The first people to inhabit the geographic region now known as New Hampshire arrive 10,000 years ago, after glaciers retreat and climates warm. During the thousands of years before European arrival, Native Americans living in the region include the Abenaki and Pennacook tribes. Diseases brought by European explorers and settlers eventually kill 95 percent of the Native Americans in New Hampshire. The remaining tribes flee to Vermont and Canada under pressure from settlers.
1600-1678 EARLY EUROPEAN EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT
The first recorded visit to New Hampshire takes place when English sea captain Martin Pring explores the shoreline and interior. Pring is given permission by Sir Walter Raleigh for a trading expedition to explore the islands, rivers, and harbors of New England.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain sails along the New England coast.
Captain John Smith maps the coast of New England.
David Thomson and a small group of colonists settled Dover, making it the first permanent European settlement in New Hampshire.
John Mason receives a grant of land between the Merrimac and the Piscataqua under the name of New Hampshire, named after the English county of Hampshire.
The Massachusetts Colony gains control of New Hampshire.
The first recorded slave in New Hampshire comes to Portsmouth.
1679-1774 NEW HAMPSHIRE COLONY
England establishes New Hampshire as a separate royal colony.
New Hampshire enacts its first law, requiring schools be erected in all towns with fifty or more households.
New Hampshire unites with other American colonies to form the Dominion of New England.
The warship Falkland is constructed for the British Navy in Portsmouth, helping to create a shipbuilding industry that would continue in the area until the 1960s.
The first potatoes grown in the U.S. are planted at Londonderry Common Field.
The Great Awakening, a period of religious revival and heightened religious activity, occurs in New Hampshire.
A royal commission creates the eastern and southern boundaries of New Hampshire.
The French and Indian War begins over land disputes. Great Britain emerges victorious in 1763, and France gives up its land east of the Mississippi River.
A royal order establishes the Connecticut River as the western boundary of New Hampshire.
The first summer resort in America is established at Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, when Royal Governor John Wentworth builds his summer home there.
A Congregational minister founds Dartmouth College by using funds raised by the efforts of Native American preacher Samson Occom. One of the nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution, its initial mission is to "Christianize" the Native Americans in the area.
1774-1800 REVOLUTIONARY NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire becomes the first state to declare independence from England.
Paul Revere rides to Portsmouth to warn citizens of New Hampshire of a potential British Army landing. As a result, patriots raid Fort William and Mary and steal the gunpowder stored there. The incident becomes known as the Powder Raid and helped supply the ammunition needed by the Continental Army for the Battle of Bunker Hill a few months later.
The first act of rebellion against the British occurs when Patriots seize the fort at New Castle. As a result, New Hampshire delegates are the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence.
(July 18) The Declaration of Independence is read on the State House’s western steps.
New Hampshire adopts a revolutionary constitution.
New Hampshire is the first state to hold a constitutional convention.
The Temple Glass Factory is founded by Robert Hewes in an early attempt to manufacture bottles and window glass. This marks the beginning of the glass-making industry in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is the first state to require that the public approve the state constitution.
Women are denied the right to vote in New Hampshire’s constitution, which is the second in the country.
Levi Hutchins of Concord invents the first alarm clock, never bothering to patent or mass-produce his invention. He believes that New Englanders must wake at 4am, no matter the season, and so is compelled to invent a device to awaken him at that exact hour.
(June 21) New Hampshire becomes the 9th state when it ratifies the U.S. Constitution. The state casts the deciding vote putting the Constitution into effect.
(January 25) New Hampshire is the 5th state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
Public opinion and the threat of an anti-slavery demonstration among residents of Portsmouth thwarts President Washington’s multiple attempts to recover his runaway slave, Ona Maria Judge. Judge settles in Greenland, New Hampshire.
1800-1899 INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND THE CIVIL WAR ERA
tPortsmouth Naval Shipyard, now the oldest continuously operating shipyard in the U.S, is established.
The first cotton mill opens in New Hampshire in New Ipswich. Cotton becomes one of the first products to be manufactured in New England on a large scale.
The state capital is established in Concord.
The granite industry begins in Concord using contracted prison labor. Concord would become the greatest producer of granite in New England.
Portsmouth’s foreign trade is disrupted as a result of trade embargoes enacted during the War of 1812.
Four hundred girls and women working at the Dover Cotton Factory walk out, enacting the first women’s strike in the U.S. The women are forced to give in when the mill owners immediately advertise for replacement workers.
Settlers between Indian Stream and Hall’s Stream set up an independent Republic of Indian Stream. The area is yielded to New Hampshire in 1836.
Abolitionists from Dartmouth College found the interracial Noyes Academy in Canaan. classes commence with 28 white students and 14 African-American students. A few months later, opponents drag the school away using 100 oxen before lighting it on fire to protest integrated education.
The first railroad in New Hampshire connects Nashua to Lowell, Massachusetts.
New Hampshire’s northern border is fixed by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which sets the international line between Canada and the U.S.
John Gage’s machine shop in Nashua opens. It is considered the first shop devoted to the manufacturing of machinist tools in the country.
The Civil War begins. New Hampshire sends more than 30,000 men for service in the Union army.
New Hampshire’s 18th Regiment leads Union troops into Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War. The Confederate capital falls to the Union.
Farms now occupy 62 percent of New Hampshire land. Tobacco farming increases from 50 pounds in 1850 to 155,334 pounds in 1870.
1900-1929 EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Nine conservationists form The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the first forest conservation advocacy group in the U.S.
Portsmouth is host to the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, making New Hampshire the only state to ever host the formal conclusion of a foreign war.
Monsignor Pierre Hevey organizes the nation’s first credit union in Manchester to help mill workers save and borrow money.
Bill passes to protest the big rivers of New Hampshire by creating forest reserves at their headwaters.
The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company becomes the world’s largest textile producer, employing 15,000 workers. Thirty-one factories produce 147,000 miles of cloth. World War I would increase global demand for Amoskeag textiles.
New Hampshire holds its first primary, voting for delegates to attend the National Convention. The primary is held on the second Tuesday in March to make it easy for rural residents who plow the fields in April and May.
(September 10) New Hampshire is the 16th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Almost 300 suspected New Hampshire communists and radicals are arrested under the Red Scare as part of Attorney General Palmer’s nationwide raids on suspected communists and agitators.
1930-1950 THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND WORLD WAR II
The Great Depression and growing competition from southern mills hits the textile industry hard. Mills begin closing across the state, with the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company shuttering in 1936.
Earl Tupper of Berlin, New Hampshire, invents Tupperware and founds the Tupper Plastics Company.
Twenty-six men die when the U.S.S. Squalus submarine sinks in 240 feet of water off the coast of Portsmouth during routine sea trials.
World War II contributes to leather and shoe manufacturing becoming New Hampshire’s leading industries. Military uniforms are supplied from textile mills, and boots are made in the shoe factories. Portsmouth supplies warships.
The International Monetary Conference is held in Bretton Woods to help restore world trade after World War II. Representatives from 44 countries establish the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
(May 7) German U-Boats from World War II surrender at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the largest American submarine base.
1950-PRESENT MODERN NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary election. It will become one of the most important states in the primary election process.
New Hampshire adopts the first legal lottery of the 20th century with the purpose of raising revenue for education.
Ralph Baer of Sanders Associates recruits engineers to develop the first home video game.
The town of Durham successfully fights off an attempt by Governor Meldrim Thomson and Aristotle Onassis to build an oil refinery at Durham Point.
New Hampshire has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation. Computer companies and tourism become the largest growing industries in the state.
Christa McAuliffe, a Concord schoolteacher, is scheduled to become the "first teacher in space" after she wins NASA’s Teacher in Space program and joins the Challenger shuttle crew. Tragically, the shuttle explodes shortly after lift-off, killing all on board.
Concord’s last remaining granite company becomes the largest producer of granite in North America
The first female governor of New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen, is elected.
The Episcopal Church consecrates the first openly gay bishop, Reverend Gene Robinson Sunday, as bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese.
(June 3) New Hampshire becomes the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages.
Click to enlarge an image
1603: Sir Walter Raleigh, writer, poet, soldier, courtier and explorer
1629: The English county of Hampshire
1740: New Hampshire Colony
1756: A British strategic map for the French and Indian War
1769: Shield of Dartmouth College
1774: Paul Revere's ride
1776: Dwelling in the town of New Castle
1787: An icon of the twentieth century, descended from Levi Hutchins' invention
1788: First page of United States Constitution
1800: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
1808: The Walker-Woodman House, built in 1735, the oldest house in Concord
1842: President Tyler's ratification of the Webster Ashburton Treaty
1845: Tremont House in Nashua
1905: Negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth
1905: HMS Victory in dry dock in Portsmouth
1912: Amoskeag Manufacturing Company
1920 Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer
1966: Ralph Baer, German-American video game pioneer, receiving the National Medal of Technology from president George W. Bush in 2007.