English explorers and would-be colonists came to present-day Maine in the 1500s and 1600s for various reasons: some out of curiosity; some in the fruitless quest to discover a new "northwest passage" to China and the Indies; some in the vain hope of locating gold and silver, which the Spanish had earlier found in Mexico and Peru; and some to control fishing grounds and to trade for furs with the Indians. All expected to better themselves, even to get rich or become famous, but few did so. Both these early arrivals and the government back in England were eager to claim territory for the crown in order to forestall encroachment by the Spanish from the south and by the French from Quebec and Nova Scotia. -----Read more about the Popham Colony.
See a Slideshow of Artifacts --images by Orman Hines.