Origin of 'Maine' in Maine Coon

It is obvious that the word 'Maine' - in the name of this cat - comes from the name of the state of Maine but it is a rather strange name as it might as well have been 'Main'. 

Early Maine. Image as per credit at top of image.

Why has the 'e' been added to the end?! Incidentally the 'Coon' section possibly originates in the misconception that the cat was a cat/raccoon hybrid! The belief was based on the similar appearance (ringed) tail apparently. The poor souls believed it. Or a certain Capt. Coon (or 'Koon') imported long-haired cats as ships' cats into the state. 

It is a bit of a mystery as is the origin of the word 'Maine'. When you think about it the name is peculiar for a number of reasons.

The name for the state was 'fixed' in 1665 by the British King's commissioners when they ordered the region to be called the 'Province of Maine'.

The word 'Maine' might originate:

  1. In the name of a small village called 'Maine' (or Meine) from which the family of Sir Ferdinando Gorges came. Sir Ferdinando and Capt. John Mason were granted by charter of the Council of New England the Province of Maine. The portion given to Capt. Mason, he named New Hampshire.
  2. In the convention of the usage of a nautical term in distinguishing the mainland of Maine from the islands off the coast. But this does not explain why the 'e' was added.

My conclusion: it is a name that ultimately comes from England and was perhaps seen as suitable for the second reason above. They could not use the word 'Main' as it is in common usage and unsuitable as a name for a human settlement. I feel justified in speculating as the origin is not known for certain.


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