October 28, 2015
Maine became the 32rd US state on March 15, 1820. Although first visited by Italian explorers John and Sebastian Cabot in 1498, the first English settlers did not arrive until the 1600s. Maine used to be governed by the state of Massachusetts until the Missouri Compromise in 1820, allowing Maine to become a state.
Maine’s state flag was adopted in 1909, 89 years after being admitted to the union. The flag is dark blue with a coat of arms in the center. The coat of arms has two men on opposite sides of aa shield. The men are a farmer and a seaman, who represent the agricultural and maritime industries of Maine. Pictured inside the shield is a moose (the official state animal of Maine because the state has more moose per mile than any other state), a pine tree, grass, a light blue sky, and dark blue water. A yellow star stands atop of the shield which symbolizes the North Star since it was the northernmost state at the time of its entry into the Union, and a red ribbon underneath it reading “Dirigo”, which is Latin for “I direct”. Below the shield and the gentlemen is a blue ribbon reading “Maine”.
Maine is the only state with one syllable in its name and despite being a small state, it has a large amount of coastline (3,478 miles). They also house a large amount of lighthouses in the state (about 67). The capital of Maine was originally Portland but was later changed to Augusta in 1832 but the population of the current capital is still smaller than the population of Portland.
Food Trivia: Maine produces about 90% of the US’ supply of blueberries.
Animals: In addition to the moose being the state’s official animal, the Maine Coon (or Wild Coon) cat is also the state’s official cat!
October 9, 2015
Before Alabama became the 22nd state on December 1, 1819, it had been populated with Native American tribes such as the Alibamu (Alabama), Chocktaw, and Mobile. Spanish explorers were believed to have arrived around 1540. It was later in the 1600s that the English were given the land by King Charles II. In 1702, the first European settlement was established on the Mobile river by the French at Fort Louis de la Mobile. The British later regained control of the land through the Treaty of Paris but were forced to relinquish the land to the US after the American Revolution.
Alabama’s state flag is white with a crimson red St. Andrew’s Cross. This flag’s pattern was based from the Confederate battle flag. The flag can either be square or rectangle but the cross must be exactly six inches wide. This flag was approved in 1895 by the Alabama legislature.
Alabama is where major historical events took place. Alabama is where the Confederacy was founded in February 1861 (Montgomery being the capital), the Confederate flag was designed in this state. This state is also where many Civil Rights actions took place, such as Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery. The event led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Alabama’s name means “Tribal Town” in the language spoken by the Creek Indians. The state is the only state with all the natural resources to make iron and steel. As a result, Alabama is the largest supplier of steel pipe and cast iron products.
Helen Keller is among many of the famous residents of Alabama, born in Tuscombia. She was born both blind and deaf from an illness. Keller was a student of Anne Sullivan, visually impaired herself, who taught her how to communicate with Braille and sign language. Sullivan’s inspiration led to Keller succeeding and graduating from Radcliffe College in 1904. Keller later became a lecturer and an author along with being Sullivan’s companion. Anne Sullivan passed away in 1936 and Helen Keller passed in 1968.