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Maine, US (Population: 1,321,574)
State Capitol: Augusta

Major Cities: Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, Brunswick, Biddeford, Sanford, Scarborough

State Nickname/Motto: Pine Tree State - Dirigo: I Lead

Statehood Granted: March 15, 1820

History: The origin of the state of Maine’s name is the subject of some controversy. Some historians believe that it was in honor of French explorers and trappers home in the province of Maine, France. Others suggest that the name was coined by English settlers living on islands along the coast, who would speak of going to the mainland as "going over to the main." The original inhabitants of the territory that became Maine were Algonquian-speaking peoples including the Wabanaki, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscots. The first European settlement in Maine was in 1604 by a French party that included Samuel de Champlain, the noted explorer. English colonists sponsored by the Plymouth Company settled in 1607. The coastal areas of western Maine first became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent.

Geography: Highest point: Katahdin Mountain; 5,268 feet. To the south and east is the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north and northeast is New Brunswick, a province of Canada. The Canadian province of Quebec is to the northwest. Maine is both the northernmost state in New England and the largest, accounting for nearly half the region's entire land area. Maine also has the distinction of being the only state to border just one other state (New Hampshire to the west). Maine also has several unique geographical features. Machias Seal Island, off its easternmost point, is claimed by both the U.S. and Canada and is one of five North American land areas whose sovereignty is still in dispute. Also in this easternmost area is the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (99.0%), White (96.6%), Black or African American (0.7%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.5%), Asian (0.8%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (0.4), Two or more races (1.0%), Hispanic or Latino (0.9%)*

Famous State People:

  • Hannibal Hamlin (1809 - 1891) U.S. Vice-President during Abraham Lincoln's first term, and was a senator and a representative from Maine.
  • Stephen King (1947 - ) Writer whose novels often are made into motion pictures. Some works include The Shining, Salem's Lot, Carrie, Pet Sematary, and Midnight Shift; born in Portland.
  • Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908 - 1979) U.S. vice president; born in Bar Harbor.
  • Joshua L. Chamberlain (1828 - 1914) Civil War general, governor of Maine, president of Bowdoin College; born in Brewer.
  • Dorothea Dix (1802 - 1887) Humanitarian and social reformer; born in Hampden.
  • Percy Lebaron Spencer (1894 - 1970) Invented the microwave oven; born in Howland.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) Considered the most influential poet of his day with famous works such as “The Courtship of Miles Standish” and “Evangeline”; born in Portland.
  • Margaret Chase Smith (1897 - 1995) The first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress; born in Skowhegan.
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869 - 1935) Poet; raised in Gardiner.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896), abolitionist and humanitarian, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin; lived in Brunswick.
  • Dustin Farnum (1874 - 1929) Popular star of silent films, primarily Westerns.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University’s of Maine System, University of New England, Bangor Theological Seminary, Bates College, Beal college, Bowdoin College, Colby College, College of the Atlantic, Husson College, Main College of Art, Maine’s Community Colleges System, Maine Maritime Academy, St. Joseph’s College, Thomas College, Unity College

    State Parks: Aroostook, Warren Island, Cobscook Bay, Lamoine, Quoddy Head, Roque Bluffs, Shackford Head, Bradbury Mountain, Crescent Beach, Two Lights, Lily Bay, Peaks-Kenny, Lake St. George, Peacock Beach, Grafton Notch, Mt. Blue, Range Ponds, Rangeley Lake, Sebago Lake, Birch Point, Camden Hills, Damariscotta Lake, Moose Point, Popham Beach, Reid, Swan Lake, Ferry Beach, Vaughan Woods, Wolfe’s Neck Woods

    Misc: Maine is well known for its dramatic ocean scenery, with almost 3500 miles of shoreline. West Quoddy Head is the easternmost piece of land in the contiguous 48 United States. Along the famous rock-bound coast of Maine are lighthouses, sandy beaches, quiet fishing villages and thousands of offshore islands, including the Isles of Shoals, which straddle the New Hampshire border. Jagged rocks and cliffs and thousands of bays and inlets add to the rugged beauty of Maine's coast. Just inland, by contrast, are sparkling lakes, rushing rivers, green forests and towering mountains. This visual contrast, forested slopes sweeping down to the sea, has been aptly summed up by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay of Rockland and Camden, Maine, in the poem "Renascence."

    *U.S. Census - 2005