Maine Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. The largest New England state in size, Maine is known as the Pine Tree State because 90 percent of the land is forest. Most of the economy in the state is related to its wealth of timber, but tourism attracts millions of visitors each year as well.

In 1607, the Plymouth Company established the first white settlement at Popham, Maine. But, the settlers were unable to withstand the harsh winters and the settlement didn't survive. The first permanent settlement wasn't established until 1623, although it is believed the land was explored by Vikings as far back as 1498.

Maine as we know it today is a creation of the Ice Age. The coastline that once was relatively straight was cut into the hundreds of harbors, inlets and bays present today by the last glacier. And, when the ice sheet receded, it formed around 2,000 islands that can be found off the coast.

Statehood brought a period of enormous economic growth. Lumbering, fishing, ship building and ice harvesting flourished. And, lime and granite became an important addition to the economy. Water powered factories were built along the rivers and textiles and paper products became primary sources of manufacturing.

The growth of the paper and pulp industry has continued. Large dairy, poultry and potato farms have replaced many of the small farms. Hydro-electric plants began springing up with Edison's discovery in the 1890's. And, today Maine relies heavily on tourism and defense for a large portion of it's economic base.

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