History of Maine (1)

Maine is a product of the Ice Age. The last glacier was responsible for cutting what had been a relatively straight coastline into the hundreds of bays, inlets and picturesque harbors we know today. The receding ice sheet formed the 2,000 or so islands found off the Maine coast.

EARLY INHABITANTS. The region's earliest inhabitants were descendants of Ice Age hunters. Little is known of these "Red Paint" people - so named because of the red clay with which they lined the graves of their dead - except that they flourished and hunted in Maine long before the coming of the Micmac and Abnaki Indian nations.

Burial grounds for these earliest Maine dwellers are thought to date back to 3000 B.C. Huge oyster shell heaps on the Damariscotta estuary testify to the capacious appetites of Maine's aborigines.

Of Maine's two earliest Indian nations, the Micmacs of eastern Maine and New Brunswick were largely a warlike people, while the more numerous Abnakis (or Wabanakis) were a peaceful nation, given to farming and fishing as a way of life.

Although dozens of tribes once inhabited the land, only two remain today. The Passamaquoddies (1,500) live on two reservations, the largest of which is located at Pleasant Point near Eastport. The Penobscots (1,200) live on Indian Island in the Penobscot River at Old Town.