Sunday 22 January 2012

The America Project - Maine

Generally speaking, the Sundays here on my blog are a dead loss, as I wake up in whatever ditch I fell asleep in and then try and buy a passing stranger's shoes that I may return home to sleep one off. So I came up with the winning idea of resurrecting my America Project for just such eventualities. I am clever. Anyway, on with the show.

Maine (ME) size 35,385 sq.m population 1.3 million

Bordering states New Hampshire, Massachusetts (2)
State capital Augusta
Most populous city Portland
Other notable places Eastport, Fort Fairfield, Bangor, Alfred
Notable landmarks and natural features Moosehead Lake, West Quoddy Head, Old Sow whirlpool, Appalachian Mountains

Statehood 15th March 1820 (23rd)

Ten famous Mainers
Anna Belknap (actress; born Damariscotta, 1972 -)
Myrna Fahey (actress; born Carmel, 1933-1973)
John Ford (film director; born Port Elizabeth, 1894-1973)
Edwin Hall (physicist; born Gorham, 1855-1938)
David E. Kelley (writer and television producer; born Waterville, 1956 -)
Anna Kendrick (actress and singer; born Portland, 1985 -)
Stephen King (author; born Portland, 1947 -)
Judd Nelson (actor; born Portland, 1959 -)
John O'Hurley (actor; born Kittery, 1954 -)
Victoria Rowell (actress; born Portland, 1959 -)

Three important events

1. New Ireland (1779)
Good losers as ever, the lovable colonialist Britons took the American Declaration of Independence with great equanimity and promptly invaded Maine in 1779 with a view to establishing a new colony called New Ireland, to serve as a base for all the British military and a safe harbour for more reinforcements to arrive by sea. The British proved stubborn, too, remaining in New Ireland until two years after the end of hostilities in 1781.

2. Aroostock War (1838-39)
Britain was once again responsible for some funtimes in Maine, although this time there was no actual armed conflict - although over 500 people lost their lives nonetheless. The problem was a dispute as to the exact location of the border between British North America, now Canada, and Maine. Principally because the verdant, forested disputed landscape proved a very tempting proposition for either side. As such, each side believed the other to be sneaking over with an axe and pinching all their trees. With tensions rising and beavers everywhere finding themselves out of a job, in 1830 the King of the Netherlands was even asked to mediate in the dispute. Eventually the US and UK governments stepped in and diplomacy prevailed. The 1842 Webster-Ashburton treaty decreed a border line acceptible to both parties - the USA gaining 7,000 square miles of disputed territory, the British 5,000.

3. Tourism (1850s)
Maine has a very pleasant mild climate and attractive landscape, ideal for the wealthy to swagger about in while all of their American brethren sweat and fart in the broiling sun of the southern and western States. With Maine's population falling significantly in the early 19th century thanks to war and the allure of gold rushes in Ohio and California, it left gaps open for migrant workers and summering tourists. Some of America's most notable families - such as the Bushes and the Rockerfellers - have established holiday retreats in the State.

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