Happy Birthday Maine! You Sexy State, You.
Every now and then I meet one of those people that swears they hate all things birthday. Whether it's their own birthday, or someone else's, they get all pouty and sad about it. The rest of us, however, often bask in the glory of celebrating another trip round the old sun.
So technically, it is all our birthday because our beloved state of Maine turns 198 years old today. Which puts us just inches away from our bicentennial. And I'll tell you, when it happens, we're gonna party like it's March 15th, 2020. I can't even imagine what I would get Maine for an important birthday present.
But before we have to worry about bicentennials, let's take a moment to look at a bit of Maine's history and see where all this madness started.
Long before we were even recognized as a state, we were recognized by the Council of New England in 1622 as a province to be shared by Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason. Captain Mason eventually claimed one portion to be solely his, which he named New Hampshire. Gorges wanted to name his territory New Somerset, but King Charles despised it and declared in a 1639 charter according to Maine.gov:
...shall forever hereafter be called and named the Province or County of Mayne and not by any other name or names whatsoever.
Fast forwarding a couple hundred years after a quick Revolutionary War and speedy Independence from England, we were finally officially recognized as a state in 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise. This had both states entering at the same time...Maine as a free state, and Missouri as a slave state. The "compromise" was the effort to keep free and slave states as equal as possible. Apparently back then, that was a big deal. Thank God we've moved on as a country since.
Hey, did you know we had a State Fossil?! I didn't. It is Pertica Quadrifaria. Don't feel bad, I didn't know what it was either. Here is it is as described at Maine.gov....
Pertica Quadrifaria is the scientific name of a primitive plant that lived about 390,000,000 years ago during the Devonian Period. Its fossilized remains were discovered in 1968 in the rocks of the Trout Valley Formation in Baxter State Park near Mount Katahdin. Based on the type of rock it is found in today and the other fossils associated with it, Pertica quadrifaria grew in a brackish or freshwater marsh near an active volcano. Fragments of the plants were preserved when they fell into the marsh and were covered by sediment before they could decay. After millions of years of burial, the plant remains are now exposed along eroding stream banks.
So in theory, with a bit of weekend detective work, maybe you could locate some of these fossils yourself.
Honestly, I could go on for days about Maine's rich history, and famous people from our state, etc. But that would exclude you from doing some of your own research and learning some of the cool stuff about where we all live. And half the fun of researching history, is in the research itself.
So have fun, bake a cake, blow out the candles, and make a wish for the great State of Maine.
And maybe some Moose Tracks ice cream!