city, York county, southwestern Maine, U.S., at the falls of the Saco River, opposite Saco, on the Atlantic coast 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Portland. Englishmen led by Richard Vines settled the area in 1630. Named for the settlers' home in Bideford, Devon, England, the communities on the two sides of the river separated in 1762. Industrial growth was spurred by the availability of waterpower; textiles (blankets), electronics, machinery, and plastics are important manufactures. The University of New England (founded 1939) now incorporates Maine's only medical school, the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. Biddeford Pool, Fortunes Rocks, and Hills Beach are nearby resorts. Inc. town, 1718; city, 1855. Pop. (1990) 20,710; (2000) 20,942.
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