The American state of Maine, despite it's relatively small population, was not spared from Soviet attack during Doomsday. Portland, Brunswick (Naval Air Station Brunswick), Bath (Bath Iron Works) and Limestone (Loring Air Force Base) were all targeted causing massive devastation to the region. The town of Kittery was also devastated from the bomb that hit nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This sent refugees from the areas hit toward Augusta, the state capital, where the state government organized refugee camps. The refugees, however, put too much strain on government’s ability and soon fighting broke out between various factions over the scarce resources. An attempt by Governor Joseph E. Brennan to organize a convoy of National Guardsman and State Police to escort state official to northern Maine was destroyed shortly after they prepared to leave. The majority of the population of Augusta abandoned the city bringing more instability to the surrounding area. Those who remained in Augusta quickly came under the control of various warlords.
Meanwhile, the radiation in the area decimated the fishing along the Maine coast. Much of the remaining Maine fishing fleet and other ships, packed with refugees and what supplies they could carry, left the shores to seek refuge somewhere else.
Founding of Aroostook
Remnants of the state government and the National Guard did manage to establish a provisional state government in Houlton after contact was lost with the governor. One of the first acts of the provisional government was to organize a militia of able-bodied men and women to protect the area from refugees and the increasing number of bandit gangs. Though most refugees were denied access to the area (sometimes at gunpoint), some were allowed in if they had necessary skills in this post-apocalyptic world. Interestingly enough, the number of French-Canadians spiked through this form of immigration.
Officially the provisional government referred to itself as “Maine”, but as the years went by the popular designation of the government was “Aroostook” since the government’s jurisdiction extended only to the borders of the Aroostook County.
By the early 1990s the Aroostook government began authorizing expeditions to see if they could make contact with any other survivor communities. One successful expedition regained contact with the town of Aroostook, New Brunswick, which soon asked to be incorporated into Aroostook. The news of this caused some problems for the provisional government as they were not sure how to best integrate the new population.
Eventually it was agreed in 1992 to create a new constitution for the region. Taking the name “Provisional Government of Aroostook”, because they still hoped contact would be once again made with some remnant of the American government, the new nation divided the area up into several “zones” centered on the larger towns and villages. These zones would have a level of autonomy, effectively making them city-states. Each though would send representatives to Houlton which would act as a central government under a setup similar to a town meeting, but on a larger scale. The old county building at Houlton soon was being called “Aroostook Hall.”
Not all the expeditions were successful. One sent south in 1992 to do some reconnaissance around Augusta never returned. By 1993, however, many of the southern zones were reporting an alarming increase in raids by brigands operating out of the city. Attempts by the new government to coordinate the zones militias failed and Aroostook spent its early years reacting to the brigands instead of actively seeking them out. Raids from the St. Lawrence River area also fell on Aroostook during this time period. Faith in the new government waned.
Meanwhile there was some contact made with isolated communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. Due to the distance and the increasing number of raids, however, there was little interest in expanding into the area.
Contact with Canada
In 1997, Aroostook made contact with Canada and through them the rest of the world. The people of Aroostook were saddened to learn that United States of America had ceased to exist, but many in the country had long since given up hope that the central government would come to save them. If anything the knowledge spurred the Aroostook government to take more direct action to deal with the bandit problem to the south.
Meanwhile, recontact with the rest of the world had created a new political movement that believed that Aroostook should join Canada as a province for the sake of survival.
In 1998 and 1999, Aroostook again approached Vermont and the Northern townships about unifying the three states into a larger union. Due to the undiplomatic use of the term "Greater Aroostook" by one of the Aroostook negotiations, both states decline to form any permanent political alliance. Furthermore neither state was interested in being drawn in the upcoming Aroostook offensive to the south. Despite these setbacks, Aroostook was able to negotiate a free trade agreement between the three states.
Liberation of Augusta
In 1999, a combined force of 300 National Guard soldiers and 1,500 militia besieged the ruins of Augusta. Along with them were 20 Canadian military advisers who came to observe the battle. Facing them were 600 armed raiders, though some were actually "slaves" who were armed and sent to fight by the armed raiders behind them. The siege lasted two months before a slave uprising gave the Aroostook forces an opportunity to take the state capital, which was being used as a fortress by the raiders.
After taking the city the Aroostook forces learned about the barbaric society that had grown inside it. The most powerful gang leaders had managed to drive out most of Augusta's population shortly after the state government collapsed. From then on they hoarded whatever supplies were still in the city, launching occasional scavenging expeditions and raids into more civilized territory. During winter when supplies were at their lowest some of the gangs would resort to cannibalism to survive. There was no central leadership among the raiders and they often fought among themselves as much as they did with Aroostook, though during the siege they had come to a temporary truce to defend Augusta. Some desperate refugees and their families had allowed themselves to be put into slavery for a few scraps of food given by the raiders, though they lived under horrible conditions and were usually at the mercy of their feudal lords.
In 2000, the ruins of Augusta were evacuated. The slaves were resettled in Aroostook. As for the raiders, those who could be vouched for by the new freedmen and swore an oath to the Aroostook state were allowed to settle in Aroostook territory. The rest, after a quickly convened military tribunal, were either sentenced to hard labor in the scavenger gangs that mined the ruins of Maine or were immediately hanged. Orphan children of the executed or imprisoned raiders were adopted and raised by new families.
The "Liberation of Augusta" was soon followed by a similar campaign that cleaned Bangor out of its raider infestation in 2002, but the Bangor raiders were less numerous then the ones in Augusta. The victory at Bangor allowed for recolonization efforts in southern Maine now that the raider threat had been destroyed. Furthermore, the Liberation of Augusta had filled the people of Aroostook with a much needed morale boost and a sense of optimism for the future.
Similarly, in 2008, a warlord terrorizing coastal communities and islands off the coast of Washington County, Maine since the immediate aftermath of Doomsday was finally caught by the Aroostook militia, and was sent to Canada to be held in prison, despite calls by some Aroostook citizens for his executions due to his countless crimes in Washington County before Aroostook could liberate it.
Victories in southern Maine has once again allowed proposals for a "Greater Aroostook" to be taken seriously. Negotiations with the survivor communities in New Hampshire and Vermont about joining Aroostook, however, have been met with some resistance. The communities in the two former states have evolved their own identity in the years since Doomsday and are uninterested in being absorbed by Aroostook. A comprise proposal to create a "Confederation of New England" that would act as an economic and political union has gained some popularity in the region.
Fresh from their victories against the raiders to the south, Aroostook has launched several expeditions into territory controlled by the Lawrence Raiders. Working with elements of the Canadian military, Aroostook hoped to end the threat of the raiders from their northern borders once and for all, though this was put on hold by the Saguenay War. The conclusion of the war has led to greatly renewed pressure on the raiders, however.
During these expeditions, in 2001, forces encountered an expedition from Superior searching for the outside world, near the northern townships.
Tensions between Canada and Saguenay
Meanwhile, continued tensions between Canada and Saguenay began to divide the people of Aroostook into two hostile camps. The large French-Canadian population of the state demands that Aroostook come to the aid of Saguenay in case Canada attempted to annex the state. Pro-Saguenay newspapers also began to report about "secret plans" for Canada to annex Aroostook if they did not voluntarily join them. Meanwhile, Canadians not of French descent continued to support Canada and see better relations with them as the best future for Aroostook.
Aroostook attempted to stay neutral in the 2009 Saguenay War. Tensions nevertheless were high among the populace. The town meeting of Aroostook, New Brunswick on September 2, 2009 passed a resolution declaring they would leave Aroostook if they ever come into conflict with Canada. Ethnic-French Canadians, meanwhile, volunteered in the militia of the Republic of St. Lawrence.
When news was released that Saguenay and Superior were working with the Lawrence Raiders, public opinion in the Republic swung sharply toward Canada, even among those who had previous condemned Canada. Along with Vermont, they served as the arbiters of the peace negotiations for the end of the war and helped play host to them, leading to the Peace of Manchester in May of 2010.
Current Aroostook politics revolves around the question about the future of the Aroostook state. Some want Aroostook to petition Canada to annex them, feeling that Aroostook is struggling to remain self-sufficient and to survive must integrate itself with its powerful neighbor. The citizens of the town of Aroostook have been particularly adamant about unification with Canada.
Others are suspicious of the expanding Canada and feel that Aroostook should remain independent and seek stronger ties with Saguenay. The Committee to Restore the United States of America has been particularly supportive of this faction and has publicly protested further Canadian “imperialism” into American territory. With the landmark contact between the state and the Republic of Superior, it hopes to bring together the remnants of old America into solidarity.
Aroostook is a member of the League of Nations. There are some in Aroostook who call for the country to become a province of Canada, but with the 2009 Saguenay War recently concluded, and opposition from the Committee to Restore the United States of America, that proposal is unlikely to succeed at the moment.
Aroostook has formal relations with many of the North American survivor states, including Vermont, Superior and the Republic of West Texas. Relations with Superior and Saguenay, in particular, are currently fairly bad, due to their support for the raiders during the war, and as a result relations with Canada have gotten much better.
Ice hockey is very popular in Aroostook. The Houlton Americans are members of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and Aroostook is also a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. There has also been negotiations between the states of the region in forming a new, larger, professional hockey league.
Soccer has also grown in popularity and Aroostook is a member of FIFA.
Aroostook is expected to participate in the next North American Games.
The University of Aroostook, Presque Isle (formerly the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College), is the largest university in Aroostook and provides most of the post-secondary education in the Republic. The University also participates in the Vermont Collegiate Athletic Association, though Aroostook has long been in negotiations with Vermont to rename the organization as the "New England Collegiate Athletic Association."