Commemorating 200 years of statehood
The State of Maine is commemorating 200 years of statehood in 2020, an anniversary that gives us an opportunity to reflect on how Maine became the place it is today, and to contemplate how the State and its residents will develop in the centuries to come.
Maine’s path to statehood mirrored and advanced many issues that resonate through to the present: relationships among different societies, the struggle for civil justice, the use of natural resources, and the idea of responsible stewardship of our land, air, and water.
Maine’s participation in disruptive events, such as the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War, forged a state known for its strength, resolve, and courage.
These natural and social factors resulted in Maine possessing a distinct and vibrant identity known and appreciated the world over.
Here are a few key events in our pre-statehood history:
- Glaciers from 115,000 years ago scrape our land and shape our coast and gulf.
- Descendants of Maine’s Indian tribes arrive 13,000 years ago.
- English, French, and Dutch explorers visit late in the 16th Century.
- Colonization in the 17th Century brings strife and tension.
- Treaty of William and Mary binds Province of Maine to Massachusetts Bay Colony.
- Maine men fight in America Revolution.
- Independence from England keeps Maine a District of Massachusetts.
- In War of 1812, Massachusetts fails to defend Maine from British troops.
- Maine support for statehood increases when Congress repeals “Coasting Law.”
- On July 26, 1819, Maine votes for statehood.
- On March 15, 1820, Maine becomes 23rd state as part of Maine-Missouri Compromise.
To learn more about the history of how Maine joined the Union, we encourage you to visit the Maine State Museum Path to Statehood exhibit (either online or in-person), read the Maine Historical Society’s Maine History, or the view the Maine State Archives Bicentennial Exhibit.
Hover over the icons below to find what you’re looking for, from fun facts for kids...to historical photos, videos and articles...to places where Maine history was made that you can visit today.
Watch videos about the many fascinating events and people involved in Maine's becoming the 23rd State, and those making history here and on the national stage in the subsequent two centuries.