Vikings led by Leif Ericson probably visited Maine around A.D. 1000. Maine may also have been visited by John Cabot in 1498.
Several French explorers reached Maine, including Verrazano in 1524. Champlain discovered and named Mount Desert, the largest island off the coast of Maine.
The first English settlement was Popham Plantation near the mouth of the Kennebec River. It was established in 1607 and abandoned in 1608.
In 1641, the community of Gorgeana, later known as York, became a city with a charter, the first chartered English city within the present boundaries of the United States.
In 1677, Massachusetts bought Maine from one of the original families for about $6,000.
French and Indian wars were fought in Maine for nearly a century, until the French finally ceded all their North American holdings to Britain in 1763.
One of the major events during that period was the capture of the French fort of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia in 1745 by a force from Maine.
During the American Revolution, Maine played a peripheral role, although the sympathies of its citizens were generally in favor of independence and many Maine men served in the Continental Army.
After the war, Maine remained a district of Massachusetts, although geographically much closer to New Hampshire.
Dissatisfaction grew, accentuated by the feeling that Massachusetts had not done enough to defend Maine during the War of 1812. The final result was that Maine was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise.
The northeast boundary between Maine and Canada was a point of contention for many years until finally settled by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842.
Starting in 1846, Maine began to restrict alcohol and went completely dry in 1884. It remained dry until 1934, repealing the state constitutional prohibition only after the repeal of the Volstead Act nationally.
Until 1936, Maine had been considered a bellwether state in presidential elections, and a popular saying was that, "As Maine goes, so goes the country."
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