Maine, located on the southern end of the North Atlantic, shares a number of environmental characteristics with lands and bodies of water further north. Various animals migrating to and from the Arctic pass through Maine, sometimes lingering before continuing on their way. Also, the state supports pockets of plants more commonly found on the northern tundra – as well as a variety of Arctic butterfly!
Connections between Maine and northern communities reach back thousands of years, when the state’s first residents, Native Americans referred to by archaeologists as the Maritime Archaic or Red Paint People, were involved in a long distance trade with their relatives living along the coast of Labrador, in what is now Canada. Ramah chert, a grey, sugary quartzite found only in the Ramah Bay region of Labrador, was traded south to Maine where people flaked it into beautiful stone tools.
More recently, people from Maine ventured to the Arctic for a variety of reasons. Some shipped out on fishing vessels and whalers, others ventured north on scientific expeditions to study the ecology and cultures of the region, and others sought to discover new lands and claim them for the United States.
Have fun exploring some of Maine’s Arctic connections and visiting interesting and beautiful places throughout the state!