Maine descends from the rival colonizing efforts of two European nations. French settlers arrived in 1604, English ones in 1607. Over the two following centuries its history would be shaped by conflicts among the two powers and harsh conditions which caused local settlements to be abandoned.
The entire territory was left in British hands by the 1760s, though there was controversy over which parts belonged to which province. Administratively the British settlements belonged to Massachusetts, the French ones to Nova Scotia.
Maine was gained by Massachusetts during the American Revolutionary War, but captured by the British in the War of 1812. Though its exact boundaries with the Canadian provinces would remain in dispute until the 1840s, Maine became the 23rd state of the Union in 1820.
Modern Maine is the 39th largest state and the 40th most populous. The capital is Augusta, the largest city is Portland. Maine borders the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, as well as the state of New Hampshire.