New Hampshire Firsts
Populated by Native American tribes for thousands of years and colonized by the British in 1623, New Hampshire is a land of many firsts—from the first citizen to become U.S. Attorney General (Samuel Shelburne, in 1789) to the first American in space (Alan Shepard, in 1961).
- The first-in-the-nation Presidential primary election is held in the Granite State every four years. Until the 1992 elections, no candidate had ever won the Presidency without first winning in New Hampshire.
- In 1775, New Hampshire became the first state to declare its independence from England.
- In 1788, New Hampshire became "the state that made us a nation." By being the ninth of the original 13 colonies to ratify the new U.S. Constitution, New Hampshire made the two-thirds majority, making the Constitution official.
- New Hampshire's General Court—the fourth largest, English-speaking legislative body in the world— meets in the oldest original legislative quarters in the nation, the State House in Concord.
- In 1905, New Hampshire Governor John McLane welcomed the delegates to the first peace conference in the United States between two foreign powers—Russia and Japan—to Portsmouth. When the two signed the Treaty of Portsmouth on September 5, 1905, that was the first international peace treaty signed on U.S. soil.
- When President Theodore Roosevelt earned the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end the Russo-Japanese War, he was the first American to win a Nobel and the first American President (of just three to date) to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
- In 1793, Samuel Morey of Orford invented the internal combustion engine and built the first steamship in the United States.
- The first American in space, Alan Shepard, was born in Derry, New Hampshire. His historic flight was made in 1961.
- The first private citizen in the history of space flight was Christa McAuliffe, a Concord schoolteacher. After her death in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a planetarium was built in her honor in Concord.
- Wolfeboro became the first summer resort in America, when the summer home of Royal Governor John Wentworth was built in 1767.
- In 1963 New Hampshire adopted the first legal state lottery in the United States.
- The first commissioned naval officer in the United States was Captain Hopley Yeaton of New Castle, who was commissioned in 1791.
- John Langdon of New Hampshire was named the first President Pro-Tem of the U.S. Senate in 1789.
- Samuel Shelburne of Portsmouth was the first Attorney General of the United States. He was named to the post in 1789.
- Levi Hutchins of Concord invented the first alarm clock in 1787. It only rang at 4 a.m., the time he got up.
- The first patent for an artificial leg belonged to Benjamin Palmer of Meredith, who patented the Palmer Leg in 1846.
- The Nansen Ski Club, the first ski club in the country, was formed in 1882 in Berlin.
- The first fire alarm system using the telegraph was designed by Moses Farmer of Boscawen in 1847.
- Isaac Orr of Bedford made the first airtight wood stove.
- La Caisse Populaire, St. Mary's Bank in Manchester, established the first credit union in the United States in 1908.
- The first intercollegiate boat race in North America happened on Lake Winnipesaukee in August 1853; Harvard beat Yale.
- In July 1944 the International Monetary Fund was created during the "Bretton Woods Conference" of 44 allied nations convened at the Mount Washington Hotel in Breeton Woods, New Hampshire.