New Hampshire was a planned colony founded in 1623 by Captain John Mason, who was granted the land by Great Britain in order to establish a fishing colony in the New World. The name of the colony came from the fact that Mason lived in Hampshire County, England.
After being granted the land, Mason and a number of others set about sending settlers to North America to establish a fishing colony near the mouth of the Piscataqua River. They commissioned two groups of settlers to colonize the land, one group led by fish-merchants Edward and Thomas Hilton of London and the other led by David Thomson of Scotland.
When Thomson arrived, he established a settlement called Pannaway near the mouth of the river, near the present-day town of Rye. The Hilton brothers' settlement, which they named Northam, was located eight miles north in what is present-day Dover.
The colony was officially established by Captain Mason and he spent a huge sum of money building towns and military defenses there. However, he died in 1635, just a few months before he planned to take his first trip to see the new colony his money had helped to build.
The new colony was actually a formal part of the colony of Massachusetts until 1679, when England granted a royal charter to Massachusetts and New Hampshire was officially split into its own colony.