Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south; New Hampshire to the west; and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, its heavily forested interior, and picturesque waterways—as well as for its seafood cuisine, especiallylobster and clams. Maine is the northernmost U.S. state with an Atlantic coastline, but in spite of its maritime position it has a continentalclimate even in coastal cities such as the largest state city of Portland.
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples were the only inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine. At the time of European encounter, several Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited the area. The first European settlement in Maine was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. The first English settlement in Maine, the short-lived Popham Colony, was established by thePlymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and conflict with the local peoples caused many to fail over the years.
As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements had survived. Patriot and Loyalist forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820 when it voted to secede from Massachusetts. On March 15, 1820, it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state under the Missouri Compromise. Maine is the 39th most extensive and the 41st most populous of the 50 United States. With respect to crime rates, Maine is also often considered the safest state in the U.S. Maine is the state with the highest percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the union.
|State of Maine
État du Maine (French)
|Nickname(s): "The Pine Tree State" "Vacationland"|
|Motto(s): "Dirigo" (Latin for "I lead" "I guide" or "I direct")|
There is no definitive explanation for the origin of the name "Maine". The state legislature in 2001 adopted a resolution establishing Franco-American Day, which stated that the state was named after the former French province of Maine. Other theories mention earlier places with similar names, or claim it is a nautical reference to the mainland. The history of the name of Maine began with James Sullivan's 1795 "History of the District of Maine." He made the unsubstantiated allegation that the Province of Maine was a compliment to the queen of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, who once "owned" the Province of Maine in France. This was quoted by almost all Maine historians until the 1845 Agnes Strickland biography established that she had no connection to the Province of Maine in France. King Charles I married Henrietta Maria in 1625, three years after the name Maine first appeared on the charter. A new theory, set forth by Carol B. Smith Fisher, is that The Province of MAINE was first chosen by Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1622 to honor the village where his ancestral roots first took hold on English soil. "MAINE" appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 in reference to the county of Dorset, that is today Broadmayne, just southeast of Dorchester. This is where the Gorges family roots first took hold on English soil. The generally held view amongst British place name scholars is that Mayne in Dorset is Brythonic, corresponding to modern Welsh "maen", plural "main" or "meini". Some early spellings are: MAINE 1086, MEINE 1200, MEINES 1204, MAYNE 1236. Today the actual village is known as BROADMAYNE, which is primitive Welsh or Brythonic, "main" meaning rock or stone, considered to be a reference to the many large sarsens still present around Little Mayne farm, half a mile northeast of Broadmayne village.
The first known record of the name appears in an August 10, 1622, land charter to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason, English Royal Navy veterans, who were granted a large tract in present-day Maine that Mason and Gorges "intend to name the Province of Maine". Mason had served in the Royal Navy in the Orkney Islands where the chief island is calledMainland, a more likely name derivation for these English sailors than the French province. A year later, in 1623, the English naval captain Christopher Levett, exploring the New England coast, wrote: "The first place I set my foote upon in New England was the Isle of Shoals, being Ilands [sic] in the sea, above two Leagues from the Mayne." Initially, several coastal tracts along the coast of New England were referred to as Main or Maine (cf. the Spanish Main). A reconfirmed and enhanced April 3, 1639, charter from England's King Charles I gave Sir Ferdinando Gorges increased powers over his new province and stated that it "shall forever hereafter, be called and named the PROVINCE OR COUNTIE OF MAINE, and not by any other name or names whatsoever..." Whatever the origin, the name was fixed in 1665 when the King's Commissioners ordered that the "Province of Maine" be entered from then on in official records. Maine is the only state whose name has exactly one syllable, and is the only state to border only one other.