This week’s dive into the history of the state of Maine was an interesting one and full of contradictions. It is the largest New England state (nearly as large as all of the other New England states combined), and it is also the most sparsely populated state east of the Mississippi.
It declared war on our neighbor to the north (the only state to declare war on a foreign country), but there were no casualties. (O.K., no human casualties. There are reports that a pig and a cow who wandered into the fray were casualties of the Aroostook War over Maine’s northern border.)
There are even directional contradictions. Coastal Maine from Penobscot Bay east and north to Canada is considered “Down East.” Travel between Massachusetts and its frontier district, that would later become the state of Maine, was easiest by water in early America. Since the ships were sailing downwind and to ports that were to the east of Massachusetts ports, it was considered “Down East.” The return trip was “up to Boston” despite Boston’s location south of Maine.
Want to learn more about the “Pine Tree State?” Check out our latest state research guide—Maine.
(Looking for another state? You can find all the guides we’ve completed to date here. If we’re missing your state, stay tuned. It’s coming.)
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.