A brief history of the Maine economy

June 1, 2003

Maine's coastal geography and abundance of natural resources vital to the nation's development led to early settlement and rapid population and economic growth. When those resources become less vital following the Civil War, however, Maine's growth slowed markedly and remains slow today. But, because Maine was not spoiled by continuous rapid growth, the State's current tourism campaign can boast of "Maine -- the way life should be!"

The English established the first permanent settlements in Maine in the 1620s, but only a half dozen of these survived the rugged climate and Indian attacks. By the 1700s, Massachusetts had purchased most of the land in this wilderness territory and thus governed until Maine achieved statehood in 1820.

Maine's coastal geography and abundance of natural resources vital to the nation's development led to early settlement and rapid population and economic growth. When those resources become less vital following the Civil War, however, Maine's growth slowed markedly and remains slow today. But, because Maine was not spoiled by continuous rapid growth, the State's current tourism campaign can boast of "Maine -- the way life should be!"

Supporting documents

A Brief History of the Maine Economy, 2003 (PDF)