About This Place
Portsmouth is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire in the United States. It is the largest city but only the fourth-largest community in the county, with a population of 21,233 at the 2010 census. A historic seaport and popular summer tourist destination, Portsmouth is served by Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, formerly the Strategic Air Command's Pease Air Force Base.
Native Americans of the Abenaki and other nations inhabited the territory of New Hampshire for thousands of years before European contact.
The first known European to explore and write about the area was Martin Pring in 1603. The village was settled by English immigrants in 1630 and named Piscataqua, after the Abenaki name for the river. Then the village was called Strawberry Banke, after the many wild strawberries growing beside the Piscataqua River, a tidal estuary with a swift current. Strategically located for trade between upstream industries and mercantile interests abroad, the port prospered. Fishing, lumber and shipbuilding were principal businesses of the region. Enslaved Africans were imported as early as 1645 and were an integral part of building the city's prosperity. Portsmouth was part of the Triangle Trade that made significant profits from slavery.