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Maine, the largest New England State, is replete with fascinating facts and figures. It seems to be the premier state for Independent candidates for governor, having elected the first two.

It offers the possibility that Leif Erickson was, in fact, the first to find the New World, although not the first to see. Others before him, blown off course between Iceland and Greenland saw the coast of Canada. Years later, Erickson set sail in search of what the other sailors had seen. He is believed to have drawn the Vineland map, which outlines the shores of Canada, Maine and perhaps as far south as where Boston is today.

To the south is Long island Sound where you can fish, boat, water ski and swim.

To the north are farms, campsites, lakes, ponds and rivers full of trout.

And throughout there is history, history older than this nation's. And it's all beautifully packaged for not only the perfect New England getaway, but a fabulous Maine getaway.


Name of State: Maine

Statehood: March 15, 1820 (23rd State)

Nickname: The Pine Tree State

Name Origin: See an explanation of three possible origins.

Capital: Augusta

State Abbreviation/Postal code: ME

State Nickname: the Pine Tree State

State Citizen Name: Mainer

State Motto: Dirigo (I lead)

Population, 2000 (Census): 1,274,923

Population, 2005 (Estimated): 1,321,505

Constitution Adopted: 1820

State Length: 320 miles

State Width: 210 miles

Geographic Center: 18 miles north of Dover-Foxcroft (in Piscataquis County)

Forest Land: 17 million acres

State Forests: 1,210,000 acres

State Parks: 30

State Historic Sites: 18

Length of Coastline: 3,500 miles

Coastal Islands: 2,000

Land area: 33,215 sq mi. (79,933 sq km)

Counties: 16

Largest County: Aroostook (6,453 square miles) covers more area than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Cities: 22

Largest City: Portland

Cities with Largest Population (2005 est.):

1. Portland, 63,889

2. Lewiston, 36,050

3. Bangor, 31,074

4. South Portland, 23,742

5. Auburn, 23,602

Towns: 424

Plantations: 51

Unorganized Townships: 416

Lakes and Ponds: 6,000

Rivers and Streams: 5,100, 32,0000 miles

Square Miles of Inland Water Area: 2,295

Public Highways: 21,000 miles (exceeding the total mileage of any other New England state.)

Acreage of State and National Parks: 436,064 acres, including the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine.

Highest Point: Mt. Katahdin (5,268 ft above sea level)

Average Temperatures: Winter Temperatures 20 degrees F Summer Temperatures averaging 70 degrees F

Lighthouses: 60 (including Portland Head Light commissioned by George Washington)

Persons per Square Mile: 41.3

Percentage of "low-bush& blueberries in North America: 90%

Rank for Potato Growth: 3rd in acreage, 4th in production nationwide

Lobster Harvest: 57 million pounds

Finfish Harvest: 128 million pounds

Shellfish Harvest: 7 million pounds

Ski Areas: 25

Famous For: York, Maine, chartered in 1641 is the country's first chartered town; Is recognized as one of the most healthful, beautiful and interesting states in the nation; Appalachian Trail in Acadia National Park (second most visited national park in the United States)

Year 2000 statistics

Origin of name (Several Possibilities): First used to distinguish the mainland from the offshore islands. Second, Third, it has been considered a compliment to Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I of England. She was said to have owned the province of Mayne in France.


The emblems of the State are as follows:

State Seal: Approved by the State Legislature, June 9, 1820 Title 1 Section 201:

The seal of the State shall be a shield, argent, charged with a pine tree (americana, quinis ex uno folliculo setis) with a moose (cervus alces), at the foot of it, recumbent; supporters: on dexter side, a husbandman, resting on a scythe; on sinister side, a seaman, resting on an anchor.

In the foreground, representing sea and land, and under the shield, shall be the name of the State in large Roman capitals, to wit: Maine

The whole shall be surrounded by a crest, the North Star. The motto, in small Roman capitals, shall be in a label interposed between the shield and crest, viz.: -- DIRIGO.

SOURCE: maine.gov/sos/statseal.html

State Flag: Approved by the legislature on 1909 to replace first flag:

Section 1. The flag to be known as the official flag of the State of Maine shall be of blue, same color as the blue field in the flag of the United States, and of the following dimensions and design; to wit, the length, or height, of the staff to be nine feet, including brass spear-head and ferrule; the fly of said flag to be five feet six inches, and to be four feet four inches on the staff; in the center of the flag there shall be embroidered in silk the same on both sides of the flag, the coat of arms of the State of Maine, in proportionate size; the edges to be trimmed with knotted fringe of yellow silk, two and one-half inches wide; a cord, with tassels, to be attached to the staff at the spearhead, to be eight feet six inches long and composed of white and blue strands.

State Flower: White Pine Cone and Tassel, 1895.
State Bird: Chickadee, 1927.
State Tree: White Pine, 1945.
State Animal: Moose, 1979.
State Cat: Maine Coon Cat, 1985.
State Insect: Honeybee, 1975.
State Mineral/Gemstone: Tourmaline, 1971.
State Song: "State of Maine Song" by Roger Vinton Snow, 1937.
State Vessel: Bowdoin (Artic Exploration Schooner)
State Berry: Wild Blueberry
State Fish: Landlocked Salmon, 1969.
State Fossil: Pertica Quadrifaria, 1985.
State Herb: Wintergreen
State Soil: Chesuncook Soil Series


1. 11,500 years ago, Maine's first settlers, the Paleo-Indians (forefathers of Native Americans) establish themselves in Maine having crossed a land bridge between modern-day Russia and modern-day Alaska. They traversed Canada and settled across the country.

2. Archeologists uncover the red-clay outlined burial grounds the "Red Paint People" that date back to 3,000 B.C. in Maine. They settle in Maine well before the Abenaki and Mi'kmaq (Micmac) Native Americans, whose tribes and nations are still extant today.

986 A.D.: Bjarni Herjolfsson and his crew are the first Europeans to lay eyes on the New World after being blown off course during a voyage between Iceland and Greenland.

1000 A.D.: An Icelandic "saga," or story, of the sighting intrigues Leif Eriksson, son of Eric the Red. He and friend Lars Almvig set sail for the New World. Most scientists believe that they discovered Newfoundland first, but then sailed south perhaps as far as Boston. The Vinland Map, believed to be illustrated by Eriksson, shows the first indication on any map of North America. It also details how to reach where they ventured.

1497: Italian explorer John Cabot reports seeing the New World in 1497 near what is Cape Breton today, five years after Columbus discovers the West Indies. While he claims the land for King Henry VII, it is not known whether or not he sets foot on Maine's rocky shores, but we do know that he saw it.

1524: Giovanni da Verranzano becomes the first European to actively explore the shores of Maine.

1597: Portuguese Navigator Simon Ferdinando, who is on an exploratory search for treasure for the British Crown, lands on Maine's rocky shores

1604: The first confirmed European colony is established at the mouth of the St. Croix River by Frenchman, Pierre du Guast Sieur de Monts.

1607: The Fort Popham colony is established by the British, but fails to survive the harsh winter.

1604-1605: Samuel de Champlain is first to map the coast of Maine and the Penobscot River.

1623: The first American sawmill is built.

1652: Massachusetts annexes Maine to repel attacks launched by the French and Native Americans.

1675: War between the British and the French and Indians, King Phillip's War, begins over control of the North American territories.

1759: Sally Sayward Barell, (nom de plume Madam Wood) is born at York. She is America's first female novelist.

1761: North America's first pile bridge is built at York. 1775: Off the shores of Machias, the first Revolutionary War battle is fought. In a secret attempt to capture British forts in Quebec City and Montreal, Benedict Arnold moves revolutionaries and large cannons through Maine. The bid fails. Arnold, upset at the Congress for failing to support the campaign, later decides to join the British. Kenneth Robert's book, Arundel, tells the story of the effort.

1785: The Falmouth Gazette, Maine's first newspaper, is established to promote independence from Massachusetts.

1794: Maine first college, Bowdoin College, is founded.

19th Century

1819: Maine is permitted to apply for statehood by Massachusetts.

1820: Maine achieves statehood due to the Missouri Compromise.
Maine's Constitution is the first to give women the right to vote and provides for education for all, regardless of race.

1839: War is declared against Great Britain by Governor Fairfield over a disputed boundary separating New Brunswick and northern Maine. The dispute is settled peacefully, but this marks the first and only time that one of the United States declared war against another nation.

1842: A treaty settles the border dispute.

1851: Abolition gains support from Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Brunswick resident Harriet Beecher Stowe, who begins writing the book in 1851.
Maine becomes the first "dry" state by outlawing the sale of alcoholic beverages.

1860: Hannibal Hamlin, a native of Paris, Maine, becomes Abraham Lincoln's Vice President.

1863: Joshua Chamberlain, a Brunswick native, defends Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War.

1866: Old Port, an area of downtown Portland, is destroyed by fire.

1876: On the Fourth of July, it snows in Portland.

1888: Maine native, Melville W. Fuller, is named the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme court.

1898: The USS Maine is sunk in Havana, Cuba's harbor. The incident helps incite the Spanish-American war.

1901: In Portland, the Wadsworth Longfellow House is opened to the public as a historic house, Construction begins on a library headquarters building.

1917: In Kittery at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, the L-8, the first submarine built by the Navy is launched.

1919: A consortium led by George B. Dorr, a conservationist, John D. Rockefeller and others, establish Lafayette National Park, which is now known as Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island.

1922: The first Maine native awarded a Pulitzer Prize is Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869 to 1935) for Collected Poems.

1923: Renascence and Other Poems is published by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 to 1950) and is awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

1924: Membership in the Ku Klux Klan increases. Members protest the influx of immigrants, including Catholics.

1929: The advent of the Great Depression closes some banks, mills and factories and causes farm losses.

1930: Arundel: A Chronicle of the Province of Maine and of the Secret Expedition Against Quebec, written by Kenneth Roberts (1885 to 1957 [this editor's favorite author]) of Kennebunkport. He writes many other novels, including Oliver Wiswell and Northwest Passage, and wins a Pulitzer Prize in 1957.

1931: Percival Baxter (1876 to 1969), the former Governor of Maine, donates 5,760 acres of land, including Mt. Katahdin, giving birth to an enormous state park.

1934: A year after the repeal of the Volstead Act, also known as "Prohibition," Maine repeals a law passed in 1851 that prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

1936: Floods in Maine and the East Coast cause losses totaling $25 million.

1937: In recognition of their aboriginal rights to hunt and fish in Maine, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Native Americans are granted free hunting and fishing licenses by the state. A three-month shoe workers' strike in Lewiston-Auburn closes 19 shoe factories.

1944: Houlton become the site of a Prisoner of War camp where German POWS are housed.

1946: One of the first artist colonies, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture is founded.

1947: Forest fires on Mount Desert Island and other parts of the state destroy 200,000 acres of land, 851 homes and 397 cottages.

From Kittery to South Portland, the Maine Turnpike opens. It gives the state a necessary corridor for tourists. It's paved all the way to Augusta in 1955.

1948: Margaret Chase Smith (1897 to 1995), a member of the House of Representatives, run for the U.S. Senate and wins. It makes her the first woman to be elected to the Senate and the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.

1957: To conform to the national Election Day, Maine switches voting from September to November.

1958: The first Maine Democrat, Edmund Muskie is elected to Congress.

1961: The USS Abraham Lincoln, the nation's first Polaris submarine is launched at Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Telstar, the first communications satellite is manufactured in Andover, Maine.

1968: The University of Maine is established as a network of public post-secondary institutions that exist in various parts of the state.

Archeologists uncover Viking encampments in Newfoundland dating back to circa 1000 A.D. Using the Vinland Map, which is believed by some to be a hoax, and carbon dating, they provide ample proof that Columbus did not discover America, but rather Eriksson, Almvig and their 30-man crew did.

1974: The first Independent governor, James Longley is elected. He is the first Independent to be elected governor in U.S. history.

1979: Senator Edmund Muskie becomes Secretary of State.

1980: The Indian Land Claims agreement is signed by President Jimmy Carter.

1984: At the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, CA Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport is the first gold medal winner in the first women's Olympic marathon event.

1988: Senator George Mitchell of Waterville becomes U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

1994: Angus King of Brunswick becomes the second Independent governor in U.S. history.

1997: Senator William Cohen of Bangor becomes Secretary of Defense.

Additional Resources:



Legal Holidays in the State:
January 1, New Year's Day
January 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 16, Washington's Birthday/President's Day
April Patriots Day
The Friday before Easter, Good Friday
Easter Sunday Last Monday in May, Memorial Day
July 4, Independence Day
First Monday in September, Labor Day
Second Monday in October, Columbus Day
November 11, Veterans' Day
Last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day
December 25, Christmas


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QuickStart Guide

Four Simple Steps to Planning the Perfect New England Getaway or Vacation.

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