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The state of Maine (i /ˈmeɪn/) (French: l’État du Maine) is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, New Hampshire to the southwest, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is the northernmost portion of New England and is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, and its heavily forested interior—as well as for its seafood cuisine, especially lobsters and clams.
The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking peoples. The first European settlement in Maine was in 1604 by a French party. The first English settlement in Maine, the short-lived Popham Colony, was established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and conflict with the local peoples wiped out many of them over the years. As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements still survived. Patriot and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Maine was an exclave of Massachusetts until 1820, when as a result of the growing population and a political agreement regarding slavery, it became the 23rd state on March 15 under the Missouri Compromise.
Maine is the only U.S. state to have a name that is one syllable long, and the only state which borders exactly one other state.
There is no definitive answer for the origin of the name Maine. The state legislature in 2001 adopted a resolution establishing Franco-American Day, which stated that the state was named after the ancient French province of Maine. Other theories mention earlier places with similar names, or claim it is a nautical reference to the mainland. The first known record of the name appears in an Aug. 10, 1622 land charter to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason, English Royal Navy veterans, who were granted a large tract in present-day Maine that Mason and Gorges "intend to name The Province of Maine." Mason had served in Royal Navy in the Orkney Islands where the chief island was called Mainland, a more likely name derivation for these English sailors than the French province. Whatever the origin, the name was fixed in 1665 when the King's Commissioners ordered that the "Province of Maine" be entered from then on in official records.
To the south and east is the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and northeast is New Brunswick, a province of Canada. The Canadian province of Quebec is to the northwest. Maine is both the northernmost state in New England and the largest, accounting for nearly half the region's entire land area. Maine also has the distinction of being the only state to border just one other state (New Hampshire to the west). Maine is the easternmost state in the United States both in terms of its extreme points and its geographic center. The municipalities of Eastport and Lubec are, respectively, the easternmost city and town in the United States. Estcourt Station is Maine's northernmost point, as well as the northernmost point in New England. (For more information see extreme points of the United States).
Maine's Moosehead Lake is the largest lake wholly in New England, as Lake Champlain is located between Vermont and New York. A number of other Maine lakes, such as South Twin Lake, are described by Thoreau. Mount Katahdin is both the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which extends to Springer Mountain, Georgia, and the southern terminus of the new International Appalachian Trail which, when complete, will run to Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Maine also has several unique geographical features. Machias Seal Island and North Rock, off its easternmost point, are claimed by both the U.S. and Canada and are within one of four areas between the two countries whose sovereignty is still in dispute, but is the only one of the disputed areas containing land. Also in this easternmost area is the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.
Maine is the most sparsely populated state east of the Mississippi River. It is called the Pine Tree State; ninety percent of its land is forested. In the forested areas of the interior lie much uninhabited land, some of which does not have formal political organization into local units (a rarity in New England). The Northwest Aroostook, Maine unorganized territory in the northern part of the state, for example, has an area of 2,668 square miles (6,910 km2) and a population of 27, or one person for every 100 square miles (260 km2).
Maine is equally well known for its ocean scenery, with almost 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of shoreline. West Quoddy Head is the easternmost piece of land in the contiguous 48 United States. Along the famous rock-bound coast of Maine are lighthouses, beaches, fishing villages, and thousands of offshore islands, including the Isles of Shoals, which straddle the New Hampshire border. Jagged rocks and cliffs and thousands of bays and inlets add to the rugged beauty of Maine's coast. Just inland, by contrast, are lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains. This visual contrast of forested slopes sweeping down to the sea has been summed up by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay of Rockland and Camden, Maine in "Renascence":
Geologists describe this type of landscape as a drowned coast, where a rising sea level has invaded former land features, creating bays out of valleys and islands out of mountain tops. A rise in the elevation of the land due to the melting of heavy glacier ice caused a slight rebounding effect of underlying rock; this land rise, however, was not strong enough to eliminate all the effect of the rising sea level and its invasion of former land features.
The noted American ecologist Rachel Carson did much of her research at one of the Maine seacoast's most characteristic features, a tide pool for her classic "The Edge of the Sea." The spot where she conducted observations is now preserved as the Rachel Carson Salt Pond Reserve at Pemaquid Point.
George Lorenzo Noyes, known as the Thoreauvian of Maine, is a noted state naturalist, mineralogist, development critic, writer and landscape artist. He lived a devout wilderness lifestyle in the mountains of Norway, Maine, expressing in his paintings his spiritual reverence for nature and writing of the values of a simple life of sustainable living. Harvard Quarry at the summit of Noyes Mountain, named in his honor, in Greenwood, provides an excellent panoramic view and is a popular destination for rock and mineral collectors.
Much of Maine's geography was created by heavy glacial activity at the end of the last ice age. Prominent glacial features include Somes Sound and Bubble Rock. Carved by glaciers, Somes Sound is considered to be the only fjord on the eastern seaboard and reaches depths of 175 feet (50 m). The extreme depth and steep drop-off allow large ships to navigate almost the entire length of the sound. These features also have made it attractive for boat builders, such as the prestigious Hinckley Yachts. Bubble Rock is what is known as a "glacial erratic" and is a large boulder perched on the edge of Bubble Mountain in Acadia National Park. By analyzing the type of granite, geologists were able to discover that glaciers carried Bubble Rock to its present location from the town of Lucerne — 30 miles away.
Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England.
Areas under the protection and management of the National Park Service include:
Maine experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm (although generally not hot), humid summers. Winters are cold and snowy throughout the state, and are especially severe in the northern parts of Maine. Coastal areas are moderated somewhat by the Atlantic Ocean. Daytime highs are generally in the 75–80 °F (24–27 °C) range throughout the state in July, with overnight lows in the high 50s°F (around 15 °C). January temperatures range from highs near 32 °F (0 °C) on the southern coast to overnight lows below 0 °F (−18 °C) in the far north.
Maine is generally safe from hurricanes and tropical storms. By the time they reach the state, many have become extratropical and few hurricanes have made landfall in Maine. Maine has fewer days of thunderstorms than any other state east of the Rockies, with most of the state averaging less than 20 days of thunderstorms a year. Tornadoes are rare in Maine with the state averaging fewer than two per year, mostly occurring in the southern part of the state.
In January 2009, a new record low temperature for the state was set at −50 °F, tying the New England record. The state's record high temperature is 105 °F, set in July 1911.
The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki peoples including the Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscots. The first European settlement in Maine was in 1604 by a French party that included Samuel de Champlain, the noted explorer. The French named the entire area, including the portion that later became the State of Maine, Acadia. The first English settlement in Maine was established by the Plymouth Company at Popham in 1607, the same year as the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Both colonies were predated by the Roanoke Colony by 22 years.
Because the Popham Colony did not survive the harsh Maine winters and the Roanoke Colony was lost, Jamestown enjoys the distinction of being regarded as America's first permanent English-speaking settlement. The coastal areas of western Maine first became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent. Eastern Maine north of the Kennebec River was more sparsely settled and was known in the 17th century as the Territory of Sagadahock. A second settlement was attempted at a place called York, now Portland, in 1623 by English explorer and naval Captain Christopher Levett, granted 6,000-acres by King Charles I of England. That settlement also failed.
The province within its current boundaries became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. Maine was much fought over by the French and English during the 17th and early 18th centuries. After the defeat of the French in the 1740s, the territory from the Penobscot River east fell under the nominal authority of the Province of Nova Scotia, and together with present day New Brunswick formed the Nova Scotia county of Sunbury, with its court of general sessions at Campobello. American and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and British forces occupied eastern Maine in both conflicts. The treaty concluding revolution was ambiguous about Maine's boundary with British North America. The territory of Maine was confirmed as part of Massachusetts when the United States was formed, although the final border with British territory was not established until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
Because it was physically separated from the rest of Massachusetts and was growing in population at a rapid rate, Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820 through the Missouri Compromise. This compromise allowed admitting both Maine and Missouri (in 1821) into the union while keeping a balance between slave and free states. Maine's original capital was Portland, the largest city in Maine, until it was moved to Augusta in 1832 to make it more central within the state.
Four U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Maine in honor of the state.
As of 2008, Maine has an estimated population of 1,321,504, which is an increase of 6,520, or 0.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 46,582, or 3.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 6,413 people (that is 71,276 births minus 64,863 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 41,808 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 5,004 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 36,804 people. The population density of the state is 41.3 people per square mile.
Maine is a very popular tourist destination, but it also experiences harsh winters, and consequently, the great temporary influx of visitors occurs during the warmer months. Many of these visitors establish an alternate secondary residence in Maine during the warm months and then depart for their primary residence in the off-season. These are the summer people of Maine lore. Official census figures normally count a person as a resident only once, at the place of the primary home. Therefore, there are some situations in which official census figures could be misleading for Maine. For example, some communities may have a much larger seasonal retail sector than their official, small population figure would imply.
The mean population center of Maine is located in Kennebec County, in or near the town of Mount Vernon. The Greater Portland metropolitan area is the most densely populated with nearly 20% of Maine's population. As explained in detail under "Geography", there are large tracts of uninhabited land in some remote parts of the interior.
The largest ancestries in the state are: English American (21.5%), Irish (15.1%), French or French Canadian (14.2%), American (9.4%), and German (6.7%).
Maine is second only to New Hampshire in the percentage of French Americans among U.S. states. It also has the largest percentage of non-Hispanic whites of any state and the highest percentage of current French-speakers who come from Quebec. Franco-Mainers tended to settle in rural northern Maine (particularly Aroostook County) and the industrial cities of inland Maine (especially Lewiston), whereas much of the midcoast and downeast sections remain mostly of British heritage. Smaller numbers of various other groups, including Italian and Polish have settled throughout the state since the early 20th century immigration waves.
The 2000 Census reported 92.25% of Maine residents age 5 and older speak English at home. Census figures show Maine has a greater proportion of people speaking French at home than any other state in the nation, a result of Maine's large French-Canadian community, who migrated from adjacent Quebec and New Brunswick. 5.28% of Maine households are French-speaking, compared with 4.68% in Louisiana. Spanish is the third most spoken language at 0.79%, followed by German at 0.33% and Italian at 0.12%.
The religious affiliations of the people of Maine are shown below:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maine's total gross state product for 2007 was US$48 billion. Its per capita personal income for 2007 was US$33,991, 34th in the nation.
Maine's agricultural outputs include poultry, eggs, dairy products, cattle, wild blueberries (the state produces 25% of all blueberries in North America, making it the largest blueberry producer in the world), apples, maple syrup and maple sugar. Aroostook County is known for its potato crops. Commercial fishing, once a mainstay of the state's economy, maintains a presence, particularly lobstering and groundfishing. Western Maine aquifers and springs are a major source of bottled water. Maine's industrial outputs consist chiefly of paper, lumber and wood products, electronic equipment, leather products, food products, textiles, and bio-technology. Naval shipbuilding and construction remain key as well, with Bath Iron Works in Bath and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. Naval Air Station Brunswick is also in Maine, and serves as a large support base for the U.S. Navy. However, the BRAC campaign recommended Brunswick's closing, despite a recent government-funded effort to upgrade its facilities.
Maine is the number one exporter of blueberries and toothpicks. The largest toothpick manufacturing plant in the United States is located in Strong, Maine. The Strong Wood Products Incorporated plant produces twenty million toothpicks a day.
Tourism and outdoor recreation play a major and increasingly important role in Maine's economy. The state is a popular destination for sport hunting (particularly deer, moose and bear), sport fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, boating, camping and hiking, among other activities.
Maine ports play a key role in national transportation. Beginning around 1880, Portland's rail link and ice-free port made it Canada's principal winter port, until the aggressive development of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the mid-1900s. In 2001, Maine's largest city of Portland surpassed Boston as New England's busiest port (by tonnage), due to its ability to handle large tankers. Maine's Portland International Jetport was recently expanded, providing the state with increased air traffic from carriers such as JetBlue.
Maine has very few large companies that maintain headquarters in the state, and fewer than before due to consolidations and mergers, particularly in the pulp and paper industry. Some of the larger companies that do maintain headquarters in Maine include Fairchild Semiconductor in South Portland; IDEXX Laboratories, in Westbrook; Unum, in Portland; TD Bank, in Portland; L.L. Bean in Freeport; Cole Haan and Delorme, both located in Yarmouth. Maine is also the home of The Jackson Laboratory, the world's largest non-profit mammalian genetic research facility and the world's largest supplier of genetically purebred mice.
Maine has an income tax structure containing 4 brackets, which range from 2% to 8.5% of personal income. Maine's general sales tax rate is 5%. The state also levies charges of 7% on lodging and prepared food and 10% on short-term auto rentals. Commercial sellers of blueberries, a Maine staple, must keep records of their transactions and pay the state 1.5 cents per pound ($1.50 per 100 pounds) of the fruit sold each season. All real and tangible personal property located in the state of Maine is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. The administration of property taxes is handled by the local assessor in incorporated cities and towns, while property taxes in the unorganized territories are handled by the State Tax Assessor.
As of January 2010, Maine's unemployment rate is 8.2%.
Maine has a longstanding tradition of being home to many shipbuilding companies. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Maine was home to many shipyards that produced wooden sailing ships. The main function of these ships was to transport either cargoes or passengers overseas. One of these yards was located in Pennellville Historic District in what is now Brunswick, Maine. This yard, owned by the Pennell family, was typical of the many family-owned shipbuilding companies of the time period. Other such examples of shipbuilding families were the Skolfields and the Morses. During the 18th and 19th centuries, wooden shipbuilding of this sort made up a sizable portion of the economy.
Maine receives passenger jet service at its two largest airports, the Portland International Jetport in Portland, and the Bangor International Airport in Bangor. Both are served daily by many major airlines to destinations such as New York, Atlanta, and Orlando. Essential Air Service also subsidizes service to a number of smaller airports in Maine, bringing small turboprop aircraft to regional airports such as the Augusta State Airport, Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, Knox County Regional Airport, and the Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle. These airports are served by US Airways Express with small 19 to 30 seat planes. Many smaller airports are scattered throughout Maine, only serving general aviation traffic. The Eastport Municipal Airport, for example, is a city-owned public-use airport with 1,200 general aviation aircraft operations each year from single-engine and ultralight aircraft.
Interstate 95 runs through Maine, as well as its easterly branch I-295. In addition, U.S. Route 1 starts in Fort Kent and runs to Florida. The eastern terminus of the eastern section of U.S. Route 2 starts in Houlton, near the New Brunswick, Canada border to Rouses Point, New York, at US 11 . There is also another US 2A connecting Old Town and Orono, Maine, primarily serving the University of Maine campus. U.S. Route 2, Route 6 and Route 9 are often used by truckers and other motorists of the Maritime Provinces en route to other destinations in the United States or as a short cut to Central Canada.
The Downeaster passenger train, operated by Amtrak, provides passenger service between Portland and Boston's North Station, with stops in Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and Wells. The Downeaster makes five southbound trips and five northbound trips every day.
Seasonal passenger excursions between Brunswick and Rockland are operated by the Maine Eastern Railroad, which leases the state-owned Rockland Branch rail corridor.
Freight service throughout the state is provided by a handful of regional and shortline carriers: Pan Am Railways (formerly known as Guilford Rail System), which operates the former Boston & Maine and Maine Central railroads; St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad; Maine Eastern Railroad; Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway; and New Brunswick Southern Railway.
The Maine Constitution structures Maine's state government, composed of three co-equal branches - the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The state of Maine also has three Constitutional Officers (the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Attorney General) and one Statutory Officer (the State Auditor).
The legislative branch is the Maine Legislature, a bicameral body composed of the Maine House of Representatives, with 151 members, and the Maine Senate, with 35 members. The Legislature is charged with introducing and passing laws.
The executive branch is responsible for the execution of the laws created by the Legislature and is headed by the Governor of Maine (currently John Baldacci, a Democrat). The Governor is elected every four years; no individual may serve more than two consecutive terms in this office. The current attorney general of Maine is Janet T. Mills. As with other state legislatures, the Maine Legislature can by a two-thirds majority vote from both the House and Senate override a gubernatorial veto.
The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting state laws. The highest court of the state is the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The lower courts are the District Court, Superior Court and Probate Court. All judges except for probate judges serve full-time; are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature for terms of seven years. Probate judges serve part-time and are elected by the voters of each county for four-year terms.
Maine is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1860 there were 16 counties in the state, ranging in size from 370 to 6,829 square miles.
In state general elections, Maine voters tend to accept independent and third-party candidates more frequently than most states. Maine has had two independent governors recently (James B. Longley, 1975–1979 and Angus King, 1995–2003). The Green Party candidate won nine percent of the vote in the 2002 gubernatorial election, more than in any election for a statewide office for that party until the 2006 Illinois gubernatorial election. The locally organized Maine Green Independent Party also elected John Eder to the office of State Representative in the Maine House of Representatives, the highest elected Green official nationwide. Pat LaMarche, 2004 Green Party vice-presidential candidate, resides in the southern coastal town of Yarmouth. Maine state politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, are noted for having more moderate views than many in the national wings of their respective parties.
Maine is an alcoholic beverage control state.
On May 6, 2009, Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage; however, the law was repealed by voters on November 3, 2009.
In the 1930s, Maine was one of very few states which remained dominated by the Republican Party. In the 1936 Presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt received the electoral votes of every state other than Maine and Vermont. In the 1960s, Maine began to lean toward the Democrats, especially in Presidential elections. In 1968, Hubert Humphrey became just the second Democrat in half a century to carry Maine thanks to the presence of his running mate, Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, although the state voted Republican in every Presidential election in the 1970s and 1980s.
Maine has since become a left-leaning swing state and has voted Democratic in five successive Presidential elections, casting its votes for Bill Clinton twice, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry (with 53.6% of the vote) in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008. Republican strength is greatest in Washington and Piscataquis counties. Though Democrats have carried the state in presidential elections in recent years, Republicans have largely maintained their control of the state's U.S. Senate seats, with Ed Muskie, William Hathaway and George Mitchell being the only Maine Democrats serving in the U.S. Senate in the past fifty years.
Ross Perot achieved a great deal of success in Maine in the presidential elections of 1992 and 1996. In 1992 as an independent candidate, Perot came in second to Bill Clinton, despite the longtime presence of the Bush family summer home in Kennebunkport. In 1996, as the nominee of the Reform Party, Perot did the best in Maine of any state.
Since 1969, two of Maine's four electoral votes are awarded based on the winner of the statewide election. The other two go to the highest vote-winner in each of the state's two congressional districts.
Famous politicians from Maine include Percival Baxter, James Blaine, Owen Brewster, William Cohen, Susan Collins, Hannibal Hamlin, George J. Mitchell, Edmund Muskie, Thomas Brackett Reed, Margaret Chase Smith, Olympia Snowe, and Wallace H. White, Jr..
Maine's U.S. senators are Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The Governorship is held by Democrat John Baldacci, and the state's two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.
An organized municipality has a form of elected local government which administers and provides local services, keeps records, collects licensing fees, and can pass locally binding ordinances among other responsibilities of self-government. The governmental format of most organized towns and plantations is the Town Meeting while the format of most cities is the Council-Manager form. As of 2007 the organized municipalities of Maine consists of 22 cities, 432 towns, and 34 plantations. Collectively these 488 organized municipalities cover less than half of the state's territory. Maine also has 3 Reservations: Indian Island, Indian Township Reservation, and Pleasant Point Indian Reservation.
Unorganized territory has no local government. Administration, services, licensing, and ordinances are handled by the State Government. The Unorganized Territory of Maine consists of over 400 townships (towns are incorporated, townships are unincorporated), plus many coastal islands that do not lie within any municipal bounds. The UT land area is slightly over one half the entire area of the State of Maine. Year round residents in the UT number approximately 9,000, about 1.3% of the state's total population, with many more people residing only seasonally within the UT. Only four of Maine's sixteen counties are entirely incorporated, although a few others are nearly so, and most of the unincorporated area is in the vast and sparsely populated Great North Woods of Maine.
Fact Finder US Census Maine Portland:
Throughout Maine, many municipalities, although each separate governmental entities, nevertheless form portions of a much larger population base. There are many such population clusters throughout Maine, but some examples from the municipalities appearing in the above listing are:
Maine has four types of school departments: the first is a local school, one which serves only one municipality, and is headed by a superintendent. Usually, it serves kindergarten through grade 12, although some only go to grade 8. Usually, independent school districts which do not have a high school are not totally independent; they are part of a school union, the second type of school district.
A school union is two or more school departments that share a superintendent but nothing else; each town has an independent school board. Usually, only one of the schools in the school union has a high school, but unlike MSADs (discussed below), students in the whole school union are not compelled to attend that school. School union students are given a choice of neighboring school districts, and the school union pays for the student's tuition.
The third type is a MSAD (Maine School Administrative District). This is a regional school district that incorporates two or more towns into one school department with one high school and middle school. These towns do not have independent school boards, but instead have one central board governing the entire district. Students are obligated to attend the central high school. Usually, a MSAD comprises one larger town and one or more smaller towns. The larger town is equipped with a high school and middle school, while the surrounding towns have elementary schools as well, but no secondary schools. The elementary schools usually cut off after grade 5 or grade 6. Sometimes, towns in a MSAD do not have an elementary school but possess a high school and/or middle school, whereas the surrounding towns have the elementary schools.
The last type of school district is a CSD (Community School District, sometimes called a Consolidated School District). This usually (but not always) exists in school districts with such a small student population between several towns that the school district cannot justify an elementary school outside the largest town in the district. In rare cases a CSD refers to only a high school of a school union. Sometimes, in towns geographically isolated (such as island towns) the entire student population attends one school grades PK–12.
Students can choose to attend a school in another district if the parents agree to pay the school tuition. Vocational centers are usually regional, so one school department will administer a technical center but other school districts will transport their students there to take classes.
Private schools are less common than public schools. A large number of private elementary schools with under 20 students exist, but most private high schools in Maine are actually semi-private high schools. This means that while it costs money to send children there, towns will make a contract with a school to take children from a town or MSAD at a slightly reduced rate. Often this is done when it is deemed cheaper to subsidize private tuition than build a whole new school when a private one already exists.
Maine has one major magnet school: The Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. Another specialty public school exists in Portland: the Maine School of Performing Arts.
(See also: www.maine.gov portal.)
A citizen of Maine is known as a "Mainer," though the term "Downeaster" may be applied to residents of the northeast coast of the state.