May 17, 1605: The English ship Archangel, under the command of George Weymouth, lands around noon on the north side of Monhegan island, which he names for St. George.

The ship’s voyage was organized by the Earl of Southampton, who wanted to establish a colony for discontented English Catholics. The ship left England on March 31 and arrived May 14 at Nantucket Island. Then, although Weymouth tried to go south to the intended destination, strong wind blew the Archangel northeast, to what is now Maine.

After reaching Monhegan, the crew explores the nearby coast and stocks up on salmon, cod, haddock, lobsters and shellfish, extracting 14 pearls from one specimen. Crewmen plant peas and barley, which produce plants 8 inches tall in 16 days. Weymouth explores much of Penobscot Bay and the rivers that lead to it.

Trade relations with local Wabanaki Indians begin well, but an unidentified difference of opinion prompts Weymouth to seize five of them as captives. When the ship departs in June, he takes them back to England.

In England, Weymouth gives three of the Indians to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, governor of Plymouth Fort and future founder of the English colony in Maine, who teaches them English.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at He can be contacted at:

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