Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Timeline

Timeline of Maine History 01: Origins

Ripples in the Sand

23,000 BCE – 1121 -23,000 The most recent glacial episode in Maine began about 25,000 years ago, when the Laurentide ice sheet overspread New England. -19,000 Climatic warming forced the Laurentide ice sheet to start receding. -11,800 Ice sheet recedes … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 02: Exploration and Early European Settlement

Weymouth Cross, Allen Island

1492-1650 European explorers cruise the Maine coast in search of opportunities for their patrons, especially in the rich fisheries of the Gulf of Maine. Missionaries and settlers follow, bringing diseases that devastate Native American populations. 1492 Christopher Columbus “discovers” America. … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 03: Massachusetts and the Colonial Period

Father Rasle Monument

1651-1774 Massachusetts asserts its claim to Maine and takes over in 1652. Royal commissioners set up an independent government in Maine in 166, but Massachusetts regains control in 1668.  Many towns in Maine are incorporated during the period, developing a … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 04: The American Revolution

Machias Bay 1785

1775-1789 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord begins the Revolutionary War. Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia. Benedict Arnold and his expedition reach Swan Island in the Kennebec River, move through the state to Quebec. The British ship Margaretta is … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 05: Developing a Maine Identity

Portland Head Light

1790-1819 1790 Portland Head Light lighthouse, located on Shore Road in what is now Cape Elizabeth, is established on order of President George Washington. Population 96,540, first U.S. census. 1791 Incorporation of the towns of Bangor, Camden, and Readfield. 1792 … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 06: Early Statehood

Early Maine State House

1820-1849 After a brief stint in Portland, in 1827 the permanent State Capital was designated to be Augusta; in 1832 the state government moved into the new, small State House. Expansions and improvements continued for decades. Maine’s northern boundary with … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 07: Growth, Civil War, and Economic Change

Joshua Chamberlain

1850-1899 Incorporations of new town across the state was a major theme of this period. Maine’s Hannibal Hamlin was elected Vice-President of the United States with Abraham Lincoln successful presidential campaign.  James G. Blaine ran unsuccessfully for president. The Civil … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 08: Reform and Optimism

Eastern Manufacturing 1910, later Eastern Fine Paper Company

1900-1929 The beginning of the 20th century was marked by the expansion of pulp and paper mills, including the new Great Northern Paper Company mill in Millinocket. Eastern Maunfacturing in Brewer became Eastern Fine Paper Company. Lakewood summer theater in … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 09: Depression and World War

CCC men near Acton

1930-1949 The 1930’s and 1940’s were difficult for most Americans. During the Great Depression, several projects set the stage for recovery in Maine, such as the Wyman Dam on the Kennebec River, the beginnings of Baxter State Park, the Moosehorn … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 10: Seeds of Change

The Nearing

1950-1974 The third quarter of the twentieth century began to draw Maine closer to national and international events as earlier ways of life were challenged. Salting of cod, a centuries old tradition, ended with refigeration. Indians were given the right … Continue reading

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Timeline of Maine History 11: Political Change, Economic Challenges

Women Members of the Maine Legislature

1975-2003 During this period Maine state government was reorganized as a divided legislature faced an Independent governor, and the archaic Executive Council was abolished. Democrats outnumbered Republicans among registered voters for the first time; but unenrolled (“independent”) voters soon outnumbered … Continue reading

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