New Hampshire may be small, but this state has made a lot of great contributions to life in the United States and around the world. From brokering international peace treaties to beginning sports traditions that would last for centuries, lots of memorable firsts have happened in the Granite State. Here are 10 of our favorites.
1. Declare independence from England.
In 1775, New Hampshire declared its independence from England, before any other colonies had done so.
2. Send a man into space.
Alan Shepard was the first man to launch into space, on May 5, 1961. Shepard, who was born and raised in Derry, later walked on the moon, and even hit two golf balls in space.
3. Host international peace talks.
In 1905 representatives from Russia and Japan met in Portsmouth to discuss ending the Russo-Japanese war. The two sides signed a treaty in Portsmouth on September 5, 1905, the first peace treaty signed in America. The efforts earned President Theodore Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace prize, and he was the first American President to win the award.
4. Establish a legal state lottery.
The New Hampshire lottery paved the way for states around the nation to being lotteries when it opened in 1963.
5. Form a ski club.
The nation’s first ski club, Nansen Ski Club in Berlin, was formed in 1882.
6. Wake up to an alarm clock.
A Concord native, Levi Hutchins, invented the first alarm clock in 1787. If you’re temped to hate Hutchins each morning, just keep in mind that his alarm clock went off at 4 a.m., which makes modern wakeup times seem much more reasonable.
7. Build a steam ship.
In 1793 Samuel Morey of Orford invented the internal combustion engine, which ultimately allowed him to build the first steam ship.
8. Vote in presidential primaries.
State law dictates that the New Hampshire primary be the earliest in the nation, making it a key state for candidates wishing to win the presidency.
9. Establish a credit union.
St. Mary’s Bank opened in Manchester in 1908, and New Hampshire residents can still bank with them today.
10. Send a private citizen into space.
Sadly, Christa McAuliffe’s space journey ended in tragedy during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. However, the Concord teacher will always be remembered for her bravery.
Wow – for a small state New Hampshire sure has made an impact.