Tags: US State Facts | Maine History | Portland Fire | Uncle Toms Cabin

Maine History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 23 February 2015 11:32 PM

Brutal winters and coastal beauty have shaped Maine history since Paleo Indians settled in the area some 11,500 years ago. Long before the British landed to colonize what would become the eastern seaboard of the United States, Maine was the location where Norse sailors explored the new world.

Here are eight events that have shaped Maine History:

1. The arrival of Leif Erikson: Leif Erikson and his Norse sailors arrived in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia as early as the year 1000 A.D. Some evidence suggests this group of explorers reached as far south as Maine.

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2. The French Settle: The French made the first attempts at colonizing the New World in Maine as early as 1604. There was dispute between the French and later English settlers over who had rights to the land until the French and Indian War in the 1850s. When the French were defeated, Maine reverted to the English. The French had made attempts at friendly relations with the Native Americans in the area.

3. The Revolutionary War: Several momentous events in the Revolutionary War happened in Maine. The waters off the coast of Maine were the site of the first Naval Battle of the war. Famed traitor Benedict Arnold trekked through the Maine wilderness in an attempt to capture Quebec. Arnold showed great heroism in this march before he decided to defect to the British side of the war.

4. Missouri Compromise: While this act of Congress holds the name of a state a great distance from the shores of Maine, it was the Missouri Compromise that allowed Maine to join the Union as a free state. Missouri's slave state status allowed the two to join just a few months apart in 1820, and keep the delicate balance of slave and free states in the country at the time.

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5. Temperance: Maine history is marked by its temperance. It was a leader in the anti-alcohol movement of the 1800s. Maine law prohibited the sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages for any use other than medicinal from the mid-1800s until national prohibition was repealed in 1934. The first total abstinence group was formed in the state as early as 1815.

6. Uncle Tom's Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the famed literary work Uncle Tom's Cabin in Brunswick. The novel became an inspirational abolitionist work and changed how many Americans viewed slavery.

7. Portland's Great Fire: An 1866 fire in downtown Portland was sparked on the 4th of July by fireworks. It burned for two days and destroyed 1,800 buildings, leaving 10,000 people homeless.

8. The Great Ice Storm of 1998: A huge ice storm in 1998 put nearly half of the state's population out of power. Every county in the state was declared a federal disaster area.

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Brutal winters and coastal beauty have shaped Maine history since Paleo Indians settled in the area some 11,500 years ago.
Maine History, Portland Fire, Uncle Toms Cabin
Monday, 23 February 2015 11:32 PM
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