1. a river flowing S from N Maine into Penobscot Bay. 350 mi. (565 km) long.2. a member of a North American Indian people of the Penobscot River valley.3. the Eastern Algonquian language of the Penobscot, a dialect of Abenaki.
* * *▪ county, Maine, United Statescounty, east-central Maine, U.S. Located in a highland region, the county contains many lakes, rivers, and ponds, foremost among them being the Penobscot River, the longest in the state; nearly all of the river's 350-mile (560-km) course is through the county. Timberland is primarily spruce and fir, with stands of maple, birch, and aspen. Public lands include Scraggly Lake Management Unit and Mattawamkeag Wilderness Park. The county is also the home of the Penobscot Indian Reservation.The county was created in 1816; the name was derived from an Abenaki Indian word meaning “rocky place.” Bangor, the county seat, is located on the west bank of the Penobscot River, opposite its sister city, Brewer. Visited by French explorer Samuel de Champlain (Champlain, Samuel de) in 1604 and settled in 1769, Bangor was a boomtown by the mid-19th century as a result of its lumber, milling, and shipbuilding industries. The University of Maine (Maine, University of) at Orono was founded in 1865. Other communities include Old Town, Millinocket, and Hampden. The main economic activities are the manufacture of paper and footwear, tourism, and agriculture, primarily hay and corn (maize). Area 3,396 square miles (8,796 square km). Pop. (2000) 144,919; (2007 est.) 148,784.▪ peopleAlgonquian (Algonquian languages)-speaking North American Indians who lived on both sides of the Penobscot Bay and throughout the Penobscot River basin in what is now the state of Maine, U.S. They were members of the Abenaki confederacy. Penobscot subsistence was based on hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants, with seasonal movement to obtain food. In winter small family groups lived in hunting camps within separate family territories, rights to which were inherited through the male line; larger camps and villages were inhabited during the summer. The tribal chief embodied little power, generally acting as a tribal representative in ceremonies or in dealings with outsiders and sometimes adjudicating disputes.Europeans first encountered the Penobscot early in the 16th century; a French mission was established among them in 1688. The Penobscot assisted the French against the English in all the wars on the New England frontier until 1749, when they made peace with the English. As a result, they did not remove to Canada with the other groups of the Abenaki confederacy, and they remain in their old territory to the present. The Penobscot and the Passamaquoddy send a nonvoting representative to Maine's state legislature.Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 4,000 Penobscot descendants.
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