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Known as the “The City of Ships,” Bath is located on the Kennebeck River. And since the earliest days the city has had a long history with maritime peoples. The first settlers to arrive in the region were likely the Paleo-Indian Red Paint peoples who made their home in the wooden lands along the river as early as 12,000 years ago, while the first Europe visitors likely arrived around 1,000 AD when Leif Erikson and other Viking explorers settled the area of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Evidence has been found that suggests that they may have reached the region of modern day New England. Giovanni da Verranzno was the first European explorer to “discover” the coastal region of Maine in 1524. The area of the Kennebec River was “discovered” by the British in 1605.
The town of Bath was named for the famous watering town in England. The first settlement was founded in 1607, and from these earliest days the city of Bath became one known for shipbuilding. In fact, the first colony was abandoned, and the settlers sailed back to England on the first ship built in North America by Englishmen!Soon after a new colony was established and this time Bath remained. It became a town in 1781, and received a city charter in 1847, becoming the county seat of Sagadahoc County in 1854. Throughout colonial times and during the 19 th century the city became an important center of shipbuilding, and today retains much of its historic maritime past.