Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maine and the seat of Cumberland County. Portland's population was 68,408 in April 2020. The Greater Portland metropolitan area is home to over half a million people, the 105th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Portland's economy relies mostly on the service sector and tourism. The Old Port district is known for its nightlife and 19th-century architecture. Marine industry still plays an important role in the city's economy, with an active waterfront that supports fishing and commercial shipping. The Port of Portland is the second-largest tonnage seaport in New England.
The city seal depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, a reference to recovery from four devastating fires. Portland was named after the English Isle of Portland, Dorset. In turn, the city of Portland, Oregon was named after Portland, Maine. The word Portland is derived from the Old English word Portlanda, which means "land surrounding a harbor". The Greater Portland area has emerged as an important center for the creative economy, which is also bringing gentrification.
Native Americans originally called the Portland peninsula Machigonne ("Great Neck"). Portland was named for the English Isle of Portland, and the city of Portland, Oregon, was in turn named for Portland, Maine. The first European settler was Capt. Christopher Levett, an English naval captain granted 6,000 acres (2,400ha) in 1623 to found a settlement in Casco Bay. A member of the Council for New England and agent for Ferdinando Gorges, Levett built a stone house where he left a company of ten men, then returned to England to write a book about his voyage to bolster support for the settlement. Ultimately, the settlement was a failure and the fate of Levett's colonists is unknown. The explorer sailed from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to meet John Winthrop in 1630, but never returned to Maine. Fort Levett in the harbor is named for him.
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