In the early 1600's the Algonquin
Indians who inhabited the region offered little resistance to the
establishment of the first white settlements on the coast and along the
navigable rivers. But Main was the scene of many conflicts during
the French and Indian Wars and came under English control after the
Treaty of Paris in 1763. Settlement began to increase, but remained
low in comparison with other states until the 19th century.
Maine's soldiers played an active part in the
Revolutionary War and the first naval engagement of the war took place off
the state's coast, near Machias. In 1775 the British burned the town
of Falmouth (now Portland). During the War of 1812 the British
easily captured and held the eastern portion of the state. In 1820,
Maine, which had been part of Massachusetts since 1691, became a separate
state. The 12th largest state 1820, by 1986 it ranked 38th.