World History

Maine State History – War, Population, Facts

Native Americans

People have lived in what is now Maine for thousands of years. Early civilizations include the Red Paint People and the Susquehanna. When the Europeans arrived, the area was inhabited by several Native American tribes. These tribes spoke the Algonquian language and included the Mick Mack, Abenaki, Penobscot and Maliseet tribes.

Information about Maine State:

Capital Augusta
Population 1,385,340 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, Auburn, Biddeford
Borders  New Hampshire, Canada, and the Atlantic Ocean
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $64,765.5 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including poultry, cattle, fishing, apples, and maple syrup
Paper, wood products, lumber, electronic equipment, and textiles

Flag of Maine State:

Europeans Arrive

Viking explorer Leif Erikson may have been the first European to visit the region. Some historians believe he landed on or near the coast of Maine around 1000 AD. However, little evidence remains to support this.

The first recorded arrival from Europe was the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. He claimed the land for France, but for many years no settlement was established.


The first European settlement in Maine was founded on Saint-Croix Island in 1604 by Frenchmen Pierre du Gast and Samuel de Champlain. They founded a colony called Acadia, which included parts of Maine and present-day Quebec, Canada.

A few years later, in 1607, the British arrived and founded a colony called Popham Plantation. Like many of the early settlements, Popham Plantation lasted only a year. Cold weather and hostile Indians made survival difficult for the early settlers.

Despite the harsh conditions, people continued to settle on the land. In 1652 the country became part of England’s Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was part of Massachusetts until 1820. For many years, France and Britain fought for control of the region. England finally gained sovereignty after the French and Indian War ended in 1763.

Maine State Symbols

  • Maine State Nickname: Pine Tree State
  • Maine State Slogan: It Must Be Maine; The Way Life Should Be
  • Maine State Motto: Dirigo (I lead)
  • Maine State flower: White pine cone and tassel
  • Maine State bird: Black-capped Chickadee
  • Maine State fish: Land-locked salmon
  • Maine State tree: White Pine
  • Maine State mammal: Moose
  • Maine State foods: Moxie, Wild Blueberry

American Revolution

During the American Revolutionary War, Maine was part of Massachusetts. The first naval battle of the Revolution took place off the coast of Maine and ended with the capture of the British ship Margaretta. Parts of Maine were then under British rule until the end of the war in 1783.

Becoming a State

The people of Maine were independent and wanted to be separated from Massachusetts. On March 15, 1820, they had their wish granted and became her 23rd state of the United States. The original capital of Maine was Portland. In 1832 it was moved to Augusta.

The Geography of Maine State:

  • Total Size of Maine: 30,862 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Maine: Atlantic Ocean at Sea Level (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Maine: Mt. Katahdin at 5,268 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Piscataquis (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Maine: Located in Piscataquis County approx. 18 miles north of Dover (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Maine: 16 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Maine: Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Maine, Lake Moosehead, Kennebec River, Penobscot River, St. John River

Missouri Compromise

One of the reasons Maine became a state was the Missouri Compromise. The agreement stipulated that there should be an equal number of slave and free nations. When Missouri was admitted as a slave state, Maine was admitted as a free state to maintain balance.

Famous People of Maine State:

Andrew Wyeth Artist
Nelson Rockefeller U.S. Vice President
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Poet and author
Stephen King Author
Dorothea Dix Social reformer
Patrick Dempsey Actor
Ricky Craven NASCAR driver
Milton Bradley Board game manufacturer including Candyland and Scrabble

Interesting Facts of Maine State:

When people say “bugs” in Maine, they often mean lobsters.

Acadia National Park is her second most visited national park in the United States.

Maine has more than 3,000 miles of coastline. In fact, there are more than in California!

In Maine he has over 2,000 islands and her 6,000 lakes and ponds.

Maine is the only state with a monosyllabic name. It is also the only state that shares exactly one border with another state.

The state has 17 million acres of forest and is a major producer of toothpicks, producing about 100 million a day.

Maine supplies about 90% of the country’s blueberries and lobsters.

Eastport is the easternmost city in the United States. The easternmost point is at West Quody Head. Writers Stephen King and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were both born in Maine.

Timeline Overview:

1000 – Lief Ericsson discovers the coast of North America.
1524 – Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sails the coast of Maine.
1604 – Frenchmen Pierre du Guast and Samuel de Champlain discover the first European settlement on the island of Saint Croix.
1607 – The first English settlement in Maine is established at Popham.
1634 – The first sawmill begins operations. Timber will continue to be an important part of Maine’s economy for many years to come.
1652 – Maine becomes part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1775 – Colonists capture the British ship the Margaretta off the coast of Maine.
1820 – Maine is incorporated as her 23rd state.
1820 – Potatoes become the main crop.
1832 – Augusta becomes the new state capital.
1863 – Maine soldiers under Colonel Joshua Chamberlain fight at the Battle of Gettysburg.