This long-awaited volume is a concise, solid, and surprising overview of 500 years of Maine history, from first contact between Native Americans and European explorers to the achievement of a Down East identity, national political power, and worldwide cultural identification. Almost the size of the rest of New England, Maine was the first colonized and is the most forested, sparsely settled, and, perhaps, the most independent-minded of New England states. Changes in the economy, religion, ethnicity, arts, leisure, and education have all shaped Maine and Mainers, with some intriguing results. Noteworthy are the many rare and fascinating drawings, paintings, and photographs drawn from the collections of the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Special Collections at the Portland Public Library, the Maine State Museum, local historical societies (including Bethel), private collections, and even the Vatican. Over 200 photos and illustrations, bibliography, 8 x 10, 304 pages, softcover.