The 1622 grant of the Province of Maine is shown outlined in blue. The 1629 division into the Province of New Hampshire (south of the Piscataqua) and Province of Maine (north of the Piscataqua) is shown by shading. The boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Company grant are shown in green.
The Province of Maine refers to several English 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 Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec. The province existed through a series of land patents in several incarnations, the last of which was eventually absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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 betweent 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.
The first Province of Maine failed, however, because of lack of funds and colonial settlement.
In 1639 Gorges obtained a renewed patent, the Gorges Patent, for the area betweent he 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, the Province was revived for a second time with a grant by Charles II of England to James, Duke of York, in the same year that James was granted the Province of New York. Unlike the previous two patents, the Province of Maine as stipulated in the 1664 charter encompassed the areas north of the Kennebec River to the St. Croix River. This territory, which had previously been called the Territory of Sagadahock, forms the eastern portion of the present day state of Maine. The patent to James for this territory was renewed in 1674.
Absorption by Massachusetts
In 1677, the land between the Piscataqua and the St. Croix, including all the territory in the previous grants, was granted to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and from 1691 was part of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
- Avalon Project (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/me01.htm) 1622 Patent of the Province of Maine
- Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/guide/us-me.html) Grants of the Province of Maine