Long before malls and fast food restaurants made sluggish traffic a permanent Nashua trait, the city was a fur trading post in the mid-1600s — better known by its Native American name of "Watanic."

The City of Nashua was chartered in 1852. It had grown out of the Village of Nashua, centered near Railroad Square and the Main Street Bridge, and the Village of Nashville, across the Nashua River. The city is in the approximate center of the original 1673 grant of Dunstable, which included all or parts of the surrounding towns.

The Dunstable grant was part of Massachusetts until the boundary line was revised in 1741. The New Hampshire portion was incorporated by that state in 1746 and was gradually broken into smaller pieces as outlying areas developed. Just south of Nashua, the tiny Massachusetts town of Dunstable keeps the name alive.

Nashua was an early textile center. By 1836, Nashua Corporation had built three cotton mills and was producing 9.3 million yards of cotton cloth annually on 710 looms. Six railroad lines crossed the city with 56 trains entering and departing daily before the Civil War.

The Nashua Telegraph was founded in 1832, a few months after its competitor, the Gazette, which no longer exists.

After World War II, the textile mills moved south and the city gradually developed a diversified industry, particularly high technology and retail.

Today, Nashua is the state’s second largest city.