Maine’s 400th Anniversary

 

Photo Credit; Wikimedia Creative Commons, Attribution Peter Isotalo

Photo Credit; Wikimedia Creative Commons, Attribution Peter Isotalo

 

Queen Elizabeth came to Jamestown, VA in 2007 to commemorate the Virginia colony ‘s  400th anniversary. But she skipped the other Virginia colony, located at Popham Beach, Maine. 400 years ago, Virginia did reach from Maine to Virginia, but those Maine Immigrants did not stay long.So, ignored by the queen,  Popham Beach, Maine put on its own 400-year  celebration

In 1607, Sir George Popham led a group of explorers to what is now midcoast Maine.  He chose an open spit of land buttressed by ledges, which backed up to dense forest. Its island-studded view faces the Kennebec River. Strife with the Abenaki Indians paled next to the rigors of the Maine winter. Surrounded by forest, the pioneers constructed a ship; the Virginia. Those explorers who survived the winter, sailed back to England—thereby establishing  the Jamestown colony’s claim that they were the first permanent settlement on the East Coast.

For years the Popham Colony existed only by rumor. Then, a map of the grounds was discovered in Madrid. Since 1994,  an annual  archeological expedition uncovers more artifacts—shards of pottery, musket balls, coins, and buttons.

But Maine started a seafaring tradition on her 3500-mile  coast that continues today. In the heyday of sail, the state boasted 250 shipbuilders. The wooden boats they build today still hold more cachet than their modern fiberglass replacements.

Twelve miles from Popham Beach, the city of Bath is known as the city of ships. On the lawn beside the Maritime museum stands a facsimile of the largest wooden ship ever built. Bath is small, but the ships she  builds for the US Navy are large.

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