The Flag Of New Hampshire: History, Meaning, And Symbolism

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: June 2, 2023
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Did you know New Hampshire has a rich history connected to the slave trade? This explains why its motto is ” Live Free or Die.” New Hampshire is a state within the New England region of the northeastern United States and is relatively small in size and population. The state was also part of the 13 colonies that kicked against British rule during the American revolution.

New Hampshire is uniquely positioned, surrounded by Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Massachusetts to the south, and Quebec, Canada, to the north and northwest. Being a part of the 50 states in the United States, New Hampshire is the fifth smallest in size and the tenth least populated, with about 1.3 million inhabitants. The state capital is Concord, while the largest city is Manchester.

The area is popular for extensive granite formations and quarries, which has earned it the nickname “The Granite State.” New Hampshire has been home to Algonquian-speaking people such as the Abenika for thousands of years.

The state played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War, and the state’s history can be traced back to Englishmen who settled in the area. Find out more below, including everything you need to know about the history, meaning, and symbolism of the state’s flag!

Founding Of New Hampshire

The history of New Hampshire traces back to 1623, the story revolving around Captain John Mason and a host of others working under the authority of an English land grant. These men sent David Thompson, who was Scottish, and Edward and Thomas Hilton, who were London fish merchants, to establish a fishing colony around the Piscataqua River, which has evolved to become New Hampshire.

Thomson set up a division at the river’s mouth in an area called Pannaway or Little Habor, now known as the town of Rye. On the other hand, the Hilton brothers set up a division eight miles away in an area called Northam, later known as Dover. 

Nine years before this time, Captain John Smith of England had sailed across this area and was impressed by its serene environment. He wrote about the region, which inspired other Englishmen to set up shop in the territory now known as New Hampshire. Therefore, New Hampshire did not start based on war but as an event planned by the English crown. In effect, a colonization project began, with King James the First supplying provision and ships to the area on the condition that it would always remain the subject of English sovereignty. This agreement lasted until the War of the Revolution. The region was named New Hampshire by Captain John Mason after his hometown in England. Unfortunately, as much as Captain Mason played a huge role in the development of New Hampshire, he died in England without getting a chance to see it.

Between 1641 and 1679, the New Hampshire area was under the rulership of the colonial government of Massachusetts up until its separation in 1679. It took a little while before New Hampshire declared independence, and in January 1776, it established its state government.

Characteristics Of New Hampshire

New Hampshire is an industrial hub with several textile mills.

© Carmichael

New Hampshire features the forested White Mountains, part of which is Mount Washington, New England’s highest point. The eastern part of New Hampshire has several hills and lake regions, such as the hilly Merricark Valley, Lake Winnipesaukee, Connecticut River Valley, and Mount Monadnock. Besides that, New Hampshire is rich with wildlife, such as raccoons, moose, white-tailed deer, and Eastern red bats. The area is also blessed with birds, as well as reptiles and amphibians, salamanders, bullfrogs, painted turtles, black race snakes, and American toads.

The state is an industrial hub with several textile mills, which has improved the influx of immigrants from Ireland and Quebec. These industries are involved in the production of shoes, textiles, and other leather goods. Overall, New Hampshire is among the seven wealthiest states in the US, thanks to its low poverty and unemployment rate. 

History Of The Flag Of New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s first official flag was adopted in 1909.


Although New Hampshire has had several regimental flags, its first official flag was adopted in 1909. It comprised a blue field with New Hampshire’s state seal encircled by laurel leaves and nine stars. Since the adoption of this first flag, New Hampshire has changed its flag only once, in 1931. Even then, only minimal adjustments were made to the State Seal, not the entire flag design. This is New Hampshire’s flag to date.

The Symbolism Of The Flag Of New Hampshire

The blue field on New Hampshire’s flag represents the state seal floating on water.

© Liskonih

New Hampshire’s current flag design consists of a blue field with the State Seal at its center. This seal consists of a frigate Raleigh and a granite boulder, all surrounded by laurel leaves and nine stars. 

The blue field represents the state seal floating on water. Then, the nine stars represent New Hampshire’s position as the 9th state to ratify the constitution and become a part of the union. The laurel leaves/wreath signifies honor, victory, and fame. 

Finally, and most importantly, there’s the frigate Raleigh, which is one of the three warships financed by the Continental Congress for the American Navy. It was built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1776. Essentially, Portsmouth was a major center for shipbuilding during the American Revolution war. There’s also a boulder in the state seal, which represents New Hampshire’s rugged terrain which earned it the name ‘The Granite State.’

Where Is New Hampshire Located On A Map?

New Hampshire is located in New England, in the northeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south and Maine to the east as well as Vermont and Quebec, Canada to the west and northwest.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ilnitckii


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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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