About This Place
Castine is a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States and was once the capital of Acadia (1657–1667). The population was 1,343 at the 2000 census. Castine is the home of Maine Maritime Academy, a four-year institution that graduates officers and engineers for the United States Merchant Marine and marine related industries. Approximately 850 students are enrolled. During the French colonial period, Castine was the southern tip of Acadia and briefly served as the capital of the region. During much of the 17th century, Castine was the most southern settlement of Acadia. (Bristol, Maine was the most northern New England settlement.) The town is named after Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin.
Called Majabigwaduce by Tarrantine Abenaki Indians, Castine is one of the oldest towns in New England, predating the Plymouth Colony by seven years. Situated on Penobscot Bay, it is near the site of Fort Pentagouet, which many[who?] consider to be the oldest permanent settlement in New England. Few places in New England have had a more tumultuous history than Castine—which proclaims itself the "battle line of four nations."
Its commanding position at the mouth of the Penobscot River, a lucrative source of furs and timber, as well as a major transportation route into the interior, made the peninsula occupied by the present-day town of Castine of particular interest to European powers in the 17th-century. Majabagaduce (as the Indian name would be corrupted) changed hands numerous times with shifting imperial politics. At one time or another, it was occupied by the French, Dutch and England's Plymouth Colony.