grouped in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. The team has an impressive record of triumph as demonstrated by its winning the USL Pro Select League Northern Division Championships in 2004. Without any iota of doubt, the state of New Hampshire is highly recommended to all adherents of sports. In this small but mighty state, sports have not only been given a new definition, but a new life as well.
New Hampshire comes across as small in a lot of ways. It is small in population and even in landmass. In fact, it has the shortest coastline of any of the coastal states of the United States. Knowing all these, one may be tempted to cast off the state as dull, boring and maybe uninteresting. But nothing can be farther from the truth than this. This brings to mind that saying of not judging a book by its cover. The same thing applies here, New Hampshire should never be judged based on its deceitfully Lilliputian dimension. This state is sure full of interesting sites and places. Let’s go on a voyage to the state where we either “Live free or die.”
A visit to New Hampshire can be started at any of the amazing sites, but because of the multiplicity of the alternatives available, we will have to settle for the scenic White Mountain National Forest. This vast expanse of forestland is under the management of the Federal government is the only one of its kind in New Hampshire. A peculiar advantage of the forest is that it is close to major cities. With almost 2000 km of hiking trail, the national forest is ideal for hiking. Other recreational activities that one can engage in include skiing in its large ski grounds and camping activities can be organized for scouts, scientists, tourists and adventurers at the camping grounds.
Outside the White Mountain National Forest, a trip to that wonderful lake of New Hampshire will be an appropriate sequel. Lake Winnipesaukee (meaning smile of the Great Spirit in Winnipesaukee tongue) is one of largest lakes in the USA and it is the largest in New Hampshire. This lake contains almost 300 islands that are excellent for human habitation and settlement. Some of these islands are Bear Island, Governors Island, Rattlesnake Island, Whortleberry Island and Three Mile Island. The enchanting attraction of this lake is irresistible for a lot of people, including presidents!
Apart from the two areas mentioned above, there is also the Monadnock Region in the southern part of the state. This region is apparently named after the 3200 feet tall Mount Monadnock. Another thing about this mount is that it is reputed to be among the most climbed mountains in the world. From the top of this majestic piece of nature, one can enjoy astounding views of the state and neighbouring ones like Vermont and Massachusetts. Luckily enough, the mount is not too difficult to climb unlike others like Mount Washington.
For the arts-inclined, New Hampshire has a special place just for you. That is the legendary Currier Museum of Art. This Museum features some of the best artworks from Europe and South America. Such works are paintings, sculptures, decorations and others. Some of the American artists on display include William Beard and Will Barnett while there are works of some of other contemporary artists like Jennifer Bartlett and Adolph Gottlieb. Thus, from wonders of nature to masterpieces of art, New Hampshire sure has them all.
New Hampshire has seen a lot in its centuries of existence. The good, the bad and the ugly have all played themselves out at different periods of time. Although history progresses steadily on its course, one feature that keeps recurring in the history of this tiny but mighty state is the tenacity, determination and perseverance displayed by its people. The long history of the state can be traced back to the period before the coming of the English colonialists. Then, the area now called New Hampshire was inhabited by thousands of Native American Indians. These include the Pennacook and the Winnipesaukee of the very rich Algonquian culture. Their contact with the English sparked off a series of battles, epidemics and migration which eventually led to a drastic reduction in their numbers.
From the 17th century downwards, the area was annexed by Britain. As a matter of fact, the state was named after the county of Hampshire in England. The Granite State was one of the original thirteen colonies and it demonstrated its doggedness during the American Revolution when the colonies revolted violently against their British colonial masters. Taking its audacity to greater heights in January 1776, New Hampshire became the first state in the US to declare its independence. Shortly after the declaration of independence, state citizens raided Forts William and Mary, making away with the gunpowder in the store. This happening was to be known as the Powder Raid. During the Revolution, New Hampshire participated actively in resisting the British forces; troops from the state were of strategic importance in the Battle of Bunker Hill, Saratoga Campaign, Battle of Bennington and the Battle of Rhode Island. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the state played a very active role.
After the perilous years of the wars, there was to come a period of economic prosperity. This continued until the time of the Great Depression and the First World War (1914-1918). Various sections of economic meltdown were badly affected. Sectors like these were that of textiles and manufacturing. After the Second World War (1938-1945), the state started to witness a boom in the economic growth. There were also rapid leaps in industrial development and road network.
Really, a lot of events happened over the centuries, and in the 19th century, the following events were recorded. In 1833, the first library in the United States is founded in the city of Peterborough. Franklin Pierce from Hillsboro, New Hampshire became the 14th president of the United States in 1853. Up till today, Pierce is the only president to have emerged from the Granite State. The 20th century was also full of similar events. There was the surrender of German war boats in the Second World War. It has been clear so far that the state of New Hampshire has a very rich history. There are lots of lessons to be learnt from the history of this small state. It has seen the lows and highs during its period of existence. Some of the lessons to be learnt include that of service, persistence and steadfastness.