city, Rockingham county, southeastern New Hampshire, U.S., across the Piscataqua River from Kittery, Maine, on the Atlantic coast. It is New Hampshire's oldest settlement, second oldest city, first capital, and only seaport. In 1623 a fishing settlement was built at the river's mouth. First called Piscataqua and then Strawbery Banke, it became a bustling colonial port. The town, incorporated by Massachusetts in 1653 and named for Portsmouth, England, served as the seat of New Hampshire's provincial government until the American Revolution. The state's first newspaper, the New Hampshire Gazette (1756), began publication there. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (actually in Kittery), dating from the 1790s, has been an important factor in the city's economic growth. The yard was the site of the 1905 treaty negotiations ending the Russo-Japanese War. For almost all of the 20th century Portsmouth was a centre for the building and repair of submarines; since 1971 submarines have only been repaired there. Connected with it is a naval hospital.
Learn more about Piscataqua with a free trial on Britannica.com.