Portsmouth is a city located in the Southeastern corner of New Hampshire in the Seacoast region of the state. It is situated in the Eastern region of Rockingham County and encompasses a total area of 16.8 square miles, 1.2 of which is water. As of the 2010 United States Census, Portsmouth was home to 21,233 people.
Before it was settled by Europeans, the area where Portsmouth now lies was inhabited by Native Americans in the Abenaki and Algonquian tribes. In 1603, the area was first explored and, in 1630, settlers began to set up along the Piscataqua River, on Strawberry Bank. Portsmouth was incorporated as a town in 1653 and named so after the town’s founder, John Mason, who was formerly a captain in in Portsmouth, England. For many decades, Portsmouth served as one of the busiest ports and shipbuilding communities in the nation. In 1849, it was officially incorporated as a city.
More than 7 percent of Portsmouth’s total area is made up of water, and the town includes parts of Sagamore Creek and Piscataqua River. The highest point in Portsmouth lies at Pease International Airport, where elevation reaches 110 feet above sea level. The town is home to a number of notable sites, including: USS Albacore Museum & Park, located in a decommissioned Naval submarine; The Music Hall, an 1800s-era theater; Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, established in 1771; and Strawberry Banke Museum, a historic neighborhood featuring homes in various architectural styles. Hesser College, as well as branches of Franklin Pierce University and Southern New Hampshire University are all located in Portsmouth as well.
The town of Portsmouth is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen. It boasts a full-time police department, a municipal fire department and full- and part-time emergency medical services. Top employers in the area include HCA Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Liberty Mutual Insurance, City of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Consular Center and Bottomline Technologies. Children in the area attend schools in the City of Portsmouth School Department.