DescriptionCoveted by world powers for its strategic port, Castine endured 2 centuries of disputes among the Native Americans, French, British, Dutch and Americans. The French erected a fort in 1613, but the first permanent settlement was made by England in 1760. The British occupied the town during the Revolution, after handing the American Navy its most humiliating and devastating defeat in the largest amphibious operation of the Revolutionary War.
Although severely outnumbered, a handful of British sloops-of-war pummeled a Colonial fleet of some 40 ships sent to defend the harbor, which was used as a base for hit-and-run missions against His Majesty's navy. After securing the town the British built Fort George in 1779; it passed into American possession in 1783. Fort Madison was built in 1811. The British occupied both forts during the War of 1812.
Fort Madison was rebuilt during the Civil War; the earthworks and protective moat are still visible. Fort George, partially restored, is maintained as a memorial. Castine also is home to Maine Maritime Academy; founded in 1941, it prepares its students for careers in nautical and ocean sciences, engineering, transportation and management.
The town boasts towering elms, 18th- and early 19th-century homes and more than 100 historical landmarks.
Things to SeeThe T.S. State of Maine