The only U.S. state to border only one other state, Maine is the eastern most location in America. A largely mountainous and sparsely populated state, Maine's landscape is one of vast pine forests and untouched rivers and lakes. Some 90% of Maine is forested. The largest lake is Moosehead Lake, found in the northern stretches of the Appalachian Mountains. The scenic coastline of Maine is known for its secluded harbors and ubiquitous islands. Maine is the largest state in New England, and has the lowest population density of any state east of the Mississippi River. The French, whose dominance in the region only began to wane after French defeat in the 1740's, established the first European settlement in Maine in 1604. Originally part of Massachusetts upon independence of the American colonies, Maine was formally admitted to the Union as the 23rd state on March 15th, 1820, part of the Missouri Compromise which saw one non-slave state (Maine) and one slave state (Missouri) enter the Union at roughly the same time.
Maine has the highest percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the U.S., as well as the largest percentage of French speakers. The largest ancestry is British (21.5%) followed by Irish and French. The economy of Maine relies largely on seafood, of which the most famous is lobster. Other important agricultural outputs are poultry, maple syrup, and berries. Paper and wood products are an important source of industrial earnings, followed by bio-technology, and food and leather products. Tourism is an important and growing sector, with attractions like Bar Harbor, numerous lighthouses, and the wilderness of Maine's interior. Portland is the largest city, a main tourist attraction in its own right, and the cultural and economic hub of the state. Augusta is the sleepy capital on the Kennebec River, and other major cities include the university town of Bangor, and Lewiston. Maine's politics have traditionally been left of center since the 1960's, though some regard it as a potential swing state. Maine has voted Democrat in the last four Presidential elections.