New Hampshire was named by Captain John Mason in 1788, after the English county of Hampshire. It was the ninth region of America to be granted statehood, which occurred on June 21 of that year.
Its motto, "Live Free or Die," originated in a longer statement written by General John Stark, Revolutionary War hero of the Battle of Bennington.
Although the state is most commonly nicknamed the "Granite State," in reference to its granite geology and many quarries, New Hampshire actually has three alternatives. After the numerous rivers of New England, it is known as "Mother of Rivers." For the White Mountain Range, whence some of the rivers originate, it is called the "White Mountain State." Finally, for the visual impact of these natural beauties combined, New Hampshire is also sometimes called the "Switzerland of America."
The various State Symbols of New Hampshire were adopted over the course of the twentieth century. These include:
- The purple lilac (State Flower, 1919)
- The white birch (State Tree, 1947)
- The purple finch (State Bird, 1957)
- The ladybug (State Insect, 1977)
- The white tailed deer (State Animal, 1983)
In 1985, Granite, Smokey Quartz and Beryl were introduced as New Hampshire's State Rock, Gem and Mineral respectively.
The State Seal features a granite boulder along with the iconography of a rising sun and laurel wreath.