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Kennebec River Settlements


KENNEBEC RIVER SETTLEMENTS of Maine were the focus of colonial competition among English investors, the Crown, Puritans, and French Acadians during the seventeenth century. Sir John Popham, the lord chief justice of England, was one of the first British sponsors to attempt settlement in North America, establishing a colony called Sagadahoc in 1607. Sagadahoc was abandoned in 1608 upon the death of its president, George Popham. In 1622 King James I granted land for the "Province of Maine" to Sir Fernando Gorges. By 1639 the province had pressed claims against Acadia, the French colony to the north, as far as the St. Croix River, the modern U.S.-Canadian boundary. In 1643 the proprietary governor of Maine, Thomas Gorges, returned to England to fight in the Civil War. Soon the Puritans of Massachusetts annexed Maine and its Kennebec River settlements, transforming them from the domain of an ineffectual proprietor into the frontier of Puritan society for the next century.


Reid, John G. Acadia, Maine, and New Scotland: Marginal Colonies in the Seventeenth Century. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.

Timothy M.Roberts

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