Maine History - the history of Maine
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Maine   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Maine History

   
 

Maine History


Before the arrival of Europeans, Maine was inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Native American peoples including the Wabanaki, Passamaquoddy and Penobscots.

The area was settled by both French and English settlers in the early 17th century, the French arriving in 1604, and the English in 1607. The province became part of the English Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652, but nevertheless was the scene of several battles between the English and French over control the territory.

The territory was also fought over by the American and British forces during both the American Revolution (1775 to 1783) and the War of 1812. In fact, the border between Maine and British North America (which later to become Canada) was not finalized until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Although politically part of Massachusetts, Maine was physically separated from the rest of the state. As a result, the idea arose that Maine ought to be admitted to the Union as a separate state. This idea was politically convienent, as the Missouri Compromise required that slave and free states be admitted to the Union in equal numbers - and thus Maine was admitted to the Union on March 15th 1820.

In the late 19th century, Maine began to industrialize with the establishment of many textile mills. This was supplemented by the growth of a ship building industry (which was to contribute significantly to the US war effort in World War II).

Post war, some of Maine's traditional industries have gone into decline. The state's economy has however diversified into new fields, including telemarketing and tourism. Today Maine has an economy based on a mix of seafood (particularly lobsters), agricultural produce and industrial products. Maine is also an important transportation hub, with Portland being New England's busiest port.


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Hidden History of Maine

By Harry Gratwick

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2010-04-10
Paperback (128 pages)

Hidden History of Maine
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The history of the Pine Tree State would be bare but for the contributions of hardy and impassioned individuals--generals, governors, settlers and activists whose lives of leadership make up the story of Maine's "hidden history." Author Harry Gratwick creates intimate and detailed portraits of these Mainers, from the controversial missionary Sebastien Rale to Woolwich native William Phips, whose seafaring attacks against French Canada earned him the first governorship of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Gratwick also profiles inventors who "challenged the assumptions of their] time and place," such as Robert Benjamin Lewis, an African American from Gardiner who patented a hair growth product in the 1830s, and Margaret Knight, a York native who defied nineteenth-century sexism to earn the nickname "the female Edison." Discover four hundred years of Maine's history through the tales of its unique residents, from soprano Lillian Nordica, who left Farmington to become the most glamorous American opera singer of her day, to slugger George "Piano Legs" Gore, the only Mainer to have ever won a Major League batting championship.

The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier

By Colin Woodard

Woodward, Colin
Released: 2005-04-26
Paperback (384 pages)

The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier
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“A thorough and engaging history of Maine’s rocky coast and its tough-minded people.”—Boston Herald

“[A] well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance.”—USA Today

For more than four hundred years the people of coastal Maine have clung to their rocky, wind-swept lands, resisting outsiders’ attempts to control them while harvesting the astonishing bounty of the Gulf of Maine. Today’s independent, self-sufficient lobstermen belong to the communities imbued with a European sense of ties between land and people, but threatened by the forces of homogenization spreading up the eastern seaboard.

In the tradition of William Warner’s Beautiful Swimmers, veteran journalist Colin Woodard (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good) traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood. Through forgotten wars and rebellions, and with a deep tradition of resistance to interference by people “from away,” Maine’s lobstermen have defended an earlier vision of America while defying the “tragedy of the commons”—the notion that people always overexploit their shared property. Instead, these icons of American individualism represent a rare example of true communal values and collaboration through grit, courage, and hard-won wisdom.

Maine: The Wilder Half of New England

By William David Barry

Tilbury House Publishers
Paperback (288 pages)

Maine: The Wilder Half of New England
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This concise, solid, and surprising overview traces 500 years of Maine history, from first contact between Native Americans and European explorers to the achievement of a Down East identity, national political power, and worldwide cultural identification. Changes in the economy, religion, ethnicity, arts, leisure, and education have all shaped Maine and Mainers, with some intriguing results.

Illustrated with well over 200 images drawn from the collections of the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Special Collections at the Portland Public Library, the Maine State Museum, local historical societies, private collections, and even the Vatican, these pages contain many rare and fascinating drawings, paintings, and photographs. The bibliography is a rich resource for exploring Maine history further.

200+ B&W drawings and photographs

A Story of Maine in 112 Objects: From Prehistory to Modern Times

Tilbury House Publishers
Released: 2018-07-10
Hardcover (448 pages)

A Story of Maine in 112 Objects: From Prehistory to Modern Times
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PUBLISHED WITH THE MAINE STATE MUSEUM

Founded in 1836, the Maine State Museum is America’s oldest state museum and is known to many as “Maine’s Smithsonian” because of the breadth and diversity of its holdings―nearly a million objects covering every aspect of the state’s cultural, biological, and geological history―and the thousands of stories its collections tell. For this book the museum selected and photographed 112 artifacts and specimens that, together, tell an epic story of the land and its people from prehistoric times to the present.

It is a story covering 395 million years, a story told with a walrus skull and fossils, tourmaline and spear points, mammoth tusks and bone fishhooks, Norse coins and caulking irons, militia flags and survey stakes, treaty documents and wooden tankards, a temperance banner and a locomotive, Joshua Chamberlain’s pistol and a cod tub trawl, a Lombard log hauler and a woman’s WWII welding outfit, L. L. Bean boots and German POW snowshoes, and many more objects from the museum’s collections. Short narratives written by museum curators are woven around each item―including photos of related objects―and the ensemble has been honed, polished, and introduced by museum director Bernard Fishman.

This is a book that historians and Maine residents and visitors will delve into again and again, unearthing new treasures with each reading.

Color Photos

How Maine Changed the World

By Nancy Griffin

Down East Books
Hardcover (136 pages)

How Maine Changed the World
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As Down East Books celebrates 50 years of great book publishing, it seems appropriate to reflect upon
the contributions Maine has made that have had significant cultural and historical impacts on both the
United States and the World. Did you know that the caterpillar tread, common on bulldozers and tanks,
originated from the design of Lombard’s steam log hauler; or that the dry plate photographic process was
created by the Stanley brothers, who also invented a speed-record setting steam powered car and whose
sister, Chansonetta, was a well-known photographer in her own right? Maxim’s machine gun forever
changed the practice of warfare. The humble peavey is a simple tool well-known to any forester or
lumberjack. The ubiquitous lobster boat, the microwave oven, earmuffs, and Monopoly—all came from
the minds of Mainers. This book is a celebration of Maine’s creative ingenuity—from the very large, such
as Portland Head Light and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge to the very small, such as the toothpick and the
Bean boot.

Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015

By Libby Bischof & Earle G., Jr. Shettleworth

Down East Books
Hardcover (200 pages)

Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015
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Maine has always played a rich and varied role in the art of photography. For hundreds of years, photographers, like other artists, have made their way to Maine to capture the natural beauty and human culture of the state. So, too, have many photographers come from Maine, and many contributions by Mainers have been made to the medium. Maine in Photography is the first comprehensive overview of the history of photography in the state. Providing basic knowledge of the most important people and institutions to have promoted photography, this volume also studies the ways in which photography has informed the understanding of the social and cultural history of Maine.
Beginning with the earliest daguerreotype portraits of the 1840s, this history traces the growth of the medium—emphasizing key contributions, such as the Stanley brothers’ invention of the dry plate process—through to the present. Key topics addressed throughout the book include the importance of photography in documenting labor and economic life, the close relationship between photography and the growth of tourism, and the role of Maine photographers in advancing the medium as a fine art form. Published in conjunction with the Maine Photo Project, this is a unique and timely addition to the body of work on the importance of Maine to American art.

Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service

By Daren Worcester

DOWN EAST
Paperback (232 pages)

Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service
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Before reality TV, GPS devices, and dashboard computers, there was a coming of age for the Maine Warden Service. It was a time when a compass, map, and one's wits were what mattered most in the field. Every day offered the potential for an exciting new adventure, many of which endangered the wardens' lives.

Recreating the full warden experience, Open Season includes 20 stories from two former colonels, two lieutenants, two sergeants, four district wardens, a warden pilot, and one currently active-duty corporal. Altogether, their cumulative experiences account for more than 300 years of north woods law.

In addition to hair-raising, life-and-death scenarios, the collection covers moments such as a child innocently outing his parents as “looking for deer” at night, the doldrums of a stakeout, and the grief of tragedy. You'll live through the eyes of these twelve wardens and feel the excitement of a twig snapped in the dark...the frustration of second guessing yourself when lives are at stake...and the duty to do what's right, even when it means breaking the law.

Pemaquid Peninsula:: A Midcoast Maine History (Brief History)

By Josh Hanna

The History Press
Released: 2015-07-13
Paperback (240 pages)

Pemaquid Peninsula:: A Midcoast Maine History (Brief History)
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Offshore fishermen and skillful shipbuilders transformed the quiet shores of the Pemaquid Peninsula beginning in 1815. The maritime economy drove local commerce until enterprising locals turned to ice harvesting, granite quarrying, brick making, lobster canning and pogy oil processing before summer tourism grew and thrived. The descendants of revolutionaries became the faces of a more prosperous generation--men like Albert Thorpe, who ran a popular summer hotel on the grounds where his grandfather had salted and dried his catch decades earlier. Today, summer rusticators discover the enduring natural beauty at the heart of the Pemaquid Peninsula. Journey to the past with Pemaquid native and historian Josh Hanna as he discovers these timeless shores.

Coastal Maine: A Maritime History

By Roger F. Duncan

Brand: Countryman Press
Released: 2002-06-17
Paperback (572 pages)

Coastal Maine: A Maritime History
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A fascinating and comprehensive chronicle of four hundred years of maritime history along the Maine coast.

Roger Duncan recounts four hundred years of Maine's rich maritime history, from the early seafarers' discovery of its valuable resources and the families that settled the land, to Maine's role in the history of the US in peacetime and in war. He traces the changes in Maine's economy over the past century: the demise of the coastal trade; the burgeoning popularity of pleasure boating after World War II; the hardships that beset the fishing and lumber industries; and the rise of tourism. This anecdotal panorama of people, land, boats, and water will absorb historians, nautical enthusiasts, and New Englanders alike. 105 black-and-white photographs and illustrations, 18 maps

Maine Roads to Gettysburg: How Joshua Chamberlain, Oliver Howard, and 4,000 Men from the Pine Tree State Helped Win the Civil War's Bloodiest Battle

By Tom Huntington

Stackpole Books
Released: 2018-05-01
Hardcover (432 pages)

Maine Roads to Gettysburg: How Joshua Chamberlain, Oliver Howard, and 4,000 Men from the Pine Tree State Helped Win the Civil War s Bloodiest Battle
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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and his 20th Maine regiment made a legendary stand on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. But Maine's role in the battle includes much more than that. Soldiers from the Pine Tree State contributed mightily during the three days of fighting. Pious general Oliver Otis Howard secured the high ground of Cemetery Ridge for the Union on the first day. Adelbert Ames--the stern taskmaster who had transformed the 20th Maine into a fighting regiment--commanded a brigade and then a division at Gettysburg. The 17th Maine fought ably in the confused and bloody action in the Wheatfield; a sea captain turned artilleryman named Freeman McGilvery cobbled together a defensive line that proved decisive on July 2; and the 19th Maine helped stop Pickett's Charge during the battle's climax.
   Maine soldiers had fought and died for two bloody years even before they reached Gettysburg. They had fallen on battlefields in Virginia and Maryland. They had died in front of Richmond, in the Shenandoah Valley, on the bloody fields of Antietam, in the Slaughter Pen at Fredericksburg, and in the tangled Wilderness around Chancellorsville. And the survivors kept fighting, even as they followed Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania.
   Maine Roads to Gettysburg tells their stories.


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