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District of Maine facts for kids

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District of Maine
Part of Massachusetts

 -  Established 1780
 -  Missouri Compromise: Statehood March 4 1820
Today part of  Maine

The District of Maine was the governmental designation for what is now the U.S. state of Maine from October 25, 1780 to March 15, 1820, when it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state. The district was a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and before American independence had been part of the British province of Massachusetts Bay.

Maine colonial history

Originally settled in 1607 by the Plymouth Company, the coastal area between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers, became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent. In 1629, the patent was split, creating an area between the Piscataqua River and the Merrimack River named the Province of New Hampshire. By 1658, the Massachusetts Bay Colony had assimilated the Province of Maine into its jurisdiction.

The northeastern portion of present-day Maine was first sparsely occupied by French colonists as part of Acadia. The lands between the Kennebec and Saint Croix rivers were granted to the Duke of York in 1664, who had them administered as Cornwall County, part of his proprietary Province of New York. In 1688 these lands (along with the rest of New York) were subsumed into the Dominion of New England. English and French claims in western Maine would be contested, at times violently, until the British conquest of New France in the French and Indian War.

With the creation of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1692, the entirety of what is now Maine became part of that province. Under Massachusetts’ administration, it was first administered as York County, which was subdivided by the creation in 1760 of Cumberland and Lincoln counties.

As divided by the Continental Congress in 1778, the District of Maine was the northernmost of three districts in Massachusetts, bounded on the west by the Piscataqua River and on the east by the Saint Croix River. By 1820, the time of its statehood, the territory had been further subdivided with the creation of Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Somerset, and Washington counties. During the War of 1812 the British conquered a large portion of Maine including everything from the Penobscot River east to the New Brunswick border. The weak response of Massachusetts to this occupation contributed to increased calls in the Maine district for statehood.

State of Maine

Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise.

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