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5 Fun Facts About March 17 In Maine History

---Learn Every Day: ME Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history me To: 618-270-4005---

1. Maine Irish Heritage Day: March 17 is officially recognized as Maine Irish Heritage Day, a day to celebrate the contributions and culture of the Irish-American community in Maine. Irish immigrants played a significant role in Maine's history and the state has the highest percentage of population of Irish ancestry compared to all other states in the United States.

2. Maine's First St. Patrick's Day Parade: Portland, Maine, hosted the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in the United States in 1820, a full 67 years before New York City held their first parade. The parade was a homecoming celebration for Irish soldiers who served in the British Army during the War of 1812.

3. Patron Saint of Maine: St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but did you know he is also the patron saint of Maine's largest city, Portland? According to legend, Irish immigrants who settled in Maine in the 19th century believed that St. Patrick was a protector against fire, storms, and other disasters that frequently plagued the city. In fact, many businesses and households in Portland still display a plaque or bust of St. Patrick for good luck and protection.

4. Maine's First Irish-American Governor: James Sullivan, Maine's third governor, was the first Irish-American to hold the office of governor in the United States. He served as governor from 1808 to 1811 and is credited with establishing Maine as an independent state.

5. Maine's Irish-American Veterans: The Irish-American community has a proud history of military service in Maine. Over 1,500 Irish-born Mainers fought in the Civil War, and during World War II, Irish-Americans made up a significant portion of the state's war effort. In fact, Maine's Catholic population had the highest per capita war casualties of any state during WWII.
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