Captain John Mason founded the New Hampshire colony, one of America’s first 13 colonies, in 1623. The colony was situated along the Atlantic coast in what is now New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Fishermen, hunters, and traders first established in the settlement, but it gradually became recognized for its shipbuilding and lumber businesses. Before becoming a royal colony in 1679, the colony was ruled as a proprietary colony, which meant it was controlled by a private individual or group.
The colony was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until 1679, when it became a separate province. New Hampshire was a small player in the American Revolutionary War, but it was one of the first states to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788, becoming the ninth state to do so.
New Hampshire Colony Facts
1. Founded in 1623
Captain John Mason did not officially establish the New Hampshire colony in 1623. Mason was one of the colony’s landowners, and the colony was called after the county of Hampshire in southern England, where Mason was born.
Also Read: Connecticut Colony Facts
A group of fishermen led by David Thomson established the first permanent colony in what would become New Hampshire in 1623, establishing a fishing town at the mouth of the Piscataqua River.
Originally part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the colony was legally detached and constituted as the Province of New Hampshire in 1679.
2. Original Founders Were Mostly Fishermen
The original settlers in New Hampshire were mostly fisherman, hunters, and traders. In 1623, they constructed a fishing town at the mouth of the Piscataqua River.
The colony’s location along the Atlantic coast allowed easy access to the rich fishing grounds of the North Atlantic, therefore fishing was the primary source of income for the early immigrants. The colony also had a lot of wood, which was utilized for shipbuilding and other things.
Also Read: Facts about the Rhode Island Colony
Furthermore, the colony’s position made it an excellent location for commerce with the surrounding Wabanaki Confederacy and the French in Canada. Shipbuilding and lumber industries became essential to the colony’s economy as it grew.
3. Shipbuilding and Lumber were the Major Industries
The economy of the colony was primarily centered on shipbuilding and the lumber industry. The colony’s location along the Atlantic coast allowed easy access to the North Atlantic’s abundant fishing grounds, making fishing a major source of income for the early inhabitants.
Furthermore, the colony had a lot of wood, which was used for shipbuilding and other enterprises. Because of the region’s vast resources, New Hampshire developed a powerful shipbuilding industry that manufactured ships for trade, fishing, and even the British fleet.
The shipbuilding sector also supported the economy by creating jobs. The colony also had an abundance of trees, which led to the establishment of a lumber business, which was a significant source of income.
The timber trade in the colony was actually a source of contention with the British Crown, as the Crown intended to protect the best trees for use as ship masts.
This was due to the British navy’s reliance on lumber from the American colonies for shipbuilding, and the Crown wished to secure a consistent supply of high-quality timber.
The Crown’s attempts to regulate the colony’s timber trade caused conflicts between the colony and the British government, as well as economic consequences for the colony.
4. The Puritans Were Tolerant of Other Religions
While the Puritans were a powerful religious group in New England colonies, including New Hampshire, they did not completely control the religious landscape and did not refuse to allow any faith other than their own.
In 1630, the Puritans created the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which later included sections of what is now New Hampshire. They traveled to New England in search of religious liberty and the establishment of a community based on their Puritan principles.
However, other religious organizations, including Anglicans, Quakers, and Baptists, lived in the New England colonies, especially the New Hampshire colony. While the Puritans wielded considerable political and social influence in the colonies, they did not control religious practice.
Furthermore, religious toleration in the colonies varied throughout period and by colony, although religious minorities often endured prejudice and persecution.
5. The Province of New Hampshire Became a Separate Colony in 1679
The Massachusetts Bay Province claimed the area that is now New Hampshire in 1641, although it was not legally incorporated into the colony until 1679.
The territory in question was known as the “Upper Province,” and it was ruled by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but it was not an official part of the colony.
The Province of New Hampshire became a separate colony in 1679, and it was controlled by a Royal Governor selected by the King.
It remained a separate colony until 1688, when the Dominion of New England was created and New Hampshire was returned to the Governor of Massachusetts’ control.
However, the Dominion was dissolved in 1689, and New Hampshire was re-established as a separate colony, independent of Massachusetts.
6. Captain John Mason was the first Royal Governor of the New Hampshire
Captain John Mason was appointed as the first Royal Governor of the New Hampshire colony in 1679 and served until his death in 1635.
Benning Wentworth served as governor of the New Hampshire colony from 1741 to 1766, but he was not the province’s first governor; he was the governor of the Province of New Hampshire after it became a royal colony.
He was named governor by King George II in 1741 and served until 1766. During his time, he enlarged the colony’s boundaries, provided residents land, and created the groundwork for the colony’s future economy.
7. The Colony had Many Battles With the French and the Native Peoples
From the 1680s through 1760, New Hampshire was frequently on the front lines of military battles with New France and the Abenaki people, with major attacks on its settlements occurring during King William’s War, Dummer’s War, and King George’s War.
The French and their Native American allies fought a series of colonial battles against the English colonies, including New Hampshire. New Hampshire was a border colony, and its communities were subject to French and allied attack.
These battles had an impact on the colony’s economy as well, as raids and combat hindered trade and harmed the colony’s infrastructure. Leaders and settlers in the colony had to be prepared for these confrontations and take defensive measures to safeguard their villages from invasions.
The New Hampshire Militia was crucial in safeguarding the colony’s towns and, in some circumstances, fighting in the wars.
8. New Hampshire Approved its Own State Constitution in 1784
New Hampshire was one of thirteen colonies that banded together to oppose British Parliament attempts to impose taxes on the colonies without their approval.
The American Revolutionary War began in April 1775 as a result of this opposition. New Hampshire was an active participant in the war effort, recruiting battalions for the Siege of Boston and subsequent conflicts.
During the war, the colony created its own government and became the State of New Hampshire in January 1776.
As a result, during the American Revolution, New Hampshire became the first former European colony to formally create an independent government.
In 1784, the fledgling state of New Hampshire approved its own state constitution, and in 1788, it became the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
9. New Hampshire Men Fought in Both the Northern and Southern Wars
Throughout the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire troops took part in numerous engagements and campaigns.
New Hampshire produced many regiments of soldiers who participated in a variety of conflicts, including some of the war’s most significant battles.
They were crucial at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Battle of Long Island, the Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Newport, the Battle of Monmouth, and the Battle of Yorktown.
New Hampshire men fought in both the Northern and Southern wars, and some even served in the Continental Navy. New Hampshire troops also assisted in the defense of forts and the security of coastal communities.
They also helped with the construction of defenses and supply transportation. New Hampshire’s soldiers were instrumental in achieving American freedom, and their sacrifices were important to the success of the revolutionary cause.
10. New Hampshire and New York Disputed the Land Around the Connecticut River
The territory surrounding the Connecticut River has long been the source of contention between New Hampshire and New York.
The conflict arose because New Hampshire claimed the area west of the Connecticut River to the Hudson River, while New York claimed the region east of the Connecticut River.
The two colonies’ territorial conflict was founded in their charters. The charter of New Hampshire provided it all land between the Merrimack and Piscataqua Rivers, whereas the charter of New York granted it all land west of the Connecticut River.
The controversy was never settled during the colonial era, and it persisted even after the foundation of the new United States of America.
This disagreement was finally settled in the early nineteenth century when the United States government created the current line between the two states.