Maryland is a state of the east-central United States. It was admitted as one of the original Thirteen Colonies in 1788. The colony was founded by Lord Baltimore in 1634 as a refuge for English Roman Catholics. Annapolis is the capital and Baltimore the largest city. Population: 5,600,000.

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Annapolis steeple

Maryland was inhabited by Indians as early as circa 10,000 B.C. Permanent Indian villages were established by circa A.D. 1000.The Paleo-Indians who came more than 10,000 years ago from other parts of North America to hunt mammoth, great bison and caribou. By 1,000 B.C., Maryland had more than 8,000 Native Americans in about 40 different tribes. Most of them spoke Algonquian languages. They grew corn, peas, squash and tobacco. They also hunted, fished and traded with tribes as far away as New York and Ohio.

We do not know what the Native Americans called the Chesapeake Bay. That name came from the Native American word "Chesepiuk," an Algonquian name for a village that the Roanoke, Virginia colonists discovered in 1585 near the mouth of the Bay. Later, mapmakers used the word to name the Bay. People have said that Chesapeake means "great salt water" or "great shellfish bay," but no records exist to verify those definitions.

Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian explorer in the 1500s, was the first European to visit the Chesapeake. Later came English settlers, who left England for more economic opportunities and to escape religious oppression. In 1608, Capt. John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay.Fur trader William Claiborne thought so, too, and set up a fur trading post on Kent Island in 1631. This was the first English settlement in the upper Chesapeake.

Maryland began as a colony when King Charles I promised George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, a colony north of Virginia. Before he could visit the colony, George Calvert died. His son, Cecilius, became the second Lord Baltimore and the Lord Proprietor of Maryland. He named his colony "Terra Maria," or "Maryland" in honor of the king's wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. Because Cecilius Calvert had to remain in England, he sent his younger brother, Leonard, to accompany the colonists and to be the first governor.

Colonists set sail on November 22, 1633 on the ships Ark and Dove. The four month's voyage carried between 200 and 300 passengers. The leader of the colonists and first Governor of Maryland was the brother of Cecil, Leonard Calvert.

The colonists landed first on an island in the Chesapeake Bay which they named St. Clement's (now Blakistone) Island on March 24, 1634. This gave Maryland a unique place in the history of English colonization

In 1694, when the capital was moved from St. Mary's to Annapolis, those were the only towns in the province, but the next century saw the emergence of commercially oriented Baltimore, which by 1800 had a population of more than 30,000 and a flourishing coastal trade. Tobacco became the basis of the economy by 1730. In 1767 the demarcation of the Mason-Dixon Line ended a long-standing boundary dispute with Pennsylvania.

Trade restrictions and high taxes led to the Revolutionary War in 1775. Marylanders opposed the Stamp Act, protested the Boston Port Bill by burning a boat and the tea cargo, and attended the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia. Baltimore served as the country's capital until after the war when it was moved to Annapolis.

In 1788, the United States Constitution was signed. Maryland became the 7th state to join the new country, with Annapolis as the state capital. In 1791, Washington D.C. was created from land donated by Maryland, and became the nation's permanent capital.

Several battles from the War of 1812 were fought in Maryland. British soldiers raided towns along the Chesapeake Bay, defeated Americans in the Battle of Bladensburg, and burned the Capitol and other government buildings in Washington D.C. On Sept. 12, they attacked Baltimore and fired on Fort McHenry. The American army defended the city and drove them out of Maryland. This battle inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Civil War began in 1861. Although many plantation owners in Maryland fought with the Confederacy, Maryland's legislature sided with the United States and adopted a new constitution that ended slavery. Again, many battles were fought on Maryland soil.

At the beginning of the Civil War, President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and sent troops to Maryland who imprisoned large numbers of secessionists. Nevertheless, Marylanders fought on both sides, and families were often split. General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded Maryland in 1862 and was repulsed by Union forces at Antietam (see Antietam campaign). In 1863, Lee again invaded the North and marched across Maryland on the way to and from Gettysburg. Throughout the war Maryland was the scene of many minor battles and skirmishes

With the end of the Civil War, industry quickly revived and became a dominant force in Maryland, both economically and politically. Senator Arthur P. Gorman, a Democrat and the president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, ran the controlling political machine from 1869 to 1895, when two-party government was restored. New railroad lines traversed the state, making it more than ever a crossing point between North and South. Labor troubles hit Maryland with the Panic of 1873, and four years later railroad wage disputes resulted in large-scale rioting in Cumberland and Baltimore. During the 20th cent., however, Maryland became a leader in labor and other reform legislation. The administrations of governors Austin L. Crowthers (1908–12) and Albert C. Ritchie (1920–35) were noted for reform. Ritchie, a Democrat, became nationally known for his efforts to improve the efficiency and economy of state government.

In 1919, Congress passed the prohibition law, prohibiting the manufacturing, selling and transporting of alcoholic beverages. Maryland opposed the law, because it violated their state's rights. Because of this, they were known as the Free State.

After World War II, Maryland improved its transportation systems. BWI Airport opened and many bridges, tunnels, and highways were built. When the Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools as unconstitutional in 1954, Maryland changed the fastest of all the southern states by integrating schools and neighborhoods. Several school systems were expanded.

Maryland experienced tremendous suburban growth in the 1980s, especially in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. This growth occurred in spite of a decline in government jobs, as service sector employment rose dramatically. Suburban Baltimore grew as well although the city proper lost 6.4% of its population during the 1980s. Baltimore undertook major revitalization projects in the 1980s and the early 1990s, including the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the new home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

In 1985, Maryland began a government project to clean up the waste from cities and factories flowing into Chesapeake Bay. The waste was killing many of the fish and shellfish living there. Since then, millions of oysters have been placed in the bay.

Maryland has become increasingly popular as a vacation area—Ocean City is a popular seashore resort, and both sides of Chesapeake Bay are lined with beaches and small fishing towns. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge has brought the culture of the Eastern Shore, formerly quite distinctive, into a more homogeneous unity with that of the rest of the state; the area, however, is still noted for its unique rural beauty and architecture, strongly reminiscent of the English countryside left behind by early settlers.


  • The United States Naval Academy was founded on October 10, 1845 at Annapolis.
  • In 1830 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company built the first railroad station in Baltimore.
  • During revolutionary times Rockville was known as Hungerford's Tavern the name of its most familiar landmark. One of the first calls to freedom from British rule was heard at the tavern in 1774.
  • The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered a masterpiece and one of the finest 19th century buildings in the world. The basilica is the first cathedral in the United States. Baltimore represents the first Roman Catholic diocese.
  • Fort Meade near Laurel became a base because a train engineer delivering soldiers to Meade knew only one Meade, the one in Maryland. He was not aware of Fort Meade, Florida. The confusion happened so often a second base was built in Maryland in an attempt to avoid the confusion.
  • King Williams School opened in 1696 it was the first school in the United States.
  • The first dental school in the United States opened at the University of Maryland.
  • Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, was born in Baltimore and attended Saint Mary's Industrial School.
  • Other Major League Ball player besides "The Babe" born in Maryland include Cal Ripken, Jr., Billy Ripken, Lefty Grove, Frank (Home Run) Baker, Harold Baines, Al Kaline, Denny Neagle, and Jimmie Foxx.
  • Tilghman Island is home to the Skipjacks, the only commercial sailing fleet in North America.
  • America's national anthem was written by Francis Scott Key a Maryland lawyer. It is believed Key wrote the anthem on September 14, 1814 while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.
  • Since May 30th, 1949 the United States flag has flown continuously over the monument marking the site of Francis Scott Key's birthplace. The flag flies at Terra Rubra Farm, Carroll County, Keymar, Maryland as mandated by a Joint Resolution of Congress.
  • The National Aquarium is located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
  • The 1,200 foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the second longest continuous truss bridge in the nation.
  • The 4.03 mile William Preston Lane Memorial (The Bay Bridge), joins the western part of Maryland to the eastern shore and crosses the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the world.
  • Located in the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island is Maryland's only inhabited off-shore island.
  • The highest point in Maryland is 3,360 feet above sea level on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. The absolute lowest point in Maryland is a depression, often called Bloody Point Hole, 174 feet below sea level. The area is located approximately 1 mile west-southwest of the southern tip of Kent Island in Queen Anne's County.
  • The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use.
  • Chincoteague's are famous ponies from Assateague Island.
  • Dredging and tonging are methods for harvesting oysters.
  • On June 24,1784, in Baltimore, 13-year old Edward Warren went airborne in the first successful manned balloon launch in the United States.
  • Maryland forests cover approximately 2.7 million acres, or 43% of the states land surface. Oak and hickory are the dominant hardwood or deciduous forest type, making up 60% of forested areas. Loblolly pine is the most prevalent softwood and is the predominant forest wood on the Eastern Shore.
  • Constructed circa 1850 an acorn-shaped gazebo can be found in Acorn Park in Silver Spring. The park is all that remains of Francis Preston Blair's estate.
  • On September 14, 1975, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton of Emmitsburg was canonized, becoming the first native-born American to be so honored. Saint Elizabeth Ann formed the religious community the Sisters of Charity.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology gave Gaithersburg the designation Science Capital of the United States when the Bureau moved to the area in 1961.
  • Samuel F.B. Morse reportedly received the first telegraph message in Bladensburg, in 1844, before his famous "What Hath God Wrought" message between Baltimore and Washington. His telegraph wire had been strung along the railroad right of way. Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, lived in Bladensburg and is said to have invented the telegraph pole.
  • The town of Garrett Park declared the first nuclear free zone in the United States in 1982, thus affirming a tradition of peacefulness that began back in 1898 when it became illegal to harm any tree or songbird within the town limits.
  • Maryland was first to enact Workmen's compensation laws in 1902.
  • Friendship International Airport - now Baltimore/Washington International Airport - began operations on June 24. 1950.
  • Channel 67 broadcast the state's first public television programs on October 5, 1969.
  • Greenbelt was the first community in the United States built as a planned city. Greenbelt was an experiment in both the physical and social planning.
  • The Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in the State of Maryland.
  • Havre de Grace is known as the decoy capitol of the world.
  • The Methodist Church of America was formally organized in 1784 at Perry Hall.
  • Mount Airy is unique because two counties, Carroll and Frederick, divide it.
  • Oxford (founded 1683), gained its prominence in colonial days by being mandated in 1694 by Maryland legislation as the first and only port of entry on the eastern shore.
  • On the morning of August 10, 1813 residents of Saint Michaels having been forewarned of a British attack hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the tops of the trees. The height of light caused cannons to overshoot the town. This first known blackout was effective and only one house was struck and is now known as the "Cannonball House." The town has been known as the town that fooled the British since this historic event.
  • New Market is known as Maryland's antique capital.
  • Swallow Falls State Park near Oakland showcases Muddy Creek Falls. At 63 feet it is the largest waterfall in Maryland.
  • Maryland gave up some of it's land to form Washington D.C.
  • The Maryland Renaissance Festival is held from August and October in Crownsville.
  • Maryland is a prominent producer and processor of seafood and a national leader in the production of blue crabs and soft clams.
  • The Thrasher Carriage Museum in Frostburg houses a collection of early 19th- and 20th-century horse drawn conveyances. Formal closed carriages, milk wagons, open sleighs, funeral wagons, dog carts, and President Roosevelt's inaugural carriage are among the approximately 50 vehicles featured.
  • Sixteen of the 23 Maryland counties border on tidal water. The combined length of tidal shoreline, including islands, is 4,431 miles.
  • The Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge in Savage is made of both cast iron and wrought iron. It is the only open railroad bridge of its type anywhere in the world
  • Clara Barton National Historic Site commemorates the life of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. The house in Glen Echo served as her home and headquarters for the American Red Cross and a warehouse for disaster relief supplies.
  • Maryland has forty-seven operational State parks, including 7 parks with waterfront areas, covering 90,239 acres; 15 State-owned lakes and ponds open to public fishing; 9 State forests and portions of 15 State parks open to public hunting; 36 wildlife management areas, covering 88,348 acres, open to public hunting; 6 natural environment areas containing 7,676 acres.
  • Annapolis was known as the Athens of America during the seventeenth century and once served as the capital of the United States.
  • The Community Bridge mural project in Frederick transformed a plain concrete bridge into the stunning illusion of an old stone bridge. The entire structure was painted by hand by an artist and his assistants, using advanced trompe l'oeil ("deceive the eye") techniques.

External links

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