Maine, a Guide down East

By Workers of the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Maine | Go to book overview

THE NATION'S NORTHEAST CORNER

STATE NAME

THE name of Maine, it is supposed by some historians, was bestowed as a tribute to England's Queen Henrietta Marie, feudal ruler of the French province of Meyne or Maine; some think the name was brought directly from France by early French colonists; others hold that it was a term used to distinguish the mainland from the coastal islands on which early fishermen dried their catch. The 'mainland' theory seems especially apt in view of the facts that the serrated coastline of the State measures some 2500 miles, and that there are more than 400 offshore islands, ranging in area from 1100 to 16,000 acres, with a host of lesser ones. Islanders to this day speak of 'the main.' Variously spelled Main, Mayn, and Mayne, the name was in use as early as 1622. Under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, the region was known as 'The Province of Maine'; and when it was admitted to the Union in 1820, 'The State of Maine' became its official title. The inclusion of the word 'State' was probably inspired by the resounding title of the mother State, 'The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.'


GEOGRAPHY AND TOPOGRAPHY

Maine, the extreme northeastern State in the Union, is the only one adjoined by but a single sister State. Its comparatively isolated position may be accountable for an aloofness sometimes said to be characteristic of its people. The southern boundary of the State is the Atlantic Ocean; the eastern boundary follows the St. Croix River to its source, thence due north to the St. John River; the northern boundary extends roughly from the St. John Grand Falls along the river to Crown Monument; the western boundary extends from Crown Monument to the sea at the mouth of the Piscataqua River near Kittery Point. The State is thus

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