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History and Facts of New Hampshire Counties

Today’s New Hampshire counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

The Province of New Hampshire existed from 1689, until 1776. Five New Hampshire counties were created in 1769, when New Hampshire was still an English colony.

The State of New Hampshire entered the union as the 9th state on June 21, 1788. New Hampshire is currently divided into 10 counties.

States bordering New Hampshire are MaineMassachusettsVermont and Canada.

New Hamshire counties tend to be smaller in area towards the southern end of the state, where most of New Hampshire’s population is located, and larger in land area in the less populous north.

Fun Facts about New Hampshire Counties

County Names

counties were named for

  • 1 county named for Native American language
  • 7 counties named for People
  • 1 county named for Rivers
  • 1 county named for a Town

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

  • Coos County (1,801 sq mi) is the largest county in New Hampshire.
  • Strafford County (369 sq mi) is the smallest county in New Hampshire.

County Population Facts

New Hampshire City Facts

New Hampshire’s 10  largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Manchester (109,565) is in Hillsborough County
  2. Nashua (86,494) is in Hillsborough County
  3. Concord (42,695) is in Merrimack County
  4. Derry (33,109) is in Rockingham County
  5. Dover (29,987) is in Strafford County
  6. Rochester (29,752) is in Strafford County
  7. Salem (28,776) is in Rockingham County
  8. Merrimack (25,494) is in Hillsborough County
  9. Hudson (24,467) is in Hillsborough County
  10. Londonderry (24,129) is in Rockingham County

Boundary Changes of New Hampshire Counties from 1764 to 1874

This Interactive Map of New Hampshire Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of New Hamshire from 1764-1874.

List of New Hampshire Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct New Hampshire Counties

New Hampshire contains 1 county that no longer exist because it was eliminated. This is important for genealogy research purposes.

Norfolk County, Massachusetts Colony

Created on May 10, 1643 by the Massachusetts General Court from LAND. Norfolk County was abolished by King Charles II when he made New Hampshire a royal colony, and separated it from Massachusetts on September 18, 1679.

The Southern part of “Old Norfolk County.” became Essex County, Massachusetts. Four volumes of records of the Old Norfolk County exist and are at the Essex County Registry of Deeds in Salem. 

In 1793 a new Norfolk County was established in Massachusetts.