State of Maine
Flag of Maine State seal of Maine
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): "The Pine Tree State"
Motto(s): "Dirigo" (Latin for "I lead" or "I direct")
Map of the United States with Maine highlighted
Official language(s) None
Demonym Mainer[1]
Capital Augusta
Largest city Portland
Largest metro area Portland-South Portland-Biddeford
Area  Ranked 39th in the U.S.
 - Total 35,385 sq mi
(91,646 km2)
 - Width 210 miles (338 km)
 - Length 320 miles (515 km)
 - % water 13.5
 - Latitude 42° 58′ N to 47° 28′ N
 - Longitude 66° 57′ W to 71° 5′ W
Population  Ranked 41st in the U.S.
 - Total 1,328,361[2]
1,274,923 (2000)
Density 43.1/sq mi  (16.64/km2)
Ranked 40th in the U.S.
 - Highest point Mount Katahdin[3][4][5]
5,270 ft (1606.4 m)
 - Mean 600 ft  (180 m)
 - Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[4]
sea level
Before statehood District of Maine
Admission to Union  March 15, 1820 (23rd)
Governor Paul LePage (R)
President of the Senate Kevin Raye (R)[6]
Legislature Maine Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R)
Susan Collins (R)
U.S. House delegation Chellie Pingree (D)
Michael Michaud (D) (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations ME US-ME

Maine Listeni/ˈmn/ is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, its heavily forested interior and picturesque waterways—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 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. 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 deal regarding slavery, it became the 23rd state on March 15 under the Missouri Compromise.



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 least densely populated U.S. state east of the Mississippi River. It is called the Pine Tree State; nearly 90% of its land is forested.[7] 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 in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. The land near the southern and central Atlantic coast is covered by the mixed oaks of the Northeastern coastal forests. The remainder of the state, including the North Woods, is covered by the New England-Acadian forests.[8]

Maine has almost 230 miles (400 km) miles of coastline (and 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of tidal coastline).[9][10] 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. There are jagged rocks and cliffs and many bays and inlets. Inland 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":

The coast in Maine near Acadia park.
"All I could see from where I stood
was three long mountains and a wood
I turned and looked the other way
and saw three islands in a bay"

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.[11] 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 American ecologist Rachel Carson did 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 state naturalist, mineralogist, development critic, writer and landscape artist. He lived a 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. Noyes Mountain is named in his honor.

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 (48 km) away.

Boothbay Harbor

Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England.

Areas under the protection and management of the National Park Service include:[12]


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 −40 °F (−40 °C) in the far north.[13] The state's record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C), set in July 1911, at North Bridgton.[14] 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.[15]

In January 2009, a new record low temperature for the state was set at Big Black River of −50 °F (−46 °C), tying the New England record.[16] The state's record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C), set in July 1911, at North Bridgton.[17]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures (°F) For Various Maine Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Caribou 19/0 23/3 34/15 47/29 63/41 72/50 76/55 74/53 64/44 51/34 37/24 25/8
Portland 31/12 34/16 42/25 53/35 63/44 73/53 79/59 77/57 69/48 58/37 47/30 36/19
[citation needed]


Maine State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch, built 1829–1832

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 what is now called Maine was in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, including 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.The Popham Colony did not survive the harsh Maine winter.

Two Jesuit missions were established by the French; one on Penobscot Bay in 1609, and the other on Mount Desert Island in 1613. The same year, Castine was established by Claude de La Tour. In 1625, Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour erected Fort Pentagouet to protect Castine. 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, in 1623 by English explorer and naval Captain Christopher Levett, granted 6,000 acres (24 km2) by King Charles I of England.[18] That settlement also failed.

Central Maine was formerly inhabited by people of the Androscoggin tribe, also known as Arosaguntacook. The Androscoggins were a tribe in the Abenaki nation. They were driven out of the area in 1690 during King Philip's War. They were relocated at St. Francis, Canada, which was destroyed by Rogers' Rangers in 1759, and is now Odanak. The other Abenaki tribes suffered several severe defeats, particularly the capture of Norridgewock in 1724 and the defeat of the Pequawket in 1725, which greatly reduced their numbers. They finally withdrew to Canada, where they were settled at Bécancour and Sillery, and later at St. Francis, along with other refugee tribes from the south.[19]

The province within its current boundaries became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. Maine was much fought over by the French, English and natives during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Dummer's War was fought primarily in Maine. 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.[20] 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.

Maine was physically separate from the rest of Massachusetts. Long-standing disagreements over land speculation and settlements led to Maine residents and their allies in Massachusetts proper forcing an 1807 vote in the Massachusetts Assembly on permitting Maine to secede; the vote failed. Secessionist sentiment in Maine was stoked during the War of 1812 when Massachusetts pro-British merchants opposed the war and refused to defend Maine from British invaders. In 1819, Massachusetts agreed to permit secession if voters in Maine approved. Due to these considerations and rapid population growth, in 1820 Maine voted to secede from Massachusetts, and the secession and formation of the state of Maine as the 23rd state occurred on March 15, 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise, which also geographically limited the spread of slavery and enabled the admission to statehood of Missouri the following year, while keeping a balance between slave and free states.[21][22][23]

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.

The 20th Maine under the command of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain defended Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg, preserving the Union Army from being flanked by the Confederate Army.

Four U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Maine in honor of the state.


There is no definitive explanation 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 former French province of Maine.[24] Other theories mention earlier places with similar names, or claim it is a nautical reference to the mainland.[25] 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.[26] A year later, in 1623, the English naval captain Christopher Levett, exploring the New England coast, wrote: "The first place I set my foote upon in New England was the Isle of Shoulds, being Ilands [sic] in the sea, above two Leagues from the Mayne."[27] 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.[28]


Maine Population Density Map.
Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 96,540
1800 151,719 57.2%
1810 228,705 50.7%
1820 298,335 30.4%
1830 399,455 33.9%
1840 501,793 25.6%
1850 583,169 16.2%
1860 628,279 7.7%
1870 626,915 −0.2%
1880 648,936 3.5%
1890 661,086 1.9%
1900 694,466 5.0%
1910 742,371 6.9%
1920 768,014 3.5%
1930 797,423 3.8%
1940 847,226 6.2%
1950 913,774 7.9%
1960 969,265 6.1%
1970 992,048 2.4%
1980 1,124,660 13.4%
1990 1,227,928 9.2%
2000 1,274,923 3.8%
2010 1,328,361 4.2%
Source: 1910-2010[29]

As of 2008, Maine had 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, making it the least densely populated state in New England, the American northeast, the eastern seaboard, of all of the states with an Atlantic coastline and of all of the states east of the Mississippi River.

The mean population center of Maine is located in Kennebec County, just east of Augusta.[30] The Greater Portland metropolitan area is the most densely populated with nearly 20% of Maine's population.[31] As explained in detail under "Geography", there are large tracts of uninhabited land in some remote parts of the interior.

In 2009, Maine was one of three states to have lost population.[32]

Race, ancestry, and language

At the 2010 Census, 94.4% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 1.1% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.6% non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.0% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.4% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 1.3% of Maine's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).[33]

Demographics of Maine (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 98.08% 0.77% 1.03% 0.93% 0.06%
2000 (Hispanic only) 0.66% 0.06% 0.03% 0.02% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 97.81% 1.02% 1.00% 1.06% 0.06%
2005 (Hispanic only) 0.91% 0.07% 0.03% 0.02% 0.00%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 3.37% 37.45% 0.77% 17.68% 2.76%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 3.09% 38.61% 0.95% 18.10% 9.48%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 44.03% 22.69% -5.57% -3.52% -43.56%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

The largest ancestries in the state are:

[34] Most Americans in Maine are of English descent, but have family that has been in the country for so long, in many cases since the early 17th century, that they choose to identify simply as "American".[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

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, with 94.4% of the state's residents being white according to the 2010 Census. The state has the highest percentage of current French speakers who came from Quebec between 1840 and 1930, and New Brunswick prior to 1842. In northern Maine, (particularly Aroostook County), Acadians still speak French at home, since their relatives live in neighboring New Brunswick. The area was once known as the Republic of Madawaska, before the frontier was decided in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. Over one-quarter of the population of Lewiston, Waterville, and Biddeford are Franco-American. 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.[42]


The religious affiliations of the people of Maine are shown below:

In 2010, a study said Maine was the least religious state in the United States.[44]


Bath Iron Works naval shipbuilding.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maine's total gross state product for 2010 was $52 billion.[45] Its per capita personal income for 2007 was US$33,991, 34th in the nation. As of October 2010, Maine's unemployment rate is 7.4%.[46]

Old port area of Portland

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.[47]

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; Hannaford Bros. Co. in Scarborough, 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.


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.


jetBlue aircraft at the Portland International Jetport.


The Portland International Jetport

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.[48]


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.

In March 2011, Maine ranked amongst the top three best states in the American State Litter Scorecard, for overall effectiveness and quality of its public space cleanliness—primarily roadway and adjacent litter—from state and related debris removal efforts.[49]



A southbound Downeaster passenger train at Ocean Park, Maine, as viewed from the cab of a northbound train.

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.

Law and government

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 Paul LePage, a Republican). 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 William J. Schneider. 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 square miles (960 km2) to 6,829 square miles (17,700 km2).

County name County seat Year founded 2010 population Percent of total Area (sq. mi.) Percent of total
Androscoggin Auburn 1854 107,702 8.14% 497 1.44%
Aroostook Houlton 1839 71,870 5.80% 6,829 19.76%
Cumberland Portland 1760 281,674 20.83% 1,217 3.52%
Franklin Farmington 1838 30,768 2.31% 1,744 5.05%
Hancock Ellsworth 1789 54,418 4.06% 1,522 4.40%
Kennebec Augusta 1799 122,151 9.19% 951 2.75%
Knox Rockland 1860 39,618 3.11% 1,142 3.30%
Lincoln Wiscasset 1760 34,736 2.64% 700 2.03%
Oxford Paris 1805 57,833 4.29% 2,175 6.29%
Penobscot Bangor 1816 153,923 11.37% 3,556 10.29%
Piscataquis Dover-Foxcroft 1838 17,535 1.35% 4,377 12.67%
Sagadahoc Bath 1854 35,293 2.76% 370 1.07%
Somerset Skowhegan 1809 52,228 3.99% 4,095 11.85%
Waldo Belfast 1827 38,786 2.85% 853 2.47%
Washington Machias 1790 32,856 2.66% 3,255 9.42%
York Alfred 1636 197,131 14.65% 1,271 3.68%
Total Counties: 16 Total 2010 population: 1,328,361 Total State area: 34,554 square miles (89,494 km2)

State and local politics

See also: Maine gubernatorial election, 2006; Maine gubernatorial election, 2010; Maine Republican Party; Maine Democratic Party; Maine Green Independent Party; Libertarian Party of Maine; Electoral reform in Maine; Same-sex marriage in Maine

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). 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.[50]

Federal politics

Maine's two U.S. Senators, Susan Collins (left) and Olympia Snowe (right).

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. 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.

In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans made major gains in Maine. They captured the governor's office as well as majorities in both chambers of the state legislature for the first time since the early 1970s.

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 current Governor is Republican Paul LePage. The state's two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.


Organized municipalities

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.[51]

  • The largest municipality in Maine, by population, is the city of Portland (pop. 64,249).
  • The smallest city by population is Eastport (pop. 1,640).
  • The largest town by population is Brunswick (pop. 21,172).
  • The smallest town by population is Frye Island, a resort town which reported zero year-round population in the 2000 Census; one plantation, Glenwood Plantation, Maine, also reported a permanent population of zero.
  • In the 2000 Census, the smallest town aside from Frye Island was Centerville with a population of 26, but since that Census, Centerville voted to disincorporate and therefore is no longer a town. The next smallest town with a population listed in that Census is Beddington, (pop. 29).
  • The largest municipality by land area is the town of Allagash 128 square miles (332 km2)
  • The smallest municipality by land area is the plantation of Monhegan Island 0.86 square miles (2.2 km2).

Unorganized territory

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 (Androscoggin, Cumberland, Waldo, and York) 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.[52]

Most populous cities and towns

Fact Finder US Census Maine Portland:

The 49 most populous cities and towns as of the year 2010 US Census
South Portland
Presque Isle
Cape Elizabeth
Old Orchard Beach
Old Town
South Berwick

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:

  • Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, Scarborough, and Falmouth
  • Lewiston and Auburn
  • Bangor, Orono, Brewer, Old Town, and Hampden
  • Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach
  • Brunswick and Topsham
  • Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, and Oakland
  • Presque Isle and Caribou
  • [53]


Public schools

Public schools are run by one of four types of school districts: 1) local for a single school, 2) School Union whose members share only a superintendent, 3) School Administrative District containing multiple towns and one superintendent, and 4) Community School District that has one elementary school that towns share.

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 can be perceived as "semi-private." 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 School Administrative District 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.


Sports teams



  • Portland Phoenix FC, soccer, Premier Developmental League

State symbols

The current state license plate design, introduced in 1999, depicts both the state bird and the state flower.


Maine in fiction


  • Charlotte Agell lives in Maine and has several books set in Maine.
  • Gerald Warner Brace (1901–1978) lived in Deer Isle. All of his novels are set in New England, some in Maine.
  • Carolyn Chute (1947–) lives in Maine and set several novels in fictional town of Egypt, Maine.
  • Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955) — Iconic Maine writer.
  • Terry Goodkind's The Law of Nines takes place in Maine.
  • John Irving wrote The Cider House Rules, a novel (and later a motion picture), set in several fictional Maine towns.
  • Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909) lived in South Berwick, Maine. Many of her novels and short stories were set in Maine.
  • Elijah Kellogg Jr[57] (1813–1901) — Popular author of Horatio Alger, Jr.-style boy's books. Many of these out-of-copyright books are available online at
  • Stephen King, a Maine native and resident of Bangor, bases much of his fiction in Maine.
  • Dean Koontz wrote Night Chills, horror/suspense novel, which takes place in the fictional town of Black River, Maine.
  • H. P. Lovecraft, who set almost all of his stories in New England, occasionally mentions Maine.
  • Robert McCloskey (1914–2003 ) — Beloved children's author.
  • Ruth Moore's novels were based almost entirely in Maine, although she rejected the label of "regional writer."
  • Van Reid wrote The Moosepath League series of books, which are humorous adventures set in 19th century Maine.
  • Rhea Cote Robbins, author of Wednesday's Child about a mill town, and coming of age experiences.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe composed Uncle Tom's Cabin almost entirely in Brunswick, Maine.
  • Henry David Thoreau wrote The Maine Woods, which he visited during his stay at Walden Pond.
  • Lewis Robinson's novel Water Dogs and many of his short stories in Officer Friendly and Other Stories are set in Maine.
  • E. B. White lived in Brooklin, Maine and used Maine as the setting of Charlotte's Web. He also wrote many essays about his experiences in Maine including "Once More to the Lake."
  • Kenneth Roberts (1885–1957) was a novelist of the Regionalist school, who wrote about Maine in works such as Arundel, Northwest Passage, Rabble in Arms and Boon Island.



  • "Augusta, Gone" (2001) a television drama about a teenager's descent into drug use, is set on Mount Desert Island, Maine.
  • Dark Shadows is set in the fictional coastal town of Collinsport, Maine.
  • Hawkeye Pierce, a central character of the television sitcom M*A*S*H, is a resident of the fictional town of Crabapple Cove, Maine. The role of Pierce was played by Alan Alda. The series was based upon the writings of Dr. H. Richard Hornberger (writing as Richard Hooker), who following the war resided in Pittsfield.
  • Murder, She Wrote, a television series starring Angela Lansbury, is set in the fictional Maine village of Cabot Cove, but filmed in Mendocino, California.
  • Murder in Small Town X was an unscripted drama series airing in 2001 with ten people competing to find a fictional killer in the town of Sunrise (Eastport, Maine) [59]
  • Kingdom Hospital, Stephen King's 2004 ABC mini-series, was set in Lewiston
  • Haven is set in the fictional costal town of Haven, Maine. It is based on Stephen King's book "The Colorado Kid."
  • Passions, a daytime soap opera, is set in the fictional supernatural town of Harmony. The first two months and opening credits were filmed in Camden and Belfast, Maine.

Notable residents

A citizen of Maine is known as a "Mainer,"[1] though the term "Downeaster" may be applied to residents of the northeast coast of the state.

See also


  1. ^ a b " - definition of "Mainer"". Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Resident Population Data - 2010 Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  3. ^ "Katahdin 2". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States". United States Geological Survey. 2001. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
  6. ^ In the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor, the President of the State Senate is first in line for succession.
  7. ^ "Message from the State Forester". Maine Forest Service. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein, et al (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth". BioScience 51 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:TEOTWA]2.0.CO;2. 
  9. ^ " Facts About Maine". State of Maine. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Coastline lengths of states
  11. ^ drowned coast: Definition and Much More from
  12. ^ "Maine". National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-16. [dead link]
  13. ^ Lent, Robert (2009-02-10). "New All Time Low Temperature Recorded in Maine". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  14. ^ "Each state's high temperature record". USA Today. August 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  15. ^ [1] NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved on October 24, 2006.
  16. ^ Lent, Robert (2009-02-10). "New All Time Low Temperature Recorded in Maine". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  17. ^ "Each state's high temperature record". USA Today. August 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  18. ^ Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 20, 1882–1883, Published by the Society, Boston, 1884
  19. ^ Bruce G. Trigger (ed.): Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15. Northeast. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 1978 ISBN 0-16004-575-4
  20. ^ Woodard, Colin. The Lobster Coast. New York. Viking/Penguin, ISBN 0-670-03324-3, 2004, pp. 139–140, 150-151
  21. ^ Woodard, Colin. "Parallel 44: Origins of the Mass Effect", The Working Waterfront, August 31, 2010. [2]
  22. ^ Woodard, Colin. The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators and the Forgotten Frontier (2004) Penguin Books. ISBN 0-670-03324-3
  23. ^ "Maine History (Statehood)". Retrieved April 13, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Journal of the Senate" (doc). State of Maine. 2002-03-06. Retrieved 2007-09-20. ""WHEREAS, the State of Maine is named after the Province of Maine in France..."" 
  25. ^ Schroeder, Emily A.. "Origin of Maine's Name". Maine State Library. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  26. ^ Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. pp. 41–42. 
  27. ^ Shain, Samuella (1997-08-01). The Maine Reader: The Down East Experience from 1614 to the Present. David R. Godine Publisher. ISBN 9781567920789. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  28. ^ Stuart, George R. (1958). Names on the Land. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0938530022. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2010 (US Census Bureau)". Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  31. ^ "City of Portland". Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  32. ^ Turkel, Tux (15 August 2010). "Maine can learn by numbers in province". Portland, ME: Maine Telegram. pp. A11. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ Maine, Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2007 Data Set: 2007 American Community Survey,
  35. ^ Sharing the Dream: White Males in a Multicultural America By Dominic J. Pulera.
  36. ^ Reynolds Farley, 'The New Census Question about Ancestry: What Did It Tell Us?', Demography, Vol. 28, No. 3 (August 1991), pp. 414, 421.
  37. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Lawrence Santi, 'The Use of Nativity Data to Estimate Ethnic Characteristics and Patterns', Social Science Research, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1985), pp. 44-6.
  38. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86.
  39. ^ Mary C. Waters, Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 36.
  40. ^ French Canadian Emigration to the United States 1840-1930Claude Bélanger, Department of History, Marianopolis College
  41. ^ French-Canadian Americans by Marianne Fedunkiw
  42. ^ "MLA Language Map Data Center". Modern Language Association. 
  43. ^ a b c "State Membership Report - Maine". Association of Religion Data Archives. 
  44. ^ Hendrickson, Dyke (August 19, 2010). "The Role of Religion in Maine". Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  45. ^ "GDP by State". Greyhill Advisors. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  46. ^ - Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  47. ^ "Toothpick Capital of the World". The Center For Land Use Interpretation. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  48. ^ KEPM - Eastport, Maine - Eastport Municipal Airport". Great Circle Mapper. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  49. ^ S. Spacek, 2011 American State Litter Scorecard: New Rankings for An Increasingly Environmentally Concerned Populace
  50. ^ Susan M. Cover (4 November 2009). "Mainers vote down gay marriage law". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2009. "The measure is repealed in a close vote, 53-47 percent" [dead link]
  51. ^ Maine City and Town Index
  52. ^ Maine Township Listing (Unorganized Territories)
  53. ^ Fact Finder US Census Maine Portland
  54. ^
  55. ^ "Whoopie pie to become Maine state ‘treat'". The Boston Globe. 
  56. ^ portal
  57. ^ Elijah Kellogg Jr
  58. ^ But filmed in Morro Bay, California. Kyse, B. (1976, August 2). San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune: Mouse shoots dragon. Retrieved on February 13, 2010 from
  59. ^ IIMDd. (2010). Murder in Small Town X. Retrieved on February 13, 2010 from

External links

State government
U.S. government

Related information

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on March 15, 1820 (23rd)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 45°30′N 69°00′W / 45.5°N 69°W / 45.5; -69

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