March 15, 1820 – Maine Joins the Union as the 23rd State

Maine used to be a northern province of Massachusetts. Following the American Revolution, frontier settlers who resented being ruled from Boston pressed for separation.  But coastal merchants, who held the balance of political power at the time, resisted the separation movement until the War of 1812 showed that Massachusetts was unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection for the people of the district against British raids. 

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Maine entered the Union as part of the famous Missouri Compromise of 1820. This arrangement allowed Maine to join the Union as a free state, with Missouri entering a year later as a slave state, thereby preserving the numerical balance between free and slave states in the nation. 

But there were lots of other disputes over ownership of Maine even aside from the question of Massachusetts. In 1779, for example, the British adopted a strategy to seize parts of Maine, especially around Penobscot Bay, and make it a new colony to be called “New Ireland.” It was intended to be a permanent colony for Loyalists and a base for military action during the war. The plan ultimately failed because of a lack of interest by the British government and the determination of the Americans to keep all of Maine.

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Some Interesting Facts About Maine:

Maine is the only state in the United States whose name has one syllable.

Maine is the only state that shares its border with only one other state.

Approximately 90 percent of the nation’s lobster supply is caught off the coast of Maine.

maine-lobster

Maine produces 99% of all the blueberries in the country making it the single largest producer of blueberries in the United States.

90% of the country’s toothpick supply is produced in Maine.

The Maine State Animal is the moose: Maine has more moose per mile than any other state. You can even sign up for a “moose safari” to see them.

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