Portland, Maine, the largest city in the state and the seat of Cumberland County. It is on Casco Bay about 100 miles (160 km) northeast of Boston, Massachusetts. Portland is Maine's chief shipping and manufacturing center.
In its early days Portland was a fishing and shipbuilding center. Ships are no longer constructed here, but Portland is still a major fishing port. The city's products include paper and paper goods, processed foods, leather and leather goods, fabricated metals, and machinery. Printing and publishing are also important. Petroleum products account for much of the traffic through the port. Wood pulp, paper, lumber, coal, and grain are handled.
Portland is the seat of the University of Southern Maine. The Maine Historical Society maintains materials related to state and local history. One of the oldest historic sites in the United States is Eastern Cemetery, established in 1668. Family relics of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born in Portland, are preserved in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Victoria Mansion displays 19th-century furnishings. In Congress Square, in the central part of Portland, are buildings dating from the early 19th century. The Portland Museum of Art, also in Congress Square, is noted for its collection of paintings by American masters, including Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer.
The English established a settlement in the area in 1632, but it was twice destroyed by Indians later in the century. The town was resettled as Falmouth and became a major commercial center; in colonial times it was the chief port in trade with the West Indies. In 1775 Falmouth was almost totally destroyed by a British naval bombardment, but was quickly rebuilt. It was incorporated as the town of Portland in 1786, and as a city in 1832. Portland was the capital of Maine from 1820 to 1832. The city was severely damaged in 1866, when a fire swept through the downtown area.