No One Knows Why Maine is Called Maine
Today I found out no one really knows why Maine is called Maine.
One of the most popular theories is that it is derived from the nautical term “the main” or “Main Land”. Maine has an incredible number of islands off it’s coast, so perhaps sailors referred to it as “Maine”, as in “Main Land”, to distinguish it from the surrounding islands.
In 2001, the state legislature, not apparently too concerned as to if it was fact or not, adopted the resolution that stated that the state was named after the ancient French province of Maine, which was of Gaulish origin. Maine was discovered by the French; however, the first known record of it being called Maine wasn’t until Aug. 10, 1622 when it was chartered to English Royal Navy veterans, Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason who “intend to name The Province of Maine”.
Mason himself served in the Royal Navy in the Orkney Islands where the main island was called “Mainland”. Gorges also may have had something to do with this as his family came from a village which neighbored “Broadmayne” and was at times known as Maine. There is also a small village in England that was once named Maine, though the connection to the state Maine is not known, if that is the origin. In whatever case, the name was finally officially set by King Charles of England in 1665 when he ordered that the “province of Maine” be forever known as such.
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- Maine is the only state in the United States whose name has only one syllable.
- Eastport Maine is the most eastern city in the United States.
- About 40 million pounds of the United States’ lobster supply (about 90 percent) is caught off the coast of Maine annually.
- Maine also produces about 25% of all the blueberries in the United States, making it the largest producer of blueberries in the world.
- It’s other great export is toothpicks; Maine produces 90% of the United States’ toothpick supply.
- The first English settlement in Maine was established by the Plymouth Company at Popham in 1607; this was the same year Jamestown was settled. The Popham colony however, was not able to survive Maine’s harsh winters, which is why Jamestown is considered to be the nations first permanent English speaking settlement.
- Maine native Joshua L. Chamberlain was the last Civil War soldier to die of wounds incurred in the Civil War. He also has the distinction of being the only soldier to be battlefield promoted to General.
- Maine has a total area of about 33,215 square miles making it slightly larger than the other five New England states combined.
- 90% of the land in Maine is forested (about 17 million acres), much of which is uninhabited.
- Maine is the only state to border just one other state, that being New Hampshire.
- Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820 through the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Maine and Missouri into the union about the same time (separated by under a year), thus keeping a balance between slave and free states.
- The original capital of Maine was Portland, but it was later changed to Augusta in 1832 to make the capital more central within the state.
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