15 Intriguing Details About Maine

Strong, a town located in western Maine, was the toothpick capital of the world until 2003.

Maine, also known as “Vacation Land” and officially nicknamed “The Pine Tree State,” became the 23rd state to join the United States of America on March 15, 1820. As of 2020, it has a population of 1,350,141 people, making it the 42nd most populous state. Maine shares its border with New Hampshire and covers a total of 35,385 square miles (91,636 square kilometers) of land and water, making it the 39th largest state. Augusta, located in the south of the state, serves as the capital of Maine.

Now that we have covered the fast facts about the Pine Tree State, let’s delve into some intriguing details!

The Origin of Maine’s Name Is Unclear

Although the actual origin of Maine’s name is unknown, there are several theories. One of the most popular theories suggests that Maine was named after the province of Maine in France. Another theory, which dates back to the first British explorers, claims that these explorers referred to the mainland of North America as “The Maine.” This theory is believed to be a shorthand for the mainland. Regardless of its origins, the name “Province of Maine” was officially registered by Britain in 1665.

Maine Has Been Inhabited for Over 5,000 Years

The region that we now know as Maine was inhabited for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. The Red Paint People, a seafaring culture, were the earliest known group of people to live in the region from around 3000 BC until 1000 BC. They were followed by the Susquehanna culture, who were the first to invent pottery. By the time European explorers arrived, the Wabanaki peoples, a group of Algonquian-speaking locals, lived in the region.

The First Europeans to Reach Maine Were Vikings

Vikings from Iceland and Greenland regularly traded with the local tribes along the northern parts of North America’s coast. Although they didn’t establish any permanent settlements, they did leave behind an 11th-century Norwegian coin found in a Native American archaeological site in 1954, which confirmed that Vikings preceded modern Europeans in Maine.

The Spanish Were the Next Europeans to Reach Maine

Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese explorer, led the Spanish Empire’s exploration of the coast of Maine by 1525.

The explorers who arrived in Maine mapped out the coastlines and returned to Spain, without settling in the region. However, the French established the first settlement in Maine in 1604 on St Croix Island, led by Samuel de Champlain. They claimed the region on the eastern side of the Kennebec River and named it Acadia. Over the next hundred years, France and England fought over Maine, with England establishing the short-lived Popham Colony in 1607. Maine contributed the most troops to the Union Army during the American Civil War and was a strong supporter of the anti-slavery Republican party. Maine is the most forested state in the US, with over 80% of its land covered in forest or unclaimed land. It also has 3,500 miles of coastline, dotted with coves, estuaries, and islets.

Maine, the Birthplace and Inspiration for Stephen King’s Horror Novels

Stephen King was born in Bangor, Maine, and still resides there today. His books are predominantly set in Maine, with fictional towns such as Derry and Castle Rock serving as the backdrop for many of his stories. King’s ability to recreate the atmosphere of small-town Maine so perfectly is due to his upbringing as a native of the state.

Maine, the Least Populated State East of the Mississippi River

Most of Maine’s population is concentrated in the southern part of the state. As you travel further north or east, the population density drops off rapidly, with some regions almost entirely uninhabited. For example, Northwest Aroostook, an unincorporated region in the far northeast of Maine, measures over 2,600 square miles but only has a population of ten people.

Maine’s Unique Desert

Despite being located in the northeastern part of the country, Maine is home to a small desert. This desert, located just outside of a town, is the result of poor farming practices that exposed a deposit of silt from Maine’s glacial past. The “sand” of the desert is much finer than traditional desert sand.

The Former Toothpick Capital of the World

Strong, Maine, was once the toothpick capital of the world, with over 95% of toothpicks in the US being manufactured in the town. However, the decline in toothpick popularity throughout the 20th century caused the downfall of Strong’s toothpick industry, with the last toothpick factory closing in 2003.

Quirky Museums of Maine

Maine is home to a variety of strange museums, including the famous Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, which features exhibits about unknown creatures like Big Foot and lake monsters. Other notable museums include the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum, the Telephone Museum, and the Umbrella Cover Museum.

The Maine Coon, the Largest Domestic Cat Breed

The Maine Coon cat is the largest domestic cat breed and is appropriately named after the state where it originated.

The Maine Coon is a breed of cat that has adapted to survive in the snowy climate of Maine’s northern woodlands, resulting in its thick fur. This is one of the oldest native breeds in the US and is even recognized as the official State Cat of Maine. These cats are known for their friendly and social nature, earning them the nickname “Gentle Giant” due to their size. Maine’s unique characteristics, such as its remote location and untouched forests, may attract strange things, but it is still a beautiful state to visit with awe-inspiring coastlines, pristine forests, and charming little towns. It is no surprise that Stephen King’s novels fit well with Maine’s small-town feel.

FAQ

1. What is the population of Maine?

Maine is the 41st most populous state in the United States with a population of approximately 1.3 million people. The largest city in Maine is Portland with a population of around 66,000 people.

2. What is the state bird of Maine?

The state bird of Maine is the Black-capped Chickadee. This bird is known for its distinctive call of “chickadee-dee-dee” and is found throughout the state, particularly in forests and wooded areas.

3. What is Acadia National Park?

Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre park located in Maine that attracts millions of visitors each year. The park features rugged coastline, forests, mountains, and lakes, and is home to a variety of wildlife such as moose, black bears, and bald eagles.

4. What is the state flower of Maine?

The state flower of Maine is the White Pine Cone and Tassel. This flower is a symbol of the state’s history and is often used in decorations and artwork throughout the area.

5. What is the nickname of Maine?

Maine is known as the “Pine Tree State” due to its abundant pine forests. The state is also sometimes referred to as the “Vacationland” due to its popularity as a summer vacation spot.

6. What is the Maine lobster industry?

The Maine lobster industry is a major part of the state’s economy, with millions of pounds of lobster caught each year. Lobster fishing is a traditional way of life for many Mainers and the industry is closely regulated to ensure the sustainability of the lobster population.

7. What is the history of Maine?

Maine has a rich history dating back to the Native American Wabanaki tribes who inhabited the area for thousands of years. The area was later colonized by the French and English, and became a state in 1820. Maine played an important role in both the American Revolution and the Civil War, and has since become known for its rugged coastline, picturesque lighthouses, and natural beauty.

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