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The Province of Maine refers to several Englishmarker colonies of that name that existed in the 17th century along the northeast coast of North America, at times roughly encompassing portions of the present-day U.S. states of Mainemarker, New Hampshiremarker, and Vermontmarker, as well as the Canadian province of Quebecmarker. The province existed through a series of land patents in several incarnations, the last of which was eventually absorbed into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.


1622 Patent

The first patent establishing the Province of Maine was granted on August 10, 1622 to Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason by the Plymouth Council for New England, which itself had been granted a royal patent by James I to the coast of North America between the 40th to the 48th parallel "from sea to sea". This first patent encompassed the coast between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers. In 1629, Gorges and Mason agreed to split the patent at the Piscataqua River, with Mason retaining the land south of the river as the Province of New Hampshire.

Gorges named his more northerly piece of territory New Somersetshire. This venture failed, however, because of lack of funds and colonial settlement.

1639 Patent

In 1639 Gorges obtained a renewed patent, the Gorges Patent, for the area between the Piscataqua and Kennebec Rivers, in the form of a royal charter from Charles I of England. The area was roughly the same as that covered in the 1622 patent after the 1629 split with Mason. The second colony also foundered for lack of money and settlers.


In 1664, what had been the Province of Maine was given a grant by Charles II of England to James, Duke of York. Under the terms of this patent the territory was incorporated into Cornwall County, part of the Province of New York. Unlike the previous two patents, the territory stipulated in the 1664 charter encompassed the areas north of the Kennebec River to the St. Croix Rivermarker. This region, which had previously been called the Territory of Sagadahockmarker, forms the eastern portion of the present day state of Maine. The patent to James for this territory was renewed in 1674 and survives in York Countymarker.

After a series of further permutations, the former Province had become, by the 18th century, part of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, later the state of Massachusettsmarker. The region achieved statehood of its ownmarker in 1820.

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