New Hampshire is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and named after the southern English county of Hampshire. The state ranks 44th in land area, 46th in total area of the 50 states, and 41st in population. It became the first post-colonial sovereign nation in the Americas when it broke off from Great Britain in January 1776, and was one of the original thirteen States that founded the United States of America six months later. It was the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution, bringing that document into effect. New Hampshire was the first U.S. state to have its own state constitution, and is the only state with neither a general sales tax nor a personal income tax.
Its license plates carry the state motto: "Live Free or Die." The state nickname is "The Granite State", in reference both to its geology and to its bedrock commitment to individual liberty. Several other official nicknames exist but are rarely used.
A number of famous individuals come from New Hampshire, such as Senator Daniel Webster, editor Horace Greeley, founder of the Christian Science religion Mary Baker Eddy, author Dan Brown, singer Mandy Moore and comedians Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, and Seth Meyers. New Hampshire has produced one president, Franklin Pierce.
New Hampshire's recreational attractions include skiing and other winter sports, observing the fall foliage, summer cottages along many lakes, motor sports at the New Hampshire International Speedway, and Bike Week, a popular motorcycle rally held in Laconia in June.
New Hampshire is bounded by Quebec, Canada to the north and northwest; Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east; Massachusetts to the south; and Vermont to the west. New Hampshire's major regions are the Great North Woods, the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, the Seacoast, the Merrimack Valley, the Monadnock Region, and the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area. New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline of any U.S. state, with a length of 18 miles (29 km).
The White Mountains range in New Hampshire spans the north-central portion of the state, with Mount Washington being the tallest in the northeastern U.S., and other mountains like Mount Madison and Mount Adams surrounding it. With hurricane-force winds every third day on the average, over 100 recorded deaths among visitors, and conspicuous krumholtz (dwarf, matted trees much like a carpet of bonsai trees), the upper reaches of Mount Washington claim the title of having the "worst weather on earth." A non-profit weather observatory is located on the peak.
In the flatter southwest corner of New Hampshire, the prominent landmark Mount Monadnock, has given its name to a general class of earth-forms—a monadnock signifying, in geomorphology, any isolated resistant peak rising from a less resistant eroded plain.
Major rivers include the 110 mile (177 km) Merrimack River, which bisects the lower half of the state north-south and ends up in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Its major tributaries include the Contoocook River, Pemigewasset River, and Winnipesaukee River. The 410 mile (670 km) Connecticut River, which starts at New Hampshire's Connecticut Lakes and flows south to Connecticut, defines the western border with Vermont. Oddly, the state border is not in the center of that river, as is usually the case, but lies at the low-water mark on the Vermont side; so New Hampshire actually owns the entire river where it runs adjacent to Vermont. The "northwesternmost headwaters" of the Connecticut also define the Canadian border with New Hampshire.
The Piscataqua River and its several tributaries form the state's only significant ocean port where they flow into the Atlantic at Portsmouth. The Salmon Falls River and the Piscataqua define the southern portion of the border with Maine. The state has an ongoing boundary dispute with Maine in the area of Portsmouth Harbor, with New Hampshire claiming dominion over several islands (now known as Seavey Island) that include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as well as to the Maine towns of Kittery and Berwick.
The largest lake is Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 72 square miles (186 km²) in the east-central part of New Hampshire.
Hampton Beach is a popular local summer destination. About 10 miles (16 km) offshore are the Isles of Shoals, nine small islands (4 belonging to the state) best known as the site of a 19th century art colony founded by poet Celia Thaxter, as well as the alleged location of one of the buried treasures of the pirate Blackbeard.
It is the second-most-forested state in the country, after Maine, in terms of percentage of land covered by woods. This change was caused by the abandonment of farms during the 20th century as many farmers took wage jobs in urban areas or moved to more productive areas. The return of woodlands from open fields forms the subject of many poems by Robert Frost.
The northern third of the state is locally referred to as the "north country" or "north of the notches," in reference to White Mountain passes that channel traffic. It contains less than 5% of the state's population, suffers from relatively high poverty rates, and is losing population as the logging and paper industries decline. However, the tourist industry, in particular visitors who go to northern New Hampshire to take advantage of the winter skiing season, has helped to offset economic losses from mill closures.
New Hampshire experiences a humid continental climate, with warm, humid summers, cold, wet winters, and uniform precipitation all year. The climate of the southeastern portion of the state is moderated somewhat by the Atlantic Ocean and averages relatively milder and wetter weather, while the northern and interior portions experience relatively cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Winters are cold and snowy throughout the state, and are especially severe in the northern and mountainous areas. Average annual snowfall ranges from 60" to over 100" across the state.
Average daytime highs are generally in the mid 70s°F to low 80s°F (around 24-28 °C) throughout the state in July, with overnight lows in the mid 50s°F to low 60s°F (13-15 °C). January temperatures range from an average high of 34 °F (1 °C) on the coast to overnight lows below 0 °F (-18 °C) in the far north and at high elevations. Average annual precipitation statewide is roughly 40" with some variation occurring in the White Mountains due to differences in elevation and annual snowfall.
Extreme snow events are often associated with a nor'easter, such as the Blizzard of '78 and the Blizzard of 1993, when several feet of snow accumulated across portions of the state over a period of 24 to 48 hours. Lighter snowfall accumulations of several inches occur frequently throughout the winter months, often associated with an Alberta Clipper.
New Hampshire, on occasion, is affected by hurricanes and tropical storms although by the time they reach the state they are often extratropical, with most storms striking the southern New England coastline and moving inland or passing by offshore in the Gulf of Maine. Most of New Hampshire averages fewer than 20 days of thunderstorms per year and an average of about 2 tornadoes occur annually statewide.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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