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State of Maine

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived either from the French for a historical district of France, or from the early use of "main" to distinguish coast from islands.

NICKNAME: The Pine Tree State.

CAPITAL: Augusta.

ENTERED UNION: 15 March 1820 (23rd).

SONG: "State of Maine Song."

MOTTO: Dirigo ("I direct" or "I lead").

COAT OF ARMS: A farmer and sailor support a shield on which are depicted a pine tree, a moose, and water. Under the shield is the name of the state; above it are the state motto and the North Star.

FLAG: The coat of arms is on a blue field, with a yellow fringed border surrounding three sides.

OFFICIAL SEAL: Same as the coat of arms.

BIRD: Chickadee.

FISH: Landlocked salmon.

FLOWER: White pine cone, tassel; wintergreen (herb).

TREE: White pine.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Patriots' Day, 3rd Monday in April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November and day following; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.


Situated in the extreme northeastern corner of the United States, Maine is the nation's most easterly state, the largest in New England, and 39th in size among the 50 states.

The total area of Maine is 33,265 sq mi (86,156 sq km), including 30,995 sq mi (80,277 sq km) of land and 2,270 sq mi (5,879 sq km) of inland water. Maine extends 207 mi (333 km) e-w; the maximum n-s extension is 322 mi (518 km).

Maine is bordered on the n by the Canadian provinces of Quebec (with the line passing through the St. Francis River) and New Brunswick (with the boundary formed by the St. John River); on the e by New Brunswick (with the lower eastern boundary formed by the Chiputneticook Lakes and the St. Croix River); on the se and s by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the w by New Hampshire (with the line passing through the Piscataqua and Salmon Falls rivers in the sw) and Quebec.

Hundreds of islands dot Maine's coast. The largest is Mt. Desert Island; others include Deer Isle, Vinalhaven, and Isle au Haut. The total boundary length of Maine is 883 mi (1,421 km).

The state's geographic center is in Piscataquis County, 18 mi (29 km) n of Dover-Foxcroft. The easternmost point of the United States is West Quoddy Head, at 66°57w.


Maine is divided into four main regions: coastal lowlands, piedmont, mountains, and uplands.

The narrow coastal lowlands extend, on average, 10-20 mi (16-32 km) inland from the irregular coastline, but occasionally disappear altogether, as at Mt. Desert Island and on the western shore of Penobscot Bay. Mt. Cadillac on Mt. Desert Island rises abruptly to 1,532 ft (467 m), the highest elevation on the Atlantic coast north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The transitional hilly belt, or piedmont, broadens from about 30 mi (48 km) wide in the southwestern part of the state to about 80 mi (129 km) in the northeast.

Maine's mountain region, the Longfellow range, is at the northeastern end of the Appalachian Mountain system. This zone, extending into Maine from the western border for about 150 mi (250 km) and averaging about 50 mi (80 km) wide, contains nine peaks over 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including Mt. Katahdin, which at 5,267 ft (1,606 m) is the highest point in the state. The summit of Katahdin marks the northern terminus of the 2,000-mi (3,200-km) Appalachian Trail. Maine's uplands form a high, relatively flat plateau extending northward beyond the mountains and sloping downward toward the north and east. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 600 ft (183 m). The eastern part of this zone is the Aroostook potato-farming region; the western part is heavily forested.

Of Maine's more than 2,200 lakes and ponds, the largest are Moosehead Lake, 117 sq mi (303 sq km), and Sebago Lake, 13 mi (21 km) by 10 mi (16 km). Of the more than 5,000 rivers and streams, the Penobscot, Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Saco rivers drain historically and commercially important valleys. The longest river in Maine is the St. John, but it runs for most of its length in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The lowest point of the state is at sea level at the Atlantic Ocean.


Maine has three climatic regions: the northern interior zone, comprising roughly the northern half of the state, between Quebec and New Brunswick; the southern interior zone; and the coastal zone. The northern zone is both drier and cooler in all four seasons than either of the other zones, while the coastal zone is more moderate in temperature year-round than the other two.

The annual mean temperature in the northern zone is about 40°f (5°c); in the southern interior zone, 44°f (7°c); and in the coastal zone, 46°f (8°c). Record temperatures for the state are 48°f (44°c), registered at Van Buren on 19 January 1925, and 105°f (41°c) at North Bridgton on 10 July 1911. The mean annual precipitation increases from 40.2 in (102 cm) in the north to 41.5 in (105 cm) in the southern interior and 45.7 in (116 cm) on the coast. Average annual precipitation at Portland is about 43.6 in (110 cm); average annual snowfall is 70.5 in (179 cm).


Maine's forests are largely softwoods, chiefly red and white spruces, balsam fir (Abies balsamea), eastern hemlock, and white and red pine. Important hardwoods include beech, yellow and white birches, sugar and red maples, white oak, black willow, black and white ashes, and American elm, which has fallen victim in recent years to Dutch elm disease. Maine is home to most of the flowers and shrubs common to the north temperate zone, including an important commercial resource, the low-bush blueberry. Maine has seventeen rare orchid species. Two species, the small whorled pogonia and the eastern prairie fringed orchid, were classified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened as of April 2006; the furbish lousewart was classified as endangered that year.

About 30,000 white-tailed deer are killed by hunters in Maine each year, but the herd does not appear to diminish. Moose hunting was banned in Maine in 1935; however, in 1980, 700 moose-hunting permits were issued for a six-day season, and moose hunting has continued despite attempts by some residents to ban the practice. Other common forest animals include the bobcat, beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink, fisher, raccoon, red fox, and snowshoe hare. The woodchuck is a conspicuous inhabitant of pastures, meadows, cornfields, and vegetable gardens. Seals, porpoises, and occasionally finback whales are found in coastal waters, along with virtually every variety of North Atlantic fish and shellfish, including the famous Maine lobster. Coastal waterfowl include the osprey, herring and great black-backed gulls, great and double-crested cormorants, and various duck species. Matinicus Rock, a small uninhabited island about 20 mi (32 km) off the coast near the entrance to Penobscot Bay, is the only known North American nesting site of the common puffin, or sea parrot.

Eleven Maine animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were classified as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006, including the bald eagle, piping plover, Atlantic Gulf of Maine salmon, two species of whale, and leather-back sea turtle.


The Department of Environmental Protection administers laws regulating the development of large residential, commercial, and industrial sites; the protection and improvement of air and water quality; the prevention and cleanup of oil spills; the control of hazardous wastes; the licensing of oil terminals; the protection of state-significant natural resources (including wetlands, rivers, streams and brooks, and fragile mountain areas); and mining. The Land Use Regulation Commission, established in 1969, extends the principles of town planning and zoning to Maine's 411 unorganized townships, 313 "plantations," and numerous coastal islands that have no local government and might otherwise be subject to ecologically unsound development. About 25% of the state contains wetlands; these generally owned by private landowners, timber companies, or other individuals.

In 2003, 9.3 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. Also in 2003, Maine had 59 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 12 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including Brunswick Naval Station, Loring Air Force Base, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. In 2005, the EPA spent over $1.7 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, the state received about $2 million in other federal EPA grants.


Maine ranked 40th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 1,321,505 in 2005, an increase of 3.7% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Maine's population grew from 1,227,928 to 1,274,923, an increase of 3.8%. The population is projected to reach 1.38 million by 2015 and 1.41 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 42.7 persons per sq mi.

In 2004 the median age was 40.7, the highest median in the nation. Persons under 18 years old accounted for 21.4% of the population while 14.4% was age 65 or older.

The area that now comprises the state of Maine was sparsely settled throughout the colonial period. At statehood, Maine had 298,335 residents. The population doubled by 1860, but then grew slowly until the 1970s, when its growth rate went above the national average.

More than half the population lives on less than one-seventh of the land, within 25 mi (40 km) of the Atlantic coast, and almost half of the state is virtually uninhabited. Although almost half of Maine's population is classified as urban; much of the urban population lives in towns and small cities. The state's major cities, all with populations under 100,000, are Portland, Bangor, and Lewiston-Auburn. The Portland metropolitan area had an estimated population of 510,791 in 2004. The Bangor metropolitan area had an estimated 148,196 people and the Lewiston-Auburn area had 107,022.


Maine's population is primarily Yankee, both in its English and Scotch-Irish origins and in its retention of many of the values and folkways of rural New England. The largest minority group consists of French-Canadians. Among those reporting at least one specific ancestry group in 2000, 274,423 claimed English ancestry; 181,663 French (not counting 110,344 who claimed Canadian or French-Canadian); and 192,901 Irish. There were 36,691 foreign-born residents. The population of Hispanics and Latinos in 2000 was 9,360, less than 1% of the state total. In 2004, 0.9% of the population was or Hispanic or Latino origin.

The most notable ethnic issue in Maine during the 1970s was the legal battle of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indiansliving on two reservations covering 27,546 acres (11,148 hectares)to recover 12,500,000 acres (5,059,000 hectares) of treaty lands. A compromise settlement in 1980 awarded them $81.5 million, two-thirds of which went into a fund enabling the Indians to purchase 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of timberland. In 1995, Maine's American Indian population included the following groups living on or near reservations (with population estimates): the Penob-scot Tribe (1,206); the Aristook Band of Micmac (1,155); Pleasant Point (878); the Passamaquoddy (722); and the Houlton Band of Maliseets (331). The Indian population as a whole was reported as 7,098 in 2000. In 2004, 0.6% of the population was composed of American Indians.

As of 2000, Maine had 6,760 black residents and 9,111 Asians, including 2,034 Chinese, 1,159 Filipinos, and 1,021 Asian Indians. Pacific Islanders numbered 382. In 2004, 0.7% of the population was black and 0.8% Asian. That year, 0.9% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


Descendants of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians of the Algonkian family who inhabited Maine at the time that European settlers arrived still lived there in the mid-1980s. Algonkian place-names abound: Saco, Millinocket, Wiscasset, Kennebec, Skowhegan.

Maine English is celebrated as typical Yankee speech. Final /r/ is absent, a vowel sound between /ah/ and the /a/ in cat appears in car and garden, aunt and calf. Coat and home have a vowel that to outsiders sounds like the vowel in cut. Maple syrup comes from rock or sugar maple trees in a sap or sugar orchard ; cottage cheese is curd cheese; and pancakes are fritters.

In 2000, 92.2% of Maine residents five years old or older reported speaking only English in the home, up from 90.8% in 1990.

The decline of parochial schools and a great increase in the number of young persons attending college have begun to erode the linguistic and cultural separateness that marks the history of the Franco-American experience in Maine.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Native North American languages" includes Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota, Keres, Pima, and Yupik. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Population 5 years and over 1,204,164 100.0
  Speak only English 1,110,198 92.2
  Speak a language other than English 93,966 7.8
Speak a language other than English 93,966 7.8
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 63,640 5.3
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 9,611 0.8
  German 4,006 0.3
  Italian 1,476 0.1
  Chinese 1,259 0.1
  Other Native North American languages 1,182 0.1
  Mon-Khmer, Cambodian 1,084 0.1
  Vietnamese 911 0.1
  Russian 896 0.1
  Other Indo-European languages 785 0.1
  Scandinavian languages 779 0.1
  Tagalog 771 0.1
  Greek 767 0.1
  Polish 763 0.1


Maine had about 217,676 Roman Catholics in 2004 and an estimated 8,290 Jews in 2000. The leading Protestant denominations are the United Methodist Church, with 31,689 adherents (in 2000); the American Baptists USA, 26,259 (in 2000); and the United Church of Christ, 23,086 (in 2005). The Muslim community had about 800 members. Over 800,000 people (about 63.6% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.


Railroad development in Maine, which reached its peak in 1924, has declined rapidly since World War II (193945), and passenger service has been dropped altogether. Although Maine had no Class I railroads in 2003, seven regional and local railroads operated on 1,148 rail mi (1,848 km) of track. As of 2006, Amtrak provided service to four stations in Maine via its north-south Downeaster train from Portland to Boston.

About three-quarters of all communities and about half the population depend entirely on highway trucking for the overland transportation of freight. In 2004, Maine had 22,748 mi (36,624 km) of public roads. In that same year, there were 1.086 million registered motor vehicles and 984,829 licensed drivers in the state. The Maine Turnpike and I-95, which coincide between Portland and Kittery, are the state's major highways.

River traffic has been central to the lumber industry. Only since World War II has trucking replaced seasonal log drives downstream from timberlands to the mills, a practice that is now outlawed for environmental reasons. Maine has 10 established seaports, with Portland and Searsport being the main depots for overseas shipping. In 2004, Portland harbor handled 29.709 million tons, and Searsport handled 1.832 million tons. Crude oil, fuel oil, and gasoline were the chief commodities. In 2004, Maine had 73 mi (117 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 31.698 million tons.

In 2005, Maine had a total of 153 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 103 airports, 13 heliports, and 37 seaplane bases. Portland International Jetport is the largest and most active airport in Maine. In 2004, Portland International had 687,344 passengers enplaned.


The first inhabitants of Mainedating from 3000 to 1000 bcare known to archaeologists as the Red Paint People because of the red ocher that has been found in their graves. This Paleolithic group had evidently disappeared long before the arrival of the Algonkian-speaking Abnaki (meaning "living at the sunrise"), or Wabanaki. Just at the time of European settlement, an intertribal war and a disastrous epidemic of smallpox swept away many of the Abnaki, some of whom had begun peaceful contacts with the English. After that, most Indian contacts with Europeans were with the French.

The first documented visit by a European to the Maine coast was that of Giovanni da Verrazano during his voyage of 1524, but one may infer from the record that the Abnaki he met there had encountered white men before. Sometime around 1600, English expeditions began fishing the Gulf of Maine regularly. The first recorded attempts to found permanent colonies, by the French on an island in the St. Croix River in 1604 and by the English at Sagadahoc in 1607, both failed. By 1630, however, there were permanent English settlements on several islands and at nearly a dozen spots along the coast.

The first grant of Maine lands was to Sir Ferdinando Gorges from the Council from New England, a joint-stock company that received and made royal grants of New England territory and which Gorges himself dominated. He and Captain John Mason received the territory between the Merrimack River (in present-day New Hampshire and Massachusetts) and the Kennebec River in 1622. Seven years later, the two grantees divided their land at the Piscataqua River, and Gorges became sole proprietor of the "Province of Maine." The source of the name is not quite clear. It seems likely that some connection with the historical French province of the same name was intended, but the name was also used to distinguish the mainland from the islands.

Sir Ferdinando's various schemes for governing the territory and promoting a feudal-style settlement never worked. A few years after his death in 1647, the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began absorbing the small Maine settlements. Massachusetts purchased the title to Maine from the Gorges heirs in 1677, and Maine became a district of Massachusetts with the issuance of a new royal charter in 1691. During the first hundred years of settlement, Maine's economy was based entirely on fishing, trading, and exploitation of the forests. The origin of the Maine shipbuilding industry, the early settlement of the interior parts of southern Maine, and the beginning of subsistence farming all date from about the time that New England's supply center of white-pine masts for the Royal Navy moved from Portsmouth, N.H., to Falmouth (now the city of Portland).

The first naval encounter of the Revolutionary War occurred in Machias Bay, when, on 12 June 1775, angry colonials captured the British armed schooner Margaretta. On 8 October 1775, a British naval squadron shelled and set fire to Falmouth. Wartime Maine was the scene of two anti-British campaigns, both of which ended in failure: an expedition through the Maine woods in the fall of 1775 intended to drive the British out of Quebec, and a disastrous 1779 expedition in which a Massachusetts amphibious force, failing to dislodge British troops at Castine, scuttled many of its own ships near the mouth of the Penobscot River.

The idea of separation from Massachusetts began surfacing as early as 1785, but popular pressure for such a movement did not mount until the War of 1812. The overwhelming vote for statehood in an 1819 referendum was a victory for William King, who would become the first governor, and his fellow Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans. Admission of Maine as a free state was joined with the admission of Missouri as a slave state in the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

Textile mills and shoe factories came to Maine between 1830 and 1860 as part of the industrialization of Massachusetts. After the Civil War, the revolution in papermaking that substituted wood pulp for rags brought a vigorous new industry to Maine. By 1900, Maine was one of the leading papermaking states in the United States, and the industry continues to dominate the state as of 2005. Shipbuilding joined paper manufacturing as a leading employer in the state, enjoying a boom in government contracts in the 1980s.

In 1972, the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indians filed a land claims suit against the federal government for property that amounted to the northern two-thirds of Maine, claiming that a 1794 treaty, under which the Passamaquoddy handed over most of its land while receiving nothing in exchange, had not been ratified by Congress, and therefore violated the Indian Non-Intercourse Act of 1790. The government settled the suit in 1980 by paying the tribes $81.5 million, which was allocated to purchase commercial and industrial properties in Maine.

The rise of tourism and the often conflicting concerns for economic development and environmental protection have been key issues in the state since the 1940s. Tourism grew substantially in the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s, especially in coastal areas, where an influx of residents changed the character of many seaside towns. Former seasonal resorts were converted to year-round communities, posing new challenges for growth management. The state's environmental concerns included sewage treatment, deforestation, overfishing, and hazardous waste disposal.

Maine's economy turned in its best performance in more than a decade in 1999, with strong job growth, continued increases in retail sales, and significant improvement in nearly all other indicators. The state's income growth topped the national average from 1998 to 1999, finishing among the five fastest growing states. According to government figures, income growth in Maine, which still had the lowest per capita income in New England, was fueled by higher wages in services, construction, finance, insurance, and real estate. At the same time, there were concerns that the gain in income was the result of Maine workers holding down more than one job in order to make ends meet. Analysts also warned that the hot state economy could be threatened by a shortage of workers, since the state's population was not growing at a commensurate rate.

Maine's economy suffered with that of the nation's in the early 2000s, coming on the back of a recession in 2001. By 2003, Maine had a $24 million budget deficit. Governor John Baldacci had plans to implement a large-scale healthcare program for state employees, open it to private employers, and pay for it without increased taxes. This plan, Dirigo Health, was signed into law in June 2003. A citizen initiative set for referendum in November 2003 was to mandate a large increase in state assistance to local school systems. It was rejected.

In 2005, the state was making plans for the closing of military bases, including the Brunswick Naval Air Station. Governor Baldacci created a Maine Office of Redevelopment and Re-employment with an Advisory Council to coordinate local and statewide interests with regard to the closures.


The Maine constitution, based on that of Massachusetts but incorporating a number of more democratic features, was adopted in 1819 and amended 169 times by January 2005. (This figure does not include one amendment approved by the voters in 1967 that is inoperative until implemented by legislation.) The state constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the legislature and a majority vote at the next general election.

The bicameral legislature, consisting of a 35-member Senate and a 151-member House of Representatives, convenes biennially (in even-numbered years) in joint session to elect the secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer. Legislative sessions begin in December of the general election year and run into June of the following (odd-numbered year); the second session begins in January of the next even-numbered year, runs into April, and is limited to consideration of budgetary matters, legislation in the governor's call, emergency legislation, and legislation referred to committees for study. The presiding officers of each house may jointly call for a special session as long as they have the support of a majority of members of each political party in each house. All legislators, who serve two-year terms, must have been US citizens for at least five years, residents of the state for at least one year, and have lived in their district at least three months prior to election. The minimum age for representatives is 21, for senators it is 25. The legislative salary in 2004 was $11,384 for the first year and $8,302 for the second.

The governor, who serves a four-year term and is limited to two consecutive terms, is the only official elected statewide. (Rules of succession dictate that should the governor become incapacitated, he or she would be succeeded by the president of the state Senate.) A gubernatorial veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting in each legislative chamber. An unsigned bill that is not vetoed becomes law after 10 days whether the legislature is in session or not. The governor must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least 15 years, and a state resident for 5 years. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $70,000, unchanged from 1999.

To vote in Maine, one must be a US citizen, a resident of the state and municipality, and at least 18 years old. Those under guardianship because of mental illness may not vote.


Maine's two major political parties are the Democratic and the Republican, each affiliated with the national party. An independent candidate, James B. Longley, beat the candidates of both major parties in the gubernatorial election of 1974.

During the early decades of statehood, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democrats remained in power quite consistently. In 1854, however, reformers rallied around the new Republican Party, which dominated Maine politics for the next hundred years. Maine's strong Republican tradition continued into the middle and late 1950s, when Margaret Chase Smith distinguished herself in the US Senate as a leader of national importance. The rise of Democrat Edmund S. Muskie, elected governor in 1954 and 1956 and to the first of four terms in the US Senate in 1960, signaled a change in Maine's political complexion. Muskie appealed personally to many traditionally Republican voters, but his party's resurgence was also the result of demographic changes, especially an increase in the proportion of French-Canadian voters.

Main Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**IND. candidate Ross Perot received 206,820 votes in 1992 and 85,970 votes in 1996.
1948 5 Dewey (R) 111,916 150,234
1952 5 *Eisenhower (R) 118,806 232,353
1956 5 *Eisenhower (R) 102,468 249,238
1960 5 *Eisenhower (R) 102,468 249,238
1960 5 Nixon (R) 181,159 240,608
1964 4 *Johnson (D) 262,264 118,701
1968 4 Humphrey (D) 217,312 169,254
1972 4 *Nixon (R) 160,584 256,458
1976 4 Ford (R) 232,279 236,320
1980 4 *Reagan (R) 220,974 238,522
1984 4 *Reagan (R) 214,515 336,550
1988 4 *Bush (R) 243,569 307,131
1992** 4 *Clinton (D) 263,420 206,504
1996** 4 *Clinton (D) 312,788 186,378
2000 4 Gore (D) 319,951 286,616
2004 4 Kerry (D) 396,842 330,201

In the November 1994 elections, Independent Angus King was voted into the executive Office, and Maine became the only state in the nation with an Independent governor. King was reelected in 1998. In 2002, Democrat John Baldacci was elected governor. In 1994 Republican Olympia Snowe won the US Senate seat vacated by retiring Democrat George J. Mitchell (she was reelected in 2000); in 1996 Republican Susan E. Collins won the seat left vacant by retiring three-term senator William S. Cohen, also a Republican (Collins was reelected in 2002). In the 2000 presidential elections Democrat Al Gore won 49% of the presidential vote, Republican George W. Bush received 44%, and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won 6%. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry won 53.4% in his challenge to incumbent President Bush, who garnered 44.6%. In 2004 elections, Maine Democrats retained control of both US House seats. Also in 2002 there were 957,000 registered voters. In 1998, 32% of registered voters were Democratic, 29% Republican, and 39% unaffiliated or members of other parties. In mid-2005, the state House of Representatives had 76 Democrats, 73 Republicans, and 2 independents, while the state Senate had 19 Democrats and 16 Republicans. The state had four electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.


The principal units of local government in 2005 included 16 counties, 22 municipal governments, 282 public school districts and 222 special districts. Maine's counties function primarily as judicial districts. As is customary in New England, the basic instrument of town government is the annual town meeting, with an elective board of selectmen supervising town affairs between meetings; some of the larger towns employ full-time town managers. In 2002, there were 467 townships in the state.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 54,868 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Maine operates under the authority of the governor; the emergency management director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

The State Board of Education and Department of Educational and Cultural Services supervise the public education system. The Department of Transportation, established in 1972, includes divisions responsible for aviation and railroads, a bureau to maintain highways and bridges, the Maine Port Authority, the State Ferry Advisory Board, and the Maine Aeronautical Advisory Board.

Various agencies responsible for health and social welfare were combined into the Department of Human Services in 1975 (now the Department of Health and Human Services). The Maine State Housing Authority, established in 1969, provides construction loans and technical assistance and conducts surveys of the state's housing needs. The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, an advisory and investigative body, was created in 1975 to serve as a watchdog over the legislature. Other organizations include the departments of agriculture, corrections, professional and financial legislation, and labor; and the bureaus of motor vehicles and parks and lands.


The highest state court in Maine is the Supreme Judicial Court, with a chief justice and six associate justices appointed by the governor (with the consent of the legislature) for seven-year terms (as are all other state judges). The Supreme Judicial Court has statewide appellate jurisdiction in all civil and criminal matters. The 16-member superior court, which has original jurisdiction in cases involving trial by jury and also hears some appeals, holds court sessions in all 16 counties. The district courts hear non-felony criminal cases and small claims and juvenile cases, and have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court in divorce and civil cases involving less than $30,000. A probate court judge is elected in each county.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 2,024 prisoners were held in Maine's state and federal prisons, an increase from 2,013 of 0.5% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 125 inmates were female, up from 124 or 0.8% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Maine had an incarceration rate of 148 per 100,000 population in 2004, the lowest in the United States.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maine in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 103.5 reported incidents per 100,000 population (the second-lowest in the United States after North Dakota), or a total of 1,364 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 31,740 reported incidents or 2,409.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Maine has not had a death penalty since 1887. The state does provide for life without parole.

In 2003, Maine spent $78,866,791 on homeland security, an average of $61 per state resident.


The largest US military installation in Maine is the Naval Air Station at Brunswick, home of a wing of anti-submarine patrol squadrons. Defense Department personnel in Maine totaled 11,051, including 4,535 active military and 5,216 civilians in 2004. State firms received over $1.5 billion in defense contracts in 2004. General Dynamics, a major defense contractor, is one of the state's largest private employers. Its Bath Iron Works division designs and builds complex, technologically advanced naval ships; another division, the Saco Operations, produces armament systems and is a leading producer of small and medium caliber machine guns, and cannon barrels, as well as, a test facility. In addition, another $805 million in defense payroll spending, including retired military pay, was paid out.

There were 143,726 veterans of US military service in Maine as of 2003, of whom 19,904 served in World War II; 16,954 in the Korean conflict; 45,061 during the Vietnam era; and 17,991 during the Gulf War. Expenditures on veterans amounted to some $503 million during 2004.

As of 31 October 2004, the Maine State Police employed 311 full-time sworn officers.


Throughout the 1600s, 1700s, and early 1800s, Maine's population grew primarily by immigration from elsewhere in New England. About 1830, after agriculture in the state had passed its peak, Maine farmers and woodsmen began moving west. Europeans and French Canadians came to the state, but not in sufficient numbers to offset this steady emigration.

Net losses from migration have continued through most of this century. Between 1940 and 1970, for example, the net loss was 163,000. However, there was a net gain of about 80,000 from 1970 to 1990. From 1980 to 1990, Maine's urban population declined from 47.5% to 44.6% of the state's total. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had a net loss of 15,000 in domestic migration and a net gain of 3,000 in international migration. In 1998, Maine admitted 709 foreign immigrants. Between 1990 and 1998, the State's overall population increased 1.3%. In the period 200005, net international migration was 5,004 and net internal migration was 36,804, for a net gain of 41,808 people.


Regional agreements in which Maine participates include the Maine-New Hampshire School Compact, which authorizes interstate public school districts. Maine also takes part in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Interstate Compact for Juveniles, Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact; and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control, Corrections Control, Board of Higher Education, and Radiological Health Protection compacts. In fiscal year 2005, Maine received $2.197 billion in federal grants; that figure fell to an estimated $2.125 billion in fiscal year 2006, before rising to an estimated $2.245 billion in fiscal year 2007.


Maine's greatest economic strengths, as they have been since the beginning of European settlement, are its forests and waters, yielding wood products, water power, fisheries, and ocean commerce. As of 2005, paper manufacturing, for which both forests and water power are essential, was among the largest industries. However, since the 1980s manufacturing employment has dropped; and especially since 1992, services sector and trading sector employment has risen.

Maine's greatest current economic weakness is its limited access to the national transportation network that links major production and manufacturing centers with large metropolitan markets. On the other hand, this relative isolation, combined with the state's traditional natural assets, has contributed to Maine's attractiveness as a place for tourism and recreation. It also meant that the national recession in 2001 largely bypassed Maine's economy because of its limited involvement in the growth fields of information technology and equity venture capitalism. Annual growth in Maine's gross state product, which at 5.9% in both 1998 and 1999, and rising to 6.4% in 2000, did moderate to 3.2% in 2001, but employment had returned to peak levels reached before the recession by mid-2002. Tax revenue shortfalls were also less than other New England states, all more affected by the abrupt decline in capital gains income.

Maine's gross state product in 2004 totaled $43.336 billion, of which real estate was the largest component at $5.821 billion or 13.4% of GSP, followed by manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) at $5.177 billion (11.9% of GSP), and healthcare and social assistance at $4.554 billion (10.5% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 141,936 small businesses in Maine. Of the 40,304 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 39,288 or 97.5% were small companies. An estimated 4,300 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 6.6% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 4,987, up 5.8% from 2003. There were 138 business bankruptcies in 2004, up 31.4% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 352 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Maine as the 44th highest in the nation.


In 2005 Maine had a gross state product (GSP) of $45 billion which accounted for 0.4% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 44 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Maine had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $30,046. This ranked 34th in the United States and was 91% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.5%. Maine had a total personal income (TPI) of $39,510,398,000, which ranked 41st in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.0% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.1%. Earnings of persons employed in Maine increased from $26,649,983,000 in 2003 to $28,240,580,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.0%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $39,395 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 12.2% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Maine numbered 716,300, with approximately 30,000 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.2%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 613,300. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Maine was 9% in March 1977. The historical low was 3% in January 2001. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 5% of the labor force was employed in construction; 9.7% in manufacturing; 20.4% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5.5% in financial activities; 8.3% in professional and business services; 18.4% in education and health services; 9.7% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.1% in government.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 69,000 of Maine's 582,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 11.9% of those so employed, up from 11.3% in 2004, but still below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 79,000 workers (13.6%) in Maine were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Maine is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Maine had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $6.50 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 48.1% of the employed civilian labor force.


Maine's gross farm income in 2005 was $546 million (43rd in the United States). There were 7,200 farms in 2004, with an estimated 1,370,000 acres (554,000 hectares) of land.

Maine's agriculture and food processing industries contribute over $1 billion annually to the state's economy. Maine produces more food crops for human consumption than any other New England state. Maine ranks first in the world in the production of blueberries, producing over 25% of the total blueberry crop and over 50% of the world's wild blueberries. Maine is also home to the largest bio-agricultural firm in the world, which produces breeding stock for the broiler industry worldwide. In New England, Maine ranks first in potato production and second in the production of milk and apples. Nationally, Maine ranks third in maple syrup and seventh in potatoes with 19,220,000 hundredweight. The greenhouse/nursery and wild blueberry sectors have also shown steady growth in total sales since 1990.


In 2005, Maine had an estimated 92,000 cattle and calves worth around $101.2 million. Dairy farmers had an estimated 35,000 milk cows, which produced 624 million lb (283.6 million kg) of milk in 2003. Poultry farmers sold an estimated 10.2 million lb (4.6 million kg) of chickens in the same year. South-central Maine is the leading poultry region.


Fishing has been important to the economy of Maine since its settlement. In 2004, Maine landings brought a total of 208.4 million lb (84.3 million kg) with a value of $315.8 million (the third highest value in the nation). Rockland and Portland were main ports.

The most valuable Maine fishery product is the lobster. In 2004, Maine led the nation in landings of American lobster for the 23rd consecutive year, with 58.5 million lb (26.6 million kg), valued at $238.5 million. Flounder, halibut, scallops, and shrimp are also caught. Maine also was the leading state in soft clams catch, with 2.4 million lb of meats (1.1 million kg) in 2004. In 2003, there were 35 processing and 176 wholesale plants in the state, with a total of about 1,780 employees. The state commercial fleet in 2001 had 5,836 boats and 1,656 vessels.

In 2004, Maine had 15 trout farms, with sales of $363,000. Maine has nine inland fish hatcheries and hosts two national fish hatcheries. In 2004, there were 270,698 licensed sports fishing participants in the state.


Maine's 17.7 million acres (7.2 million hectares) of forest in 2003 contained over 3.6 billion trees and covered 90% of the state's land area, the largest percentage for any state in the United States. About 16,952,000 acres (6,860,000 hectares) are classified as commercial timberland, over 96% of it privately owned, and half of that by a dozen large paper companies and land managing corporations. Principal commercial hardwood include ash, hard maple, white and yellow birch, beech, and oak; commercially significant softwoods include white pine, hemlock, cedar, spruce, and fir. Total lumber production in 2004 was 964 million board feet, of which 86% was softwood.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Maine in 2003 was $100 million, only a marginal increase from 2002.

Construction minerals and materials accounted for the bulk of the state's nonfuel mineral output, by value, in 2003. According to the USGS, construction sand and gravel, and crushed stone collectively accounted for around 65% of the state's nonfuel mineral output, by value that year. According to the preliminary data, Maine produced 9.3 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel, with a value of $39.1 million, while crushed stone output stood at 4.4 million metric tons and was valued at $26 million. Portland cement and dimension granite were also important nonfuel mineral commodities produced in Maine that same year.

In 2003, Maine was ranked 12th among the 50 states in the production of gemstones by value ($262,000), according to the USGS data.


As of 2003, Maine had 29 electrical power service providers, of which 4 were publicly owned and 3 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, one was investor owned, two were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers, fourteen were generation-only suppliers and five were delivery-only providers. As of that same year there were 760,859 retail customers. Of that total, energy only suppliers had 748,446 customers, while only 33 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 2,402 customers, and publicly owned providers had 9,976 customers. There were only two independent generator or "facility" customers. There was no customer data on delivery-only service providers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 4.285 million kW, with total production that same year at 18.971 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, all of it (100%) came from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 9.438 billion kWh (49.8%), came from natural gas fired plants, with plants using other renewable sources in second place with 3.909 billion kWh (20.6%) and hydroelectric plants in third place at 3.172 billion kWh (16.7%). Petroleum and coal fueled power plants accounted for 10.1% and 2% of all power generated, respectively, while "other" types of generating facilities accounted for 0.8%.

Maine no longer generates electricity through nuclear power. Citing economic and regulatory concerns, the owners of Maine's only nuclear power plant, the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company plant in Wicasset, was shut down in 1997, and as of 2003 it was being dismantled and the site restored for other uses.

With no proven reserves or production of crude oil, coal or natural gas, all these products, must be imported into the state from either abroad or from other states. Natural gas is piped into the southwest corner of the state, and is available in Portland and the Lewiston-Auburn area.


Manufacturing in Maine has always been dependent upon the forests. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the staples of Maine industry were shipbuilding and lumber; as of 2005, papermaking and wood products, footwear, textiles and apparel, shipbuilding, and electronic components and accessories are all important industries.

Maine has the largest paper-production capacity of any state in the nation. There are large paper mills and pulp mills in more than a dozen towns and cities. As of 2004, wood-related industriespaper, lumber, wood productsaccounted for about 25% of the value of all manufactured product shipments by value.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Maine's manufacturing sector covered some 16 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $13.656 billion. Of that total, paper manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $3.601 billion. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing at $2.019 billion; food manufacturing at $1.623 billion; wood and paper product manufacturing at $1.240 billion; computer and electronic product manufacturing at $760.719 million; and fabricated metal product manufacturing at $710.573 million.

In 2004, a total of 57,901 people in Maine were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 42,472 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the transportation equipment manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 9,005, with 6,618 actual production workers. It was followed by paper manufacturing at 8,454 employees (6,800 actual production workers); food manufacturing at 7,708 employees (5,206 actual production workers); wood product manufacturing at 5,700 employees (4,452 actual production workers); and fabricated metal product manufacturing with 3,996 employees (2,978 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Maine's manufacturing sector paid $2.316 billion in wages. Of that amount, the paper manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $489.690 million. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing at $373.078 million; food manufacturing at $251.645 million; wood product manufacturing at $183.615 million; and computer and electronic product manufacturing at $167.160 million.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Maine's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $10.3 billion from 1,669 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 927 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 662 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 80 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $3 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $6.7 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $584.3 million.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Maine was listed as having 7,050 retail establishments with sales of $16.05 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: miscellaneous store retailers (943); food and beverage stores (940); gasoline stations (893); clothing and clothing accessories stores (636); and building materials/garden equipment and supplies dealers (635). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $3.7 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $2.7 billion; general merchandise stores at $1.9 billion; gasoline stations at $1.49 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $1.40 billion. A total of 80,251 people were employed by the retail sector in Maine that year.

Maine has shipping facilities located in Portland, Searsport, and Eastport. Exports from Maine totaled $2.3 billion in 2005. Maine's largest trading partners are Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and the UK.


Consumer protection issues in Maine are handled by the state's Attorney General's Office and the Bureau of Financial Institutions. Under the Attorney General's Office are the Consumer Protection Division and the Office of Credit Regulation. The Consumer Protection Division is responsible for the protection of consumers through enforcement of a wide variety of laws including Maine's Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the state's merger statute, the Mini-Sherman Act. The Division also provides a consumer mediation service under its Consumer Mediation Program, which uses volunteer mediators to resolve disputes between businesses and consumers.

The second department is the Office of Consumer Credit Regulation which was established in 1974 to protect state residents from unjust and misleading consumer credit practices, particularly in relation to the federal Truth-in-Lending Act. The agency also administers state laws regulating collection agencies, credit reporting agencies, mortgage companies, loan brokers, rent-to-own companies, pawn brokers, money order issuers, check cashers, and money transmitters.

However, consumer complaints regarding credit cards and banks are the responsibility of the Bureau of Financial Institution's Consumer Outreach Program.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and initiate criminal proceedings. However, the Attorney General cannot represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The Office of Consumer Credit Regulation and the Consumer Protection Division are both located in Augusta.


As of June 2005, Maine had 37 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 12 state-chartered and 63 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 22 institutions and $8.021 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 7.9% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $3.974 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 92.1% or $46.590 billion in assets held.

Regulation of Maine's state-chartered banks is the responsibility of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation's Bureau of Banking.


In 2004 there were 583,000 individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of about $43.8 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was about $81 billion. The average coverage amount is $75,200 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled at about $197.4 million.

In 2003, there were 2 life and health and 23 property and casualty insurance companies were domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $1.89 billion. That year, there were 7,064 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of 1 billion.

In 2004, 51% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 10% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 18% for single coverage and 28% for family coverage. The state offers a 12-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were 979.487 auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $50,000 per individual and $100,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $25,000. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance are also mandatory. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $630.79.


There are no securities or commodities exchanges in Maine. In 2005, there were 300 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 850 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were at least sixteen publicly traded companies within the state, with seven NASDAQ companies, two NYSE listings, and four AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had one Fortune 500 company, Energy East, locate in New Gloucester. Listed on the NYSE, Energy East was 405 on the list of 500 largest companies in the nation, with revenues in excess of $5.2 billion.


Maine's biennial budget is prepared by the Bureau of the Budget, within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, and submitted by the governor to the Legislature for consideration. The fiscal year (FY) extends from 1 July to 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $2.8 billion for resources and $2.8 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Maine were $2.7 billion.

MaineState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols:zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 8,309,930 6,319.34
  General revenue 6,795,343 5,167.56
    Intergovernmental revenue 2,573,528 1,957.06
    Taxes 2,896,759 2,202.86
      General sales 917,248 697.53
      Selective sales 442,904 336.81
      License taxes 158,199 120.30
      Individual income tax 1,160,028 882.15
      Corporate income tax 111,616 84.88
Other taxes 106,764 81.19
    Current charges 537,145 408.48
    Miscellaneous general revenue 787,911 599.17
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue 90,996 69.20
  Insurance trust revenue 1,423,591 1,082.58
Total expenditure 7,322,061 5,568.11
  Intergovernmental expenditure 1,049,160 797.84
  Direct expenditure 6,272,901 4,770.27
    Current operation 4,809,684 3,657.55
    Capital outlay 412,412 313.62
    Insurance benefits and repayments 588,977 447.89
    Assistance and subsidies 209,796 159.54
    Interest on debt 252,032 191.66
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 667,051 507.26
Total expenditure 7,322,061 5,568.11
  General expenditure 6,671,149 5,073.12
    Intergovernmental expenditure 1,049,160 797.84
    Direct expenditure 5,621,989 4,275.28
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 1,653,605 1,257.49
    Public welfare 2,286,375 1,738.69
    Hospitals 54,515 41.46
    Health 437,145 332.43
    Highways 536,777 408.20
    Police protection 61,840 47.03
    Correction 112,083 85.23
    Natural resources 186,889 142.12
    Parks and recreation 11,225 8.54
    Government administration 256,764 195.26
    Interest on general debt 252,032 191.66
    Other and unallocable 821,899 625.02
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure 61,935 47.10
  Insurance trust expenditure 588,977 447.89
Debt at end of fiscal year 4,643,988 3,531.55
Cash and security holdings 13,952,432 10,610.21

On 5 January 2006 the federal government released $100 million in emergency contingency funds targeted to the areas with the greatest need, including $1.6 million for Maine.


In 2005, Maine collected $3,071 million in tax revenues or $2,323 per capita, which placed it 19th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 1.4% of the total, sales taxes 30.4%, selective sales taxes 13.9%, individual income taxes 42.3%, corporate income taxes 4.4%, and other taxes 7.5%.

As of 1 January 2006, Maine had four individual income tax brackets ranging from 2.0 to 8.5%. The state taxes corporations at rates ranging from 3.5 to 8.93% depending on tax bracket.

In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $2,099,394,000 or $1,596 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state sixth-highest nationally. Local governments collected $2,054,086,000 of the total and the state government $45,308,000.

Maine taxes retail sales at a rate of 5%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 200 cents per pack, which ranks fourth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Maine taxes gasoline at 25.9 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Maine citizens received $1.40 in federal spending.


The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) encourages industrial and recreational projects by insuring mortgage loans, selling tax-exempt bonds to aid industrial development and natural-resource enterprises, authorizing municipalities to issue such revenue bonds, and guaranteeing loans to small businesses, veterans, and natural-resource enterprises. The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), created in 1987, provides technical, financial, training, and marketing assistance for existing Maine businesses and companies interested in establishing operations in the state. The DECD offers programs in the areas of business development, international trade, tourism, film, and community development. Pine Tree Development Zone (PTDZ) legislation was enacted in 2003 and amended in 2005. The initiative supports new "qualified business activity" in Maine by offering manufacturers, financial service businesses, and targeted technology companies the chance to greatly reduce, or in some cases, virtually eliminate state taxes for up to 10 years.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 6.1 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 10.6 per 1,000 population, the lowest rate in the country for that year. The abortion rate stood at 9.9 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 87.5% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 82% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.6 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 244.9; cancer, 247.7; cerebrovascular diseases, 63.6; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 61.1; and diabetes, 31.2. Maine had the second-highest cancer death rate in the nation, following West Virginia. The mortality rate from HIV infection was not available. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 4.6 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 55.9% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.9% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, Maine had 37 community hospitals with about 3,700 beds. There were about 149,000 patient admissions that year and 6.5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 2,200 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,416. Also in 2003, there were about 119 certified nursing facilities in the state with 7,552 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 92.1%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 69.6% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Maine had 302 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 1,009 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 629 dentists in the state.

In 2003, Maine ranked first in the nation for the highest percentage of residents on Medicaid at 29%. In 2004, the state had the second-highest percentage of residents on Medicare at 18%. Approximately 10% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $2.1 million.


In 2004, about 33,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $235. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 152,910 persons (78,170 households); the average monthly benefit was about $88.40 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $162.2 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Maine's TANF work program is called Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment (ASPIRE). In 2004, the state program had 27,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $87 million in fiscal year 2003.

Despite Maine's relatively low personal income and large proportion of residents below the poverty level, welfare payments per capita generally fall short of the national norms. In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 265,470 Maine residents. This number included 160,320 retired workers, 25,390 widows and widowers, 43,580 disabled workers, 13,590 spouses, and 22,590 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 20.2% of the total state population and 95.3% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $882; widows and widowers, $856; disabled workers, $819; and spouses, $444. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $451 per month; children of deceased workers, $630; and children of disabled workers, $231. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 31,641 Maine residents, averaging $364 a month. An additional $615,000 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 32,557 residents.


Housing for Maine families has improved substantially since 1960, when the federal census categorized 57,000 of Maine's 364,650 housing units as deteriorated or dilapidated. Between 1970 and 1989, over 200,000 new units were built. However, as of 2004, about 31.7% of the entire housing stock was built in 1939 or earlier.

There were an estimated 676,667 housing units in Maine in 2004. Approximately 534,412 of the total units were occupied, with 72.9% being owner-occupied. About 68.9% of all units are single-family, detached homes. Fuel oils and kerosene are the primary heating fuel for most units. It was estimated that 12,214 units lacked telephone service, 3,771 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 3,336 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.39 members.

In 2004, 8,800 privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value is $143,182. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,020. Renters paid a median of $582 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $548,824 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $14 million in community development block grants.


In 2004, 87.1% of Maine residents age 25 and older were high school graduates; 24.2% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Maine's public schools stood at 204,000. Of these, 142,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 63,000 attended high school. Approximately 95.8% of the students were white, 1.7% were black, 0.8% were Hispanic, 1.2% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.5% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 200,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 178,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 12.8% during the period 2002 to 2014. In fall 2003 there were 20,696 students enrolled in 151 private schools. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $2.2 billion or $9,534 per student. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005 eighth graders in Maine scored 281 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 63,308 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 4.9% of total postsecondary enrollment. As of 2005 Maine had 30 degree-granting institutions. Since 1968, the state's public colleges and universities have been incorporated into a single University of Maine System. The original land grant campus is at Orono; the other major campus in the system is the University of Southern Maine at Portland and Gorham. The state also operates the Maine Maritime Academy at Castine and the Maine Technical College System, comprised of seven technical colleges. Of the state's private colleges and professional schools, Bowdoin College in Bruns-wick, Colby College in Waterville, and Bates College in Lewiston are the best known.


Maine has long held an attraction for painters and artists, Win-slow Homer and Andrew Wyeth among them. The state abounds in summer theaters, the oldest and most famous of which is at Ogunquit. The Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the nation's leading summer theaters and in 2006 it celebrated its 74th anniversary. The Portland Symphony (est. 1923) is Maine's leading orchestra and is recognized as one of the nation's top orchestras of its size. Augusta and Bangor also host symphonies. The Maine State Ballet Company is based in Westbrook. The Portland Ballet is also well known in the state. The Bossov Ballet Theatre in Pittsfield is part of a boarding school for high school students looking for rigorous preprofessional training in dance. In 2001, the Maine Grand Opera Company gave its first performances, at the Camden Opera House. There are many local theater groups.

The Arcady Summer Music Festival (est. 1980) specializes in chamber music performances. The annual Bowdoin Summer Music Festival (est. 1964), presented at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, provides programs for over 200 studentsranging from high school to graduate studiesannually.

In 1979, Maine became the first state to allow inheritance taxes to be paid with qualified artworks. The Maine Arts Commission is an independent state agency funded in part by the Maine State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. The state Department of Educational and Cultural Services has an Arts and Humanities Bureau that provides funds to artists in residence, Maine touring artists, and community arts councils. In 2005, the Maine Arts Commission and other Maine arts organizations received 20 grants totaling $956,826 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funds are provided from the state and other private sources.

The Maine Humanities Council (MHC), founded in 1975, provides support to approximately 100 nonprofit art organizations each year. In 2004, MHC awarded 87 grants to 81 organizations throughout the state. Several ongoing reading programs sponsored in part by MHC include "Born to Read," for children and youth; "New Books, New Readers," for adult learners; and "Let's Talk About It," for adult readers. In 2005, the state received 10 grants totaling $1,021,426 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


For the calendar year 2001, Maine had 273 public library systems, with a total of 280 libraries, of which there were seven branches. In that same year, the system had 5,891,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a combined total circulation of 8,155,000. The system also had 126,000 audio and 135,000 video items, and 2,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks). Leading libraries and their book holdings in 1998 included the Maine State Library at Augusta (150,000 volumes), Bowdoin College at Brunswick (901,589), and the University of Maine School of Law (300,000). In 2001, operating income for the state's public library system was $27,985,000, which included $$1,000 in federal grants and $174,000 in state grants.

Maine has at least 121 museums and historic sites. The Maine State Museum in Augusta houses collections in history, natural history, anthropology, marine studies, mineralogy, science, and technology. The privately supported Maine Historical Society in Portland maintains a research library and the Wadsworth Longfellow House, the boyhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The largest of several maritime museums is in Bath.


In 2004, 96.6% of occupied housing units had telephones. In addition, by June of that same year there were 610,533 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 67.8% of Maine households had a computer and 57.9% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 176,816 high-speed lines in Maine, 165,428 residential and 11,388 for business.

Maine had 33 major commercial radio stations (5 AM, 28 FM) in 2005, along with 11 major television stations. Educational television stations broadcast from Bangor, Calais, Lewiston, Portland, and Presque Isle. By 2000, a total of 25,583 Internet domain names had been registered in Maine.


Maine had seven daily newspapers in 2005 and four papers with Sunday editions.

The most widely read newspapers with approximate 2005 circulation numbers are as follows:

Augusta Kennebec Journal (m,S) 15.167 14.422
Bangor Daily News (m.S) 62.462 74.754 (wknd)
Portland Press Herald/Sunday Telegram 77.788 125,858

Regional interest magazines include Maine Times and Down East.


In 2006, there were over 2,300 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 1,660 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Among the organizations with headquarters in Maine are the Maine Potato Council (Presque Isle), the Maine Lobstermen's Association (Stonington), the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (Bar Harbor), and the Potato Association of America (Orono).

State and local organizations for arts and education include the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine, Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Folklife Center, the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Humanities Council, Maine Preservation, and the National Poetry Foundation, based at the University of Maine. There are a number of smaller local arts organizations and municipal and regional historical societies as well.


In 2004, the state of Maine hosted 43 million travelers who spent $13.6 billion. About 34 million travelers were on day trips throughout the state, with nearly 71% of tourist activity involved out-of-state travelers. There were 8.9 million overnight trips. Tourism generated 176,600 jobs and created $3.8 billion in revenue. Though Maine is a year-round resort destination, 59% of travelers arrive during the months of July, August, and September. Sightseeing and outdoor activities are the primary tourist attractions.

In the summer, the southern coast offers sandy beaches, icy surf, and several small harbors for sailing and saltwater fishing. Northeastward, the scenery becomes more rugged and spectacular, and sailing and hiking are the primary activities. Hundreds of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams offer opportunities for freshwater bathing, boating, and fishing. Whitewater canoeing lures the adventurous along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine. Maine has always attracted hunters, especially during the fall deer season. Wintertime recreation facilities include nearly 60 ski areas and countless opportunities for cross-country skiing.

There are 12 state parks and beaches. Baxter State Park in central Maine includes Mount Katahdin. Acadia National Park is a popular attraction, along with other wildlife areas, refuges, and forests. Aroostook, Maine's largest and northernmost county, has five state parks. The state fair is held at Bangor. The Acadia area features Acadia National Park and the site of Campobello, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's summer home. The area containing the Kennebec and Moose rivers and Lake George has three state parks. Kennebunkport on the southern coast is the site of the family home of President George H. W. Bush. Route 1, between Kittery and Fort Kent, has the largest three-dimensional model of the solar system in the world.


Maine has no major professional sports teams. The Portland Pirates (a minor league hockey team) of the American Hockey League play on their home ice at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. Minor league baseball's Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League play their games at Hadlock Field, which opened in 1994. Harness racing is held at Scarborough Downs and other tracks and fairgrounds throughout the state. Sailing is a popular participant sport with a Windsummer Festival held each July at Boothbay Harbor and a Retired Skippers Race at Castine in August. Joan Benoit-Samuelson, famous distance runner during the 1980s, was born in Cape Elizabeth.


The highest federal officeholders born in Maine were Hannibal Hamlin (180991), the nation's first Republican vice president, under Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson A. Rockefeller (190879), governor of New York State from 1959 to 1973 and US vice president under Gerald Ford. James G. Blaine (b.Pennsylvania, 183093), a lawyer and politician, served 13 years as a US representative from Maine and a term in the Senate; on his third try, he won the Republican presidential nomination in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland, later serving as secretary of state (188992) under Benjamin Harrison. Edmund S. Muskie (191496), leader of the Democratic revival in Maine in the 1950s, followed two successful terms as governor with 21 years in the Senate until appointed secretary of state by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Other conspicuous state and national officeholders have included Rufus King (17551827), a member of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention and US minister to Great Britain; William King (17681852), leader of the movement for Maine statehood and the state's first governor; Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, (18281914), Civil War hero and four-term governor who established the college that eventually became the University of Maine; Thomas Bracket Reed (18391902), longtime speaker of the US House of Representatives; and Margaret Chase Smith (18971995), who served longer in the US Senate24 yearsthan any other woman.

Names prominent in Maine's colonial history include those of Sir Ferdinando Gorges (b.England, 15661647), the founder and proprietor of the colony; Sir William Phips (165195), who became the first American knight for his recovery of a Spanish treasure, later serving as royal governor of Massachusetts; and Sir William Pepperrell (16961759), who led the successful New England expedition against Louisburg in 1745, for which he became the first American-born baronet.

Maine claims a large number of well-known reformers and humanitarians: Dorothea Lynde Dix (180287), who led the movement for hospitals for the insane; Elijah Parish Lovejoy (180237), an abolitionist killed while defending his printing press from a proslavery mob in St. Louis, Missouri; Neal Dow (180497), who drafted and secured passage of the Maine prohibition laws of 1846 and 1851, later served as a Civil War general, and ran for president on the Prohibition Party ticket in 1880; and Harriet Beecher Stowe (b.Connecticut, 181196), whose Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was written in Maine.

Other important writers include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (180782), born in Portland while Maine was still part of Massachusetts; humorist Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne, 183467); Sarah Orne Jewett (18491909), novelist and short-story writer; Kate Douglas Wiggin (18561923), author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; Kenneth Roberts (18851957), historical novelist; and Robert Peter Tristram Coffin (18921955), poet, essayist, and novelist. Edwin Arlington Robinson (18691935) and Edna St. Vincent Millay (18921950) were both Pulitzer Prize-winning poets, and novelist Marguerite Yourcenar (b.Belgium, 190387), a resident of Mt. Desert Island, became in 1980 the first woman ever elected to the Académie Française. Winslow Homer (b.Massachusetts, 18361910) had a summer home at Prouts Neck, where he painted many of his seascapes.


Alampi, Gary (ed.). Gale State Rankings Reporter. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1994.

Beem, Edgar Allen. Maine: the Spirit of America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.

Goulka, Jeremiah E. (ed.). The Grand Old Man of Maine: Selected Letters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, 18651914. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Churchill, Edwin A., Joel W. Eastman, and Richard W. Judd (eds.). Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1995.

Cities of the United States. 5th ed. Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, 2005.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

FDIC, Division of Research and Statistics. Statistics on Banking: A Statistical Profile of the United States Banking Industry. Washington, D.C.: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 1993.

McAuliffe, Emily. Maine Facts and Symbols. New York: Hilltop Books, 2000.

Palmer, Kenneth T. Maine Politics & Government. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

Parker, Carol Mason. Maine. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Publishing, 2005.

Potholm, Christian P. This Splendid Game: Maine Campaigns and Elections, 19402002. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2003.

Smith, David C. Studies in the Land: The Northeast Corner. New York: Routledge, 2002.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Maine, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Digest of Education Statistics, 1993. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1993.

US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Program. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1990.

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MAINE. For many, Maine appears on the map as a peninsula, the northeasternmost extension of the United States. However, there is nothing peninsular about Maine. In fact, geographically, it is the southern edge of a much larger land mass that extends south from Hudson Bay and the Canadian shield and from the east through the great timber lands of eastern Canada and the complex coastline of the western North Atlantic. Maine's history has been shaped by these natural characteristics and the social and economic conditions spawned by its unique positioning. Maine is at once at the center of a vibrant natural corridor that produces staple products and on the outermost edge of a great political institution.

Maine's first inhabitants, the Paleoindians (a term used to describe early inhabitants of America, not yet distinguished into modern tribal groups), arrived in the area in the wake of the retreating glaciers 11,000 to 10,000 years ago, where they encountered a relatively barren landscape. The changing environment brought about a new culture, known as the Archaic, between 10,000 and 8,500 years ago. This new culture exploited new resources based on changing forest and sea conditions and developed advanced woodworking skills. Agriculture arrived in what is now New England a few hundred years before European contact. The Native peoples in Maine developed the common corn–beans–squash regimen of crop production. However, those east of the Kennebec River remained dependent upon hunting and gathering.

The Colonial Period

The first documented case of European exploration in the Gulf of Maine was by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524. This was followed by a series of failed colonizing attempts between 1602 and 1607. Most Europeans were unable to adapt to the harsh environment and the lack of familiar natural resources. The first successful settlements along the Maine coast were those established by European fishing ventures, which supplied winter residents in order to lay claim to the best fishing grounds earlier in the season. By 1610, the Jamestown Colony began to send fishing vessels to the Maine coast. As the activities increased, year-round fishing stations were established at Damaris-cove Island, Cape Piscataque, Monhegan Island, Pemaquid, and Richmond Island.

European activity in Maine began to increase as more settlers began to recognize the wealth that could be produced from Maine's forests, rivers, and seas. Both internal conflict within England, France, and among Natives, and external conflict between the colonies characterized the settlement of the Maine territory. In order to extend their territorial control, the Massachusetts Bay Colony set up townships at York (1630), Cape Porpus (ca. 1630), Saco (1630), Kittery (ca. 1631), Scarborough (ca. 1631), Falmouth (1633), North Yarmouth (1636), and Wells (1642). The restoration of Charles II to the throne of England was accompanied by further territorial claims from France. By 1670, Maine's settlers moved from a subsistence agriculture base to a profitable export trade of cattle, corn, fish, and lumber products. Both the English and the French inhabitants of Maine lived within a family-based economy with men working in the fields, upon the seas, and in the lumber camps, while women and children worked at home to provide foodstuffs such as milk, butter, and eggs, as well as clothing and tools.

French activities in Maine increased after 1670 when they reoccupied a fort at the mouth of the Penobscot River. For the French, Maine remained primarily a fishing, lumbering, and, most importantly, fur trading center; however, internal conflict between rival French claims hindered French settlement efforts. By the mid-1600s, nearly 75 percent of Maine's original Native inhabitants had died, mostly from European diseases. The survivors were often uprooted and forced to relocate. The arrival of a European-based fur trade further altered the Natives' traditional relationship with the environment. Competition among tribal bands for fur-bearing animals and friction with the colonizing nations transformed the region into a volatile political area, bringing an era of brutal warfare. The Wabanakis in Maine comprised about 20,000 people before contact. Relations with Europeans began to sour early when explorers captured natives for slaves. Conflicting alliances with Europeans fractionalized the Wabanakis and plagues further weakened the solidarity of the "People of the Dawn." As Natives further became dependent upon European firearms and ammunition, the fur trade took on a desperate tone. Beavers grew scarce, forcing the Wabanakis to expand into rival lands. This competition resulted in a series of violent clashes between the tribes known as the "Beaver Wars."

The internal Native conflicts overlapped with a series of European conflicts. Native–English violence during King Philip's War (1675–1676), King William's War (1689–1697), and Queen Anne's War (1702–1713) brought a universal declaration of war by Massachusetts on all Maine Indians in August 1703. Drummer's War (1721– 1727) saw the collapse of Wabanaki military and political power and a dramatic extension of English settlement. The French and Indian War (1754–1763) brought the final collapse of both Native and French military presence in the Maine territory. In May 1759, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall led a force of 400 militia up the Penobscot River to attack Native settlements and construct Fort Pownall near the mouth of the river at Stockton Springs, ending the long land rivalry in Maine. Native families resettled upon ancestral lands, but in small, separate villages. Peace brought further English settlement eastward along the coast and up river valleys.

The American Revolution and Statehood

Maine's participation in the American Revolution reflected its maritime traditions. Tension first appeared over British regulations on timber use and the Royal Navy's monopoly on timber for shipbuilding. Friction over enforcing the Nonimportation Agreement led to the arrival of the British man-of-war Canceaux in Falmouth port. Militia captured its captain and some crew, but the men were quickly released. HMS Margaretta was captured by militia in Machias in June 1775. In October, the Canceaux returned to Falmouth and after warning the residents, bombarded the town and destroyed two-thirds of its structures. The power of the Royal Navy prevented most of Maine's inhabitants from participating directly in the American Revolution.

Maine's location as a borderland between the American colonies and the British holdings in Canada and Nova Scotia led to its use as a launching point of invasion into pro-British territories. Benedict Arnold marched his troops through Maine on his ill-fated attempt to capture Quebec. As they advanced up the Kennebec River in the fall of 1775 and north and west across the heights of land to the Chaudiere River, they encountered harsh weather and difficult travel. Many turned back, weakening the strength of the expedition. In October 1776 and May 1777, pro-American refugees from Nova Scotia launched two raids on Nova Scotia hoping to spark rebellion in the British colony. In the summer of 1779, a British expedition from Halifax arrived in Penobscot Bay and constructed Fort George at present-day Castine. Massachusetts maritime interests reacted by sending an armada of about forty vessels, which arrived on 25 July. Wracked by internal conflict and poor organization, the armada faltered and eventually was trapped by the Royal Navy. The Americans beached and burned their own vessels. The peace treaty of 3 September 1783 renounced British claims on Maine territories, but no definitive line was established as a border between Maine and the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Nor was any answer found for the fishing disputes that John Adams brought up during negotiations. Continued conflict over these issues persisted for generations, and even reappear today.

Internal friction began as soon as the Revolution concluded. The political debate quickly turned toward the issue of statehood. Maine's chief economies still relied on the sea, and therefore maritime interests took precedence over others. If Maine became a state independent of Massachusetts, the shippers would be forced to pay additional port charges as they entered Boston and New York. Challenging these maritime interests were back-country settlers, who sought more political power through statehood. These backcountry radicals were spurred on by national events such as Shay's Rebellion (1786–1787). Early test votes showed this division of interests, but equally important, these popular votes demonstrated the indifference many Mainers felt toward the issue: in one significant poll, only 4,598 bothered to vote.

The separatist movement gained momentum after the War of 1812. Maine's role in this conflict was again primarily a maritime one. Maine's economy was deeply affected by the Jeffersonian embargo and smuggling became a chief source of wealth for many small down-east towns that had, over the course of a century, built strong economic and social ties with their neighbors in the British Atlantic colonies. Maine ports also served as launching points for many wartime privateers who raided British shipping. During the war years, Eastport and Castine were invaded and held by British troops and naval vessels. By controlling the northern region of New England, Britain was able to perfect its blockade of the coast of the United States. By war's end, British troops occupied much of the settled area of the state. Britain, however, was eager to end the conflict and return to a profitable trade relation and therefore returned the occupied territory (along with northern Michigan and western New York).

The failure of Massachusetts to protect its Maine district touched off an emotional defense of the separatist movement. The economic rationale for remaining a part of Massachusetts crumbled when Congress passed a new coasting law in 1819, allowing American vessels to sail to any port from Maine to Florida without paying additional port charges or taxation. But the timing of Maine state-hood placed it squarely within the sectional issue of slavery extension. In 1820 Congress adopted the Missouri Compromise, as part of which Maine, a free state, and Missouri, a slave state, were admitted to the union.

Economic Development

Following statehood, Maine entered a phase of rapid economic development. The state's wealth was still tied to its ability to produce staple products, but unlike earlier production, this new phase incorporated commercial production and industrial production. As early as 1785, Acadian families from southern Quebec and northern New Brunswick began to migrate to the rich lands of the St. John Valley. For most of its early history, Maine's agricultural production was small-scale subsistence production

based on a village economy. Spurred on by outside capital investment and new transportation networks in the form of superior roads and railroads, Maine's farms began to commercialize. As elsewhere in the United States, agricultural production was concentrated into larger farms, and specialized production became part of the national market economy.

Forestry also shifted from a small-scale side business of village farmers into a massive industry concentrated in the hands of a few corporations. Lumbering operations expanded as new networks were developed and larger trees could be transported from the deep interior over friction-free snow-and-ice roads. With the introduction of modern sawmill technology in the 1840s, Bangor became the center of Maine's lumbering industry, exporting more wood product than any other port in the world.

The second half of the nineteenth century saw the continuation of this trend as the lumber industry followed national trends in monopoly capitalism. In the 1880s, the wood-product industry shifted from lumber to pulp and paper. This new capital-intensive industry brought more out-of-state investment. Mill towns appeared in Maine's interior, most notably at Millinocket, built and run by the Great Northern Paper Company. Exemplifying the principles of monopoly capitalism, the Portland businessman Hugh J. Chrisholm and several other bankers and businessmen merged more than a score of New England and New York paper producers to form the International Paper Company. The changing costs of the lumbering business forced many smaller companies out of business, concentrating control in the hands of a few major players. Their wealth would not last for long; by 1915, the industry was in a decline as Canadian, Great Lakes states, and, later, southern producers entered the market. Natural depletion and substitute products shifted lumbering interest out of the state to southern and western regions of the nation.

While Maine had many staple economies, including potatoes, blueberries, ice, granite, and others, timber and seafood production proved to be the two most influential in Maine's history. Like the timber trade, the production of marine food products underwent significant changes during the nineteenth century. Traditionally, Maine specialized in salt cod production, but in the late nineteenth century Maine fishermen began to diversify their catch, marketing mackerel, menhaden, herring, sardines, and lobster. The southern plantations in the West Indies and later the American South provided early markets for North Atlantic seafood. But Maine's sea fisheries were part of a larger global economy that included most of the British colonies in the North Atlantic and in the West Indies. Urban expansion drastically increased the domestic market for fish products and Maine fishermen began to provide fish for the growing Catholic population of Boston and New York. During the early years, Maine's sea fisheries were conducted by small family-owned firms. Fish and fish products were carried by small vessels to larger ports in Portland, Gloucester, and Boston and from there to distant markets. This tie to out-of-state distributors characterized Maine's fisheries even more so during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Spurred by transportation developments like railroads, ice-cars, and larger schooners, the production and distribution of marine resources increased and took on an industrial form. Expensive trawl lines and nets replaced traditional forms of fishing. The fisheries became more capital-intensive and fishing production was concentrated in a handful of major firms in Gloucester and Boston. By the 1860s and 1870s, vessels were owned by large corporations. Huge wholesaling corporations were able to use price fixing to manipulate the market in their favor and limit competition. The repeal of government bounties and the replacement of the share system by a wage-labor system further hindered small-scale fishermen and created an industrial economy of fishing.

The Civil War and Postwar Politics

The Civil War played an important part not only in the state's history, but also in its modern folklore. Joshua Chamberlain of Brewer, a Bowdoin College graduate, commanded the Twentieth Maine at a pivotal moment on Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg, for which he received a Medal of Honor. Chamberlain went on to become a general and was wounded several times. Approximately 73,000 Mainers saw action during the war and many Maine women served as nurses, including Dorothea Dix of Hampden, who served as superintendent of women nurses during the war.

Maine state political leaders had been important players in the formation of the Republican Party in the 1880s, and their leadership was carried through the war and into reconstruction. Hannibal Hamlin won a strong following as an antislavery candidate in 1850 and later served as Abraham Lincoln's first vice president; William Pitt Fessenden served first as a senator and later as secretary of the Treasury; and James G. Blaine served as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected senator in 1876, and served as secretary of state in 1881 and from 1889 to 1892.

The legacy of the Civil War cemented Maine's loyalty to the Republican Party. The Republicans held state political power throughout the rest of the nineteenth century and oversaw the expansion of Maine's natural resource production and the concentration of industrial capitalism discussed earlier. The economic collapse of 1929 called into question Republican leadership and the Democratic lawyer and mayor of Lewiston, Louis J. Brann, was elected to the governor's office in 1932. However, Maine and Vermont were the only two states not to vote to reelect Franklin Roosevelt.

The Twentieth Century

President Roosevelt's New Deal brought in much-needed federal aid and the creation of numerous job opportunities. Although Maine's traditionalist culture accepted these changes slowly, the Civilian Conservation Corp recruited about sixteen thousand young men and women to work alongside the Maine Forest Service and proved to be an exceptional labor source for the creation of the Appalachian Trail. Under the Works Progress Administration, many women found employment in the canning industry and Maine farmers received funding for improvements in irrigation. The Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project, intended to provide hydroelectric power, was never completed, but during its planning stage it employed several hundred Maine workers.

Maine's maritime focus again proved to be of national significance during World War II. Maine had always had a strong shipbuilding tradition and during the war Bath Iron Works, on the Kennebec River, put this tradition into action by constructing 266 ships. In cooperation with Todd Shipbuilding in South Portland, the two firms employed more than 30,000 people, including 4,000 women.

Maine's postwar economic situation was grim, marked by textile mill closures, heavy migration from the state, and decline in its staple production. Rural poverty became endemic and the state's social services fell well behind the national average. In the 1950s, the Republican ascendancy was shaken, and under the leadership of Frank Morey Coffin and Edmund S. Muskie, the Democratic Party took control of the state government in 1954. Muskie's liberal agenda included environmental reform, minimum wage increases, hospital and school reform, and highway construction. During the 1960s, Mainers assumed a leading role in the nation's new environmental movement. As a U.S. senator, Muskie distinguished himself as the champion of national clean air and water legislation.

Maine's tourist industry became a profitable venture in the decades following the Civil War. The industry was a unique mixture of small-scale shops and folk traditions and large promotional developments launched by railroad, steamship-line, and hotel firms, including the Ricker family's Poland Spring House and spring water bottling company. Visitors were attracted by Maine's reputation for natural beauty, a healthy atmosphere, abundant fish and game resources, and its outdoor activities. A national obsession with an outdoor life quickened interest in Maine's wildlands, rivers, and lakes. The state government slowly became involved in the industry after 1870 with a series of legislative acts protecting Maine's natural wilderness and animal populations, while at the same time encouraging further road and hotel construction in previously remote areas.

The tourist industry gathered momentum during the nineteenth century and played a part in Maine's emergence as a leader in environmental protection in the 1960s. Maine residents have often accepted this tourist industry only reluctantly. Some of the biggest debates in its political arena stem directly from the tourist industry. As tourists flooded into southern Maine, many decided to stay and build vacation homes. This influx of wealthy "out-of-staters" drastically increased land taxes, forcing many long-term residents off their land. The conflict in land management between park land and commercial forest remains one of the most important political debates and few Mainers would shy away from offering their opinion.

Maine's economy continues at an uneven pace—strong in the southern cities and much weaker in the north and east. Maine political leaders have encouraged growth based on new communications, new technology, and an advanced service industry. However, traditionalist sentiment is difficult to overcome and the new technological service industry has not yet taken hold in many parts of Maine.


Clark, Charles E., James S. Leamon, and Karen Bowden, eds. Maine in the Early Republic: from Revolution to Statehood. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1988.

Clifford, Harold B. Maine and Her People, with a supplement by Charlotte L. Melvin on The Story of Aroostook, Maine's Last Frontier. 4th ed. Freeport, Me.: Bond Wheelwright, 1976.

Cronon, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonialists, and the Ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983.

Duncan, Roger. Coastal Maine: A Maritime History. New York: Norton, 1992.

Judd, Richard W. Common Lands, Common People: The Origins ofConservation in Northern New England. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Judd, Richard W., Edwin Churchill, and Joel W. Eastman, eds. Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to Present. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1995.

Longacre, Edward G. Joshua Chamberlain: The Soldier and theMan. Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined, 1999.

O'Leary, Wayne, M. Maine Sea Fisheries: The Rise and Fall of aNative Industry, 1830–1890. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996.

Sanders, Michael S. The Yard: Building a Destroyer at the Bath IronWorks. New York: Harper Collins, 1999.

Smith, David C. A History of Lumbering in Maine, 1861–1960. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1972.

Taylor, Alan. Liberty Men and Great Proprietor: The RevolutionarySettlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760–1820. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of MarthaBallard, Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812. New York: Knopf, 1990.


See alsoAroostook War ; Kennebec River Settlements ; King Philip's War ; King William's War ; Passamaquoddy/Penobscot ; Wilmot Proviso .

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Maine (state, United States)

Maine, largest of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by New Hampshire (W), the Canadian provinces of Quebec (NW) and New Brunswick (NE), the Bay of Fundy (E), and the Atlantic Ocean (the Gulf of Maine; SE).

Facts and Figures

Area, 33,215 sq mi (86,027 sq km). Pop. (2010) 1,328,361, a 4.2% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Augusta. Largest city, Portland. Statehood, Mar. 15, 1820 (23d state). Highest pt., Mt. Katahdin, 5,268 ft (1,607 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Pine Tree State. Motto,Dirigo [I Direct]. State bird, chickadee. State flower, white pine cone and tassel. State tree, Eastern white pine. Abbr., Me.; ME


Located in the extreme northeast corner of the United States, Maine consists largely of a coastal plain of eroded valleys, with more resistant rock forming the generally mountainous west (the Longfellow Mts., an extension of the White Mts. and part of the great Appalachian system), Mt. Desert and other islands in the east, and isolated peaks including Katahdin (5,268 ft/1,606 m), the highest point in the state. Receding glaciers deposited long drift ridges across the countryside and dammed the valleys to form more than 2,200 lakes (Moosehead Lake is the largest) and to establish new, rugged watercourses for more than 5,000 streams and rivers. The major rivers are the St. John (which, with the St. Croix, forms part of the international boundary with New Brunswick), the Penobscot, the Kennebec, the Androscoggin, and the Saco. The sea has encroached on the low coastal valleys, leaving a jigsawed coastline of 3,500 mi (5,630 km), including numerous irregular and rocky islands offshore. East of Casco Bay the coast of Maine is rugged and wild, but farther west the shoreline has sandy beaches and marshy lowlands.

Over 80% of Maine is forested with great stands of white pine, hemlock, spruce, fir, and hardwoods. Sheltered by the woods and with abundant water from numerous lakes, particularly in the northern counties, wildlife includes moose, deer, black bear, and smaller animals; fish and fowl are also plentiful.

The population of Maine is centered on the cleared land along the coast and major rivers. Augusta is the capital; Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor are the largest cities. Maine's two great parks are Acadia National Park on and around Mt. Desert Island; and Baxter State Park, which includes the northern end of the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Katahdin in the N Maine wilderness.


Maine's generally poor soil, short growing season, and remoteness from industrial and commercial centers have long militated against development and population growth. Lumbering, shipbuilding, and textile production have all enjoyed booms in the past, but changes in technology and competition from other states have always undercut the state's economic position.

In the 1980s, however, Maine successfully transformed a major portion of its economy into trade, service, and finance industries, the greatest growth occurring in and around Portland. Picturesque coastal and island resorts and the promise of tranquil outdoor life hold a strong appeal for tourists, recreational and seasonal visitors, and, increasingly, retirees, and tourism is an important contributor to the state's economy.

Many of Maine's traditional economic activities have experienced difficult times in recent years. Fishing, the state's earliest industry, has declined considerably, although lobsters are still caught in abundance. Lumbering—the first sawmill in America was built in 1623 on the Piscataqua River—dominated industry and the export trade from the days when the white pines provided masts for the British navy, but with the big trees largely exhausted, Maine loggers now produce chiefly pulp for papermaking. The proximity of harbors to forests early encouraged shipbuilding, which reached its peak in the 19th cent. With the disappearance of wooden ships and the related timber trade, commercial activity slackened. Portland, the largest port, now operates far below its substantial capacity, handling chiefly oil for the pipeline to Montreal. Bath Iron Works, which builds warships, remains the state's largest single-site employer.

Manufacturing is still the largest sector in the state's economy. Maine is a leading producer of paper and wood products, which are the most valuable of all manufactures in the state. Food products and transportation equipment are also important, but production of leather goods (especially shoes) has declined. The mineral wealth of the state is considerable. Many varieties of granite, including some superior ornamental types, have been used for construction throughout the nation. Sand and gravel, zinc, and peat are found in addition to stone. However, much of Maine's abundant natural and industrial resources remain undeveloped.

Agriculture has always struggled with adverse soil and climatic conditions. Since the opening of richer farmlands in the West, Maine has tended to concentrate on dairying, poultry raising and egg production, and market gardening for the region. The growing of potatoes, particularly in Aroostook County, was stimulated by the completion of the Aroostook RR in 1894. Blueberries, hay, and apples are other chief crops, and aquaculture is growing in importance.

Government and Higher Education

Maine is governed under its 1820 constitution as amended. The state has a two-house legislature of 35 senators and 151 representatives, all elected for two-year terms; the governor is elected for a four-year term and may be reelected once. Maine politics are noted for their unpredictability. Angus King, an independent, won the governorship in 1994 and again in 1998; he was succeeded by John Baldacci, a Democrat, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006. In 2010 and 2014 Republican Paul LePage was elected governor. The state elects two representatives and two senators to the U.S. Congress and has four electoral votes.

Among the state's leading educational institutions are Bowdoin College, at Brunswick; Colby College, at Waterville; Bates College, at Lewiston; the Univ. of Maine, with campuses at Orono and five other locations; and the Univ. of Southern Maine, at Portland.


Early Inhabitants and European Colonization

The earliest human habitation in what is now Maine can be traced back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by the burial mounds of the Red Paint people found in the south central part of the state. The Native Americans who came later left enormous shell heaps, variously estimated to be from 1,000 to 5,000 years old. At the time of settlement by Europeans the Abnaki were scattered along the coast and in some inland areas.

The coast of Maine, which may have been visited by the Norsemen, was included in the grant that James I of England awarded to the Plymouth Company, and colonists set out under George Popham in 1607. Their settlement, Fort St. George, on the present site of Phippsburg at the mouth of the Kennebec (then called the Sagadahoc) River, did not prosper, and the colonists returned to England in 1608. The French came to the area in 1613 and established a colony and a Jesuit mission on Mt. Desert Island; however, the English under Sir Samuel Argall expelled them.

In 1620 the Council for New England (successor to the Plymouth Company) granted Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason the territory between the Kennebec and Merrimack rivers extending 60 mi (97 km) inland. At this time the region became known as Maine, either to honor Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I, who was feudal proprietor of the province in France called Maine, or to distinguish the mainland from the offshore islands. Neglected after Gorges's death in 1647, Maine settlers came under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. King Philip's War (1675–76) was the first of many struggles between the British on one side and the French and Native Americans on the other, all of which slowed further settlement of Maine.

French influence, which had been reasserted east of the Penobscot, declined rapidly after 1688, when Sir Edmund Andros, royal governor of all New England, seized French fortifications there. After the colonists overthrew Andros, Massachusetts received a new charter (1691) that confirmed its hold on Maine. With Sir William Phips, a Maine native, as governor and the territorial question settled, local government and institutions in the Massachusetts tradition took root in Maine. Maine soon had prosperous fishing, lumbering, and shipbuilding industries.

Revolution and Economic Development

Dissatisfaction with British rule was first expressed openly after Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765; in protest, a mob at Falmouth (Portland) seized a quantity of the hated stamps. As conflicts increased between the colonies and England, nonimportation societies formed to boycott English goods sprang up in Maine. During the American Revolution Falmouth paid dearly for its defiance; it was devastated by a British fleet in 1775. In that same year Benedict Arnold led his grueling, unsuccessful expedition against Quebec through Maine.

During the war supplies were cut off and conflicts with Native Americans were frequent, but with American independence won, economic development was rapid in what was then called the District of Maine, one of the three admiralty districts of Massachusetts set up by the Continental Congress in 1775. However, the Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812 interrupted the thriving commerce and turned the district toward industrial development.

Statehood and Prosperity

Agitation for statehood, which had been growing since the Revolution, now became widespread. Dissatisfaction with Massachusetts was aroused by the inadequate military protection provided during the War of 1812; by the land policy, which encouraged absentee ownership; and by the political differences between conservative Massachusetts and liberal Maine. The imminent admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state hastened the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, and equality of power between North and South was preserved by admitting Maine as a free state in 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise.

With Portland as its capital (moved to Augusta in 1832) the new state entered a prosperous period. During the first half of the 19th cent. Maine enjoyed its greatest population increase. A highly profitable timber trade was carried on with the West Indies, Europe, and Asia, and towns such as Bath became leaders in American shipbuilding. The long-standing Northeast Boundary Dispute almost precipitated border warfare between Maine and New Brunswick in the so-called Aroostook War of 1839; the controversy was settled by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Great Britain in 1842.

Political Issues since the 1850s

Political life was vigorous, particularly in the 1850s when the reluctance of the Democrats, who had been dominant since 1820, to take a firm antislavery stand swept the new Republican party into power. Hannibal Hamlin was a leading Republican politician and was vice president during Abraham Lincoln's first administration. Antislavery sentiment was strong, and Maine made sizable contributions of men and money to the Union in the Civil War. Generals Oliver O. Howard and Joshua L. Chamberlain were from Maine. For decades regulation of the liquor traffic was the chief political issue in Maine, and the state was the first to adopt (1851) a prohibition law. It was incorporated into the constitution in 1884 and was not repealed until 1934.

State politics entered a hectic stage in 1878 when the newly organized Greenback party combined with the Democrats to carry the election, ending more than 20 years of Republican rule. The following year the coalition was accused of manipulating election returns, a charge sustained by the state supreme court, which seated a rival legislature elected by the Republicans. In 1880 the fusionists were again successful, but from that time until the 1950s the state was generally Republican, providing that party with such national leaders as James G. Blaine, Thomas B. Reed, and Margaret Chase Smith, who in 1948 became the first Republican woman U.S. senator. Former U.S. Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie, a Democrat, was elected governor in 1954. In 1964 and 1968 (when Muskie, then a U.S. senator, ran unsuccessfully for vice president) the state voted Democratic in the presidential election for the first time since 1912.

In 1969 personal and corporate income taxes were added to the sales tax within the state. Maine's population grew 13.2% during the 1970s and 9.2% during the 1980s, its largest increases since the 1840s. Environmental issues have occupied the state's attention in recent decades. In an attempt to revive native salmon populations, river logging was banned in the 1970s, and some dams have been removed or slated for removal. Maine voters narrowly defeated several referendum proposals to hasten the scheduled 1997 closing of the nuclear power plant at Wiscasset. The effects of clear-cutting practices in Maine's forests and of large-scale fish farming along the coast were also focuses of debate.


See Federal Writers' Project, Maine, a Guide Down East (2d ed. 1970); L. D. Rich, The Coast of Maine (3d ed. 1970); M. Dibner, Seacoast Maine, People and Places (1973); E. Schriver and D. Smith, Maine: A History Through Selected Readings (1985); D. Delorme, ed., The Maine Atlas and Gazeteer (1988)

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Augusta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

Bangor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Lewiston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

The State in Brief

Nickname: Pine Tree State

Motto: Dirigo (I direct)

Flower: White pine cone and tassel

Bird: Chickadee

Area: 35,384 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 39th)

Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 5,267 feet

Climate: Mild summers, long, cold winters with occasional heavy snowfall

Admitted to Union: March 15, 1820

Capital: Augusta

Head Official: Governor John Baldacci (D) (until 2007)


1980: 1,125,027

1990: 1,227,928

2000: 1,274,923

2004 estimate: 1,317,253

Percent change, 19902000: 3.8%

U.S. rank in 2004: 40th

Percent of residents born in state: 67.3% (2000)

Density: 41.3 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 34,381

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 1,236,014

Black or African American: 6,760

American Indian and Alaska Native: 7,098

Asian: 9,111

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 382

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 9,360

Other: 2,911

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 70,726

Population 5 to 19 years old: 264,759

Percent of population 65 years and over: 14.4%

Median age: 38.6 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 13,852

Total number of deaths (2003): 12,429 (infant deaths, 64)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 518


Major industries: Services, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, tourism

Unemployment rate: 4.7% (April 2005)

Per capita income: $28,935 (2003; U.S. rank: 31st)

Median household income: $37,619 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 11.8% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: Graduated from 2.0% to 8.5% of federal adjusted gross income

Sales tax rate: 5.0%

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Maine State in New England, extreme ne USA; the capital is Augusta. The largest city is Portland. The land is generally rolling country with mountains in the w and more than 2000 lakes. The chief rivers are the St John, Penobscot, Kennebec, and St Croix. Inhabited by Abnaki Native Americans, John Cabot explored Maine in 1498. The first British settlement, Fort St George, appeared in 1607 but was quickly abandoned. Firm colonization began in the 1620s, but French and Native American resistance hindered further British settlement. In 1652, Maine fell under the administration of the Massachusetts Bay Company, and then of Massachusetts proper in 1691. In 1820, it became the 23rd state of the Union. Economic development was rapid, based on its trading ports and timber resources for shipbuilding. Three-quarters of Maine is forested. The major economic sector is the manufacture of paper and wood products. Economic development is hampered by poor soil, a short growing season, geographic remoteness and a lack of coal and steel. Broiler chickens and blueberries are the major agricultural products. Lobsters are the mainstay of the modern fishing industry. Tourism is increasingly important.


86,026sq km (33,215sq mi).

Pop. (2000)



Statehood :

March 15, 1820

Nickname :

Pine Tree State

State bird :


State flower :

White pine cone and flower

State tree :

White pine

State motto :

I direct

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Maine (ship)

Maine, U.S. battleship destroyed (Feb. 15, 1898) in Havana harbor by an explosion that killed 260 men. The incident helped precipitate the Spanish-American War (Apr., 1898). Commanded by Capt. Charles Sigsbee, the ship had been sent (Jan., 1898) to Cuba to protect American life and property from the revolutionary turmoil there. The sinking of the Maine produced an outcry against Spain in the United States, particularly by the more jingoistic newspapers, which held the Spanish government responsible for the disaster. The cause of the explosion was never satisfactorily explained. A U.S. naval inquiry, headed by W. T. Sampson, reported on Mar. 21 that the Maine had been sunk by a submarine mine but that responsibility could not be fixed on any person. A Spanish naval inquiry reported that the disaster was an accident resulting from an explosion in the forward magazine. Recent evidence, however, points to an accident. Whatever the truth of the matter, "Remember the Maine" became a patriotic slogan during the Spanish-American War. The vessel was raised from the harbor, towed to sea, and sunk in 1912.

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Maine (region and former province, France)

Maine (mĕn), region and former province, NW France, S of Normandy and E of Brittany. It now comprises the departments of Mayenne and Sarthe and parts of Loire-et-Cher, Eure-et-Loir, and Orne. Le Mans, the historic capital, is an important industrial and commercial center. Other towns in the region are Laval, Mayenne, and Vendôme. Maine is primarily agricultural, with important stock raising in the hilly Perche; it is well irrigated by the Mayenne, Loire, and Sarthe rivers. Important during Roman times, Maine was Christianized between the 4th and 6th cent. Made a county in the 10th cent., it passed (1126) to Anjou and was held for long periods by England. It frequently reverted to the French crown, or to members of the royal family, until it was finally united with the crown in 1584 upon the death of Francis, duke of Alençon and Anjou.

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A look at any map of Maine will confirm that the settlement of the state occurred on the coast and the rivers, with large areas in the center and the north still largely wilderness. Independent and sometimes wary of outsiders, Maine "down-easters" first developed their fishing resources and later moved into paper and textile manufacturing. Never among the most prosperous states in the nation, Maine remains a major producer of paper and wood products, an important location for ocean commerce and fisheries, and a popular destination for tourists.

In the early 1600s English expeditions first came to exploit the rich Maine coastal waters. By 1630 about a dozen English settlements existed along the coast and on several islands. An English joint stock company received the first grant of territory between the Merrimack and the Kennebec rivers in 1622. In the late 1640s the Massachusetts Bay Colony began to absorb settlements in the territory, gaining control of the whole area in 1691. The economy of Maine was based almost entirely on fishing, trading, and use of its forests. One major early industry was the preparation of the white pine masts used by the Royal Navy. Maine remained a part of Massachusetts until 1820, when by terms of the Missouri Compromise, it came into the United States as a free, not a slave, state.

Like the rest of New England, Maine began industrialization between 1830 and 1860, as shoe factories and textile mills sprang up on the state's rivers. Many young farm women came to the mill towns to earn additional income for their deprived families during the heyday of the textile mills. Papermaking also grew in importance; by 1900 Maine was one of the nation's leading papermaking states. The first railroad, the Atlantic & St. Lawrence, was completed in 1853 and connected Portland with Montreal, Canada. By 1900 several more railways, among them the Bangor and Aroostook, the Boston and Maine, the Canadian Pacific, and the Maine Central, crisscrossed the state.

Shipbuilding was another Maine industry which grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. Maine builders provided many of the stately clipper ships, which carried prospectors and settlers around Cape Horn to California. Lumbering was centered on the Penobscot River at Bangor, which was a freewheeling boomtown from the 1830s through the 1850s. Land speculators rushed into the young state during this time, hoping to turn big profits on cheap land and the promise of wealth.

According to historian Charles E. Clark, the economic history of Maine between the 1860s and the 1890s mirrored economic trends in the nation as a whole, with a particular Maine slant. Entrepreneurs, like the "robber barons" who were building industries and railroads after the American Civil War (18611865), came to Maine and made the paper industry their domain. Immigrants came down from Quebec, Canada, looking for work and added their own ethnic flavor to the culture. The entrepreneurs soon began to exploit Maine's abundant water and lumber resources. After the discovery that wood pulp could be substituted for rags in paper manufacture, the paper industry grew rapidly. Smaller companies were absorbed into larger ones, notably the International Paper Company and the Great Northern Paper Company. Often owned largely by interests outside the state, these large concerns controlled river traffic, generated their own power, and owned their own tracts of lumber.

Slowly, pioneer farmers began to settle the more northern regions of Maine, following patterns like those in the settlement of the American West. The Maine potato became a staple crop in the state, and by 1880 several starch mills were built to make even more use of this abundant crop.

In spite of its many natural resources, Maine has suffered economically because of its limited access to a national transportation network. In addition, a curious law passed in 1929 forbid Maine from selling its easily accessible waterpower outside the state, and in 1935 Maine refused to cooperate with a proposed federal water reclamation project similar to the one created by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Today Maine ranks only thirty-seventh in personal income among all states, ranking last in New England. In comparison to those in other states, Maine has no truly large cities; Portland, the largest, had a population just over 65,000 in the 1990s.

While Maine at the end of the twentieth century was not highly industrialized or urbanized, it would be difficult to find a state that benefited more from tourism, which yearly generated about 40,000 jobs, added almost $3 million to the economy, and was the state's largest employer. In fact, around 50 percent of Maine's economy in the late 1990s, including the tourist industry, was service-oriented. Some of the first tourists who trekked to Maine established wealthy summer colonies in coastal villages like Ogunquit, York Harbor, Boothbay, and Bar Harbor. In the 1990s Maine offered beaches, sailing, craggy coastlines, fishing, hunting, winter sports, and abundant public lands for all kinds of recreation. Its foremost attraction was Acadia National Park, off its central coast, which attracted nearly three million visitors yearly in the mid- and late 1990s.

A relatively small part of the state's economy is devoted to agriculture. Agriculture and food processing industries, however, contribute over $1 billion annually to the state, and Maine produces more food crops than any other New England state. In addition to ranking first in New England in potato production, Maine leads the world in the production of blueberries, with 25 percent of the total blueberry crop. Milk, apples, and maple syrup are also important Maine products.

Industry occupies less than one-third of Maine's economy but is still a significant sector. In the 1990s, papermaking remained the top industry in the state, followed by transportation equipment manufacture and lumber and wood production. Ninety-five percent of all of Maine's forests are privately owned, primarily by the paper industry. Maine lobster remains the most important fishing product; some of the larger fishing ports are in Portland, Boothbay Harbor, and Rockland. To encourage industrial and recreational projects, the state works through the Finance Authority of Maine to offer such incentives as tax-exempt bonds and loan guarantees for small business. A State Development Office provides assistance for existing and prospective businesses.

See also: Paper Industry


Bearse, Ray, ed. Maine: A Guide to the Vacation State, 2nd ed., rev. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.

Churchill, Edwin A., et al., eds. Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present. Orono, ME: University of Maine Press, 1995.

Clark, Charles E. Maine: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.

Maine, State of. State Development Office. Maine: A Statistical Summary. Augusta, ME, 1984.

Rich, Louis Dickinson. State o' Maine. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

[to a maine native, the] nonnative simply comes from out-0f-state . . . since anywhere that isn't maine is much of a muchness and a pretty poor excuse of a pea patch to boot.

louise dickinson rich, state o' maine, 1964

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