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Another frequently asked question is: "Why do you call this state Maine? Was it named after someone? Was there a Mr. Maine?"
You might hear some snappy answers, all correct, like: "'Cause we want to," or "Well, New Jersey was already taken," or "We call it Maine because our parents called it Maine and their parents called it Maine and their parents called it Maine, so don't come around here and try and cause trouble." A Mainer might also give you a queer look and just say nothing (a common response, actually, to many questions from flatlanders).
The honest-to-gosh truth is: We have no idea, but not knowing something has never stopped a Mainer or an academic from plowing ahead.
One popular theory is that our state was named after the province of Mayne in France. That sounds reasonable, except that Fernando Gorges and John Mason-the two old English sea dogs who were granted the original charter to these lands in 1622-weren't French, had no known connection to France, probably hated France and, therefore, had little reason to hang the name of a French province on this particular piece of real estate.
Yet, other historians (already tenured, I hope) discovered that Mason had once been stationed in the Orkney Islands, where the main island is also called Maine. Did Mason decide to name his new piece of land after an island in the Orkneys? (And, just what kind of name is Orkney, anyway?) Or was it because Gorges's family came from a village, which neighbored Broadmayne, which at various times was known as Maine, Meine, Chow Mein, Lo Chow Mein, and part of it as Parva Maen ("Little Maine").
Others claim that because there are so many islands off our coast that were being usedfor a variety of reasons, the name Maine is simply a nautical term that refers to the "mainland."
Could be. We just don't know, because no one said. That's right! The reason we don't know why our state is called Maine is because neither Mason nor Gorges ever wrote down and explained why they were giving this place that particular name. The Mainiacs.