Brief History of Maine
Maine history is steeped in an abundance of natural attractions, artifacts, architecture, arts, and culture. Maine has a long and intriguing natural and political history and is home to many museums that offer insight on Maine’s historical roots. Please share your Maine history comments. To feature your Maine business in Maine’s Internet Magazine, please contact us.
Brief History of Maine
The glaciers from the Ice Age helped to form Maine into what it is today. The glaciers are responsible for creating all of the islands and little harbors that Maine is famous for. As the glaciers melted many of the lakes throughout Maine were formed. The first inhabitants were Native Americans. Some of the earliest Indian Nations in Maine were the Micmacs and the Abenaki. The tribes currently residing in various locations throughout Maine are the Passamaquoddies, Penoscots, Micmacs, and Maliseets.
The Vikings are believed to have explored the coast of Maine a full 500 years before Columbus discovered the Americas. The first settlement in Maine was attempted in 1607 at Popham by the Plymouth Company. This was same year as the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. The settlers of the Popham colony did not last long through the harsh Maine winters thus enabling Jamestown to be labeled the first permanent settlement.
Maine’s ownership and land disputes were an issue during Maine’s early years. During the French and Indian War, it was the French and the British who fought over who had claim. Once the threat of attack from the Native Americans decreased, Massachusetts, which had at that point laid claim to Maine, offered free land to anyone willing to settle there. Motivated by this offer, many moved north and settled into Maine, doubling the population between 1743 and 1763.
Maine was an early participant in the Revolutionary War. When open warfare officially started, Maine men joined the fight by the hundreds. After the Revolutionary War, many Mainers wanted to become a separate state from Massachusetts. The separation was met with resistance from coastal merchants, as Maine was an important port state and had better protection from attacks with the militia population of Massachusetts. After the War of 1812, however, they realized that Massachusetts could no longer protect them from British raids. So, in 1820 Maine separated from Massachusetts and became its own state. The land disputes in Maine did not end there. In 1839 Maine’s northern boundary with New Brunswick almost started a war. British and American troops were brought to the border. Major General Winfield Scott was able to form a temporary treaty that held until 1842 when the Webster-Ashburton Treaty finalized where the border would lay.
The coast has not been Maine’s only resource over the years. Many other natural resources have brought business to Maine. It’s many forests meant lumber and paper mills. Water-powered textile mills were built along the rivers. Rock quarries were built to benefit from an abundance of granite and lime.
Maine has helped to shape the history of the United States in many ways. Prohibition was one of Maine’s contributions. Neal Dow is considered the “Father of Prohibition” because it was under his leadership that Maine banned the manufacture and sale of liquor in 1851. Gradually the rest of the country followed suit and by 1920 there was a national ban on alcohol.