Augusta has been the capital of Maine since 1827, seven years after Maine joined the Union. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki ("People of the Dawn"), but was explored by English settlers from the colonies of Sagadahoc and Popham at the mouth of the river, and the first English settlers were from the Plymouth colony. In 1625, Plymouth colonists were searching for a place to trade agricultural products for furs, and eventually chose the east shore of the river as their "House at Kennebeck."

The post at the site was probably built in 1628, and was abandoned between 1669 and 1676 during conflicts between the French, Indians, and English. Afterwards, the Plymouth Company's successors, the Kennebec Proprietors, built Fort Western near the site to use as a supply post for Fort Halifax 17 miles upriver, as well as to help settle the region. When military staffing was no longer needed, Captain James Howard, who had commanded the fort, stayed on as the first permanent settler. The village known as the Fort was incorporated into Hallowell in 1771, and separated from it in 1797 to incorporate as Harrington, which was renamed Augusta on June 9, 1797. It became the shire town of Kennebec County in 1799, and it became the capital of Maine in 1827.

The current mayor as of 2002 is William E. Dowling.

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