Maine State Day, Motto, and Nickname
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
March 15, 1820
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
Province of Maine (Western Maine)
Territory of Sagadahock (Eastern Maine)
Province of Nova Scotia (Northern Maine)
District of Maine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Although Maine’s statehood is often attributed to its status as "the other half" of the controversial Missouri Compromise, Mainers' decision to break away from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had more to do with its standing as a remote but embattled district of the commonwealth than timing. The issue of statehood was discussed in a poll as early as 1787, and received consideration by voters again in 1792, 1897, and 1802.
It would take the War of 1812 however, to convince Mainers that statehood was truly what they wanted. The British military’s capture of Maine’s eastern seaports during the war soured relations between Maine and the commonwealth. The District of Maine felt abandoned by Massachusetts and unable to defend itself as a district of the commonwealth.
But it would take two more elections before separatists would have the votes necessary under commonwealth law to declare statehood. With a vote of 17,091 for statehood and 7,132 against, Maine residents successfully attained statehood. It became the 23rd state of the Union on March 15, 1820. It would take another 158 years before Maine’s Legislature would officially declare the date March 15 as an official holiday.
Dirigo ("I lead")
Maine was once the only state to hold its elections in September, and politicians closely followed these elections to spot coming trends in the rest of the nation. Thus, Maine's state motto is Dirigo, which translates from Latin to "I lead."
"The Pine Tree State" (official), "The Old Dirigo State," "The Border State," The Lumber State," "Vacationland," "The Switzerland State," "The Polar Star State"
"The Old Dirigo State" refers to Maine’s aforementioned motto and the reason for it. "The Border State" refers to Maine’s geographical location at the border with Canada. Maine’s expansive pine tree forests give it its official nickname, "The Pine Tree State." The white pine specifically is Maine’s state tree. Maine’s reputation as "The Lumber State" refers to its formidable lumber industry, which relies heavily on its large pine forests.
Maine is well known internationally as a vacation destination, hence the moniker "Vacationland." Mountains and ample snow are credited for Maine’s nickname "The Switzerland State." The inclusion of the polar star in the state’s emblem has led to Maine’s nickname as "The Polar Star State." Maine’s fame as the northernmost state second to Alaska is believed to also have contributed to this nickname.
-World Trade Press