We don't know much about the "Red Paint" people, the first inhabitants of the area 5,000 years ago, except that they used red clay to line the graves of their dead. Five hundred years before Columbus reached the West Indies, Leif Ericson and his Vikings landed on the Maine coast. In 1604, the land was part of a French province. Control of the land was in dispute between the French and the British until the British took ownership after their victory in the French and Indian War in 1763. After the American Revolution, Maine was a province of Massachusetts. People living in the area began to demand statehood after Massachusetts failed to provide adequate protection against British raids during the War of 1812.