New Hampshire, our quiet little neighbor to the North, rarely makes waves. In fact, the Granite State is one of the most commonly forgotten by citizens asked to name all fifty states. But don’t let their quiet, unassuming facade fool you! The people of New Hampshire have played vital roles in many of America’s greatest achievements. Here are 10 things accomplished in NH before anywhere else in the USA.
1. They Were the First to Establish an Independent Government from England
It is widely believed that New Hampshire was the first state to declare its independence from England. However, this distinction actually belongs to Rhode Island. In 1776 New Hampshire became the first colony to set up an independent government and the first to establish a constitution. Their original constitution expressly stated, “we never sought to throw off our dependence on Great Britain.”
2. They Are First to Vote in Presidential Primaries
The New Hampshire primaries are held prior to any other state in the Nation, making it a key state during election times. The town of Dixville Notch is known for being one of the first places to declare its results during United States presidential elections and the New Hampshire primary.
3. They Hosted The First International Peace Treaty
Russia and Japan signed the first peace treaty in America in Portsmouth, NH on January 5, 1905. The two sides met there, on neutral turf, at the urging of President Theodore Roosevelt who won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
4. They Sent the First Man Into Space
Born and raised in Derry, NH, Alan Shepard grew up to become the first man to launch into space on May 5, 1961.
5. They Were First to Send a Private Citizen into Space
Concord school teacher, Christa McAuliffe was on board the historical and ill-fated launch of the Challenger shuttle when it broke apart 73 seconds into its flight on January 28, 1986.
6. They Established the First Credit Union
St. Mary’s Bank opened in Manchester, NH in 1908 and is still operating today.
7. They Created the First Statewide Lottery
The New Hampshire Sweepstakes began in 1964 and paved the way for the massively successful state lotteries across the country.
8. They Invented the Internal Combustion Engine
Samuel Morey of Orford, NH is credited with revolutionizing waterway travel. He invented the internal combustion engine in 1793, which eventually led to him building the first steam ship.
9. They Created A Better Way To Wake Up
Thanks to Concord native, Levi Hutchins, folks no longer have to wake up at dawn when the rooster crows. Hutchins invented the very first alarm clock in 1787.
10. They Formed the First American Ski Club
Love hitting the slopes? The first American ski club – Nansen Ski Club – was formed in Berlin, NH in 1882.