The State of Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The territory that is now Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820. Maine is the northernmost portion of New England and is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States. It is known for its scenery — its jagged, mostly rocky coastline; its low, rolling mountains; and its heavily forested interior — as well as for its seafood cuisine, especially lobsters and clams.
The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking peoples. The first European settlement in Maine was in 1604 by a French party. The first English settlement in Maine, the short-lived Popham Colony, was established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and Indian attacks wiped out many of them over the years.
As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen settlements still survived. American and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Because it was physically separated from the rest of Massachusetts (properly speaking, the Department of Maine was an exclave of Massachusetts) and because it was growing in population at a rapid rate, Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820, as a component of the Missouri Compromise.