Maine is the most northeastern state in the United States, bordered by Canada and the state of New Hampshire. It is 39th in size measuring 33,265 square miles, 3332 miles long and 210 miles wide. The state capital is the city of Augusta, named after Augusta Dearborn, the daughter of a Revolutionary in the American Revolution, John Dearborn. The first military action of the war occurred off the coast of Maine with the capture of the British sloop Margarita and the town of Portland was burned during the later fighting. It was the 23rd state admitted to the union of states on March 15, 1820. The first French explorers to the area named the region after the region of Maine in France.
Maine’s nickname is the “Pine Tree State” because of the prevalence of pine trees. The pine tree is the state tree, but there are many other types of plant life that are abundant in the state. Maine has 3500 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. Early in its history shipbuilding was the predominant industry. This industry has long since disappeared, but the forests still contribute to the economy with the manufactured products, such as cardboard boxes, pulp and paper. Fishing, particularly the catching of finfish and lobster, is a major industry in Maine today. Blueberries are very plentiful in Maine and the state’s harvest is the largest in the country. There are also many farms in Maine with apple orchards, fields of potatoes, vegetables and dairy products.
As with all other states, Maine has a state animal, flower and bird. The state animal is the moose, the largest member of the deer family. The flower is the white pine cone because of the value of the white pine in making the ships used in the shipping industry of the 18th and 19th centuries. The state bird is the chickadee. The flag of Maine bears the Coat of Arms of Maine on a blue shield and the state motto is Dirigo – I lead.
There are 22 cities in this state and 424 towns as well as countless numbers of smaller communities spread throughout 16 counties. More than 1.5 million people call Maine home and the more than 6000 lakes and ponds provide ample opportunity for fishing, swimming and boating. The Maine climate is a moderate one with summer temperatures averaging about 20 degrees celcius and winter temperatures averaging about 7 degrees celcius.
The majestic mountains of the state have contributed to its name as the Switzerland of America. Mt. Katahdin is approximately one mile high and the Acadia National Park is the second most visited park in the United States. 90% of the state is covered in pristine conifer and hardwood forests, but there are both sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. There are many lighthouses and picturesque fishing villages scattered all along the coastline that delight many visitors. The majestic homes of the 18th century sea captains may also be found in many of these villages, some of them still having the original widow’s walk.
The major points of interest in Maine are Bar Harbor, the Acadia National Park, the Allagash National Wilderness Waterway, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, and the St. Croix Island National Monument. The state is a popular vacation destination because of its scenic towns and villages, resorts, mountains, lakes and beaches.