New Hampshire is one of the New England states and is also called the Granite State due to its many stone quarries. At the same time, that name reflects the preserving of tradition and the history of an economical government. The state has no general sales tax or state income tax, which corresponds with the states motto "Live Free or Die." The state was named after the English county of Hampshire. The biggest cities are the capital Concord, Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Portsmouth.
New Hampshire borders the Canadian province Quebec in the North and Northwest, and the state of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean in the East. New Hampshire's 29 km (18 miles) coast line is the shortest of all the coastal states. In the South it borders to on Massachusetts and on Vermont in the West. The states main attractions are the White Mountain National Forest and Lake Winnipesauke.
The first settlers came to New Hampshire in 1623, only three years after the first pilgrims arrived in the area that later became Massachusetts. John Mason, who was granted the land by King Charles I in 1629, named it after the English county of Hampshire. In 1776 New Hampshire was the first of all colonies to have its own constitution. During the War of Independence, most of the people fought on the side of the patriots. At the Battle of Bennington (Vermont) and of New Hampshire, their troops decisively defeated the British. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire signed the US Constitution. With the exception of the year 1804, in which the majority of the population voted for the Democratic presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson, New Hampshire's national policies were consistently federalist. After that, the Democrats started taking over by winning elections in the state as well as the national elections. In 1855 they lost their power to a third part, the Know-Nothings. One year before the elections took place the American Civil War saw the emergence of a reform movement in New Hampshire that demanded moderation and the abolition of slavery.
In the second half of the 19th century, large numbers of French-Canadians immigrated into the state, which changed the predominant ethnic composition of the population - it had been mainly English and Scottish/Irish up to that point. Since then, New Hampshire developed from an agricultural to an industrial society. New Hampshire has a very small mining industry. The most important natural resources are granite, sand, flint, gemstones and muscovite. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 28 percent of GNP. The most important products include industrial machinery, precision instruments, electronic equipment, rubber and plastic, printing products, paper products, primary metals, and clothing and fabrics. The agricultural sector is small and almost half of the annual agricultural income derives from sales of livestock and livestock products. Real GDP per capita was $37,666 in 2006, which is the 17th place in the national ranking.