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Definition: Maryland from Collins English Dictionary


1 a state of the eastern US, on the Atlantic: divided into two unequal parts by Chesapeake Bay: mostly low-lying, with the Alleghenies in the northwest Capital: Annapolis. Pop: 5 508 909 (2003 est). Area: 31 864 sq km (12 303 sq miles) Abbreviation: Md or with zip code MD

Summary Article: Maryland
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

State of eastern USA bordered to the north by Pennsylvania, along the Mason–Dixon Line, to the east by Delaware, to the south by Virginia, and to the south and west by West Virginia; area 25,315 sq km/9,774 sq mi; population (2010) 5,773,552; capital Annapolis. The Coastal Plain and Chesapeake Bay dominate the eastern half of the state, while plateaux, valleys, and ridges occupy the west, the two regions being divided by the area known as the Fall Line. Maryland shares most of the Delmarva Peninsula with West Virginia, and its southern boundary is mainly defined by the Potomac River. At the point where the Anacostia River joins the Potomac is the District of Columbia (DC), which was carved out of Maryland and Virginia in 1790. Maryland's most populous city is Baltimore, 95 km/60 mi to the northeast of Washington, DC. The Baltimore–Washington Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area contains 90% of Maryland's population, many of whom live in the major cities of Columbia, Silver Spring, Dundalk, and Bethesda. US federal agencies, defence contractors, and biotechnology, chemical, electronics, and software industries are located here. Other economic activities include tourism, and the processing of poultry, dairy foods, fish, and shellfish. Maryland was originally home to several Algonquian Indian peoples, including the Piscataway, Accohannock, Assateague, Nanticoke, and Pocomoke. The first European settlement was established on Chesapeake Bay by the English in 1634. One of the original Thirteen Colonies, Maryland ratified the US Constitution in 1788, becoming the 7th state to join the Union.

Physical Maryland can be divided into five distinct physical regions: the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont Plateau, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Ridge and Valley region, and the Appalachian Mountains plateaux. The state rises gradually from east to west, from sea level at the Coastal Plain to approximately 150 m/500 ft on the Piedmont Plateau and to over 915 m/3,000 ft in the Appalachian Plateau.

The Coastal Plain region includes Chesapeake Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean and the largest estuary in North America. The eastern shore on the Delmarva Peninsula reaches only 30 m/100 ft above sea level, while the western shore rises to 60 m/200 ft. The Chesapeake's eastern and western shores are an estuary region, comprising marshlands and wetlands. There are five national wildlife refuges here, including the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a marshland sanctuary for Canada geese, ospreys, and bald eagles. Numerous rivers drain into the bay, among them the Susquehanna, Patapsco, Severn, and Patuxent on the western side of the bay, and the Chester, Choptank, and Nanticoke on the eastern shore. Assateague Island National Seashore, a 59 km-/37 mi-long barrier island, lies on the eastern border of the Coastal Plain.

The Coastal Plain meets the Piedmont Plateau at a point known as the Fall Line, which runs southwest–northeast across the state. Rivers from the west drop rapidly to the Coastal Plain along the Fall Line, and many early farms and settlements were established here because of the availability of water power. West of the Fall Line lies the Piedmont region, a plateau rising to some 90–550 m/300–1,800 ft in height and extending west to Catoctin Mountain. Gently rolling plains occur in the western Piedmont in Frederick County, where the Monocacy River is a tributary of the Potomac.

Further west, a narrow portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains comprises two ridges: Catoctin Mountain north of Frederick County and South Mountain near Boonsboro. The ridges are separated by a valley underlain by ancient Precambrian and Cambrian rocks.

The Ridge and Valley region, stretching from the west side of South Mountain to Dans Mountain, west of Cumberland, has elevations rising to nearly 670 m/2,200 ft. Limestone in the Ridge and Valley make Washington County and Allegany County particularly known for caves, such as the Crystal Grottoes Cavern near Boonsboro. Rocks in this region are sources for agricultural lime, building stone, and crushed stone for cement.

Elevations in the Appalachian Plateau range from 670 m/2,200 ft to over 1,000 m/3,300 ft. The plateau region that is sometimes referred to as the Allegheny Mountains is considered mountainous because it has been heavily dissected by streams and rivers. Its highest peaks are Backbone Mountain (1,024 m/3,360 ft), Negro Mountain (937 m/3,075 ft), and Meadow Mountain (921 m/3,022 ft). The headwaters of the Potomac are located in the Allegheny Mountains, and the river flows east from the plateau and cuts across each of the state's five physical regions until it reaches Washington, DC, and the Coastal Plain, below which the Potomac becomes a tidal estuary and empties into Chesapeake Bay. Other rivers include the Youghiogheny and the Savage.

Features The remains of St Mary's Fort in St Mary's City mark the site of one of the earliest settlements in the USA, settled in 1634. Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay, another early settlement and former Virginia trading post, was taken over by Maryland soon after colonization. The fort at St Leonard's Creek in Patterson State Park marks where Commodore Joshua Barney led the ‘Chesapeake Flotilla’, a fleet that managed to postpone a British attack on Washington, DC, for four months during the War of 1812. At Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, an archaeological conservation laboratory features exhibits and artefacts from the conflict. The star-shaped Fort McHenry in Baltimore was the port's only defence during the American Revolution.

The first bloodshed in the Civil War occurred in Baltimore, when residents fired on the Union Army. Around 44 forts were erected to defend its coast and rivers. Most of the sites of the forts have been swallowed up by the Baltimore conurbation, but some survive and many historic battlefields are preserved. One of the bloodiest clashes was the Battle of Antietam (1862), the site of which is preserved at the Antietam National Battlefield.

The historic port of Baltimore is noted for its seafood, baseball, jazz, the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, and the National Aquarium. Baltimore has many historic districts including Inner Harbor, Little Italy, Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill, Mount Vernon, and Hampden. The Maryland Zoo is located in the Druid Hill area. Museums include the Baltimore Maritime Museum, the Star-Spangled Banner House (1927), the Edgar Allan Poe House, and the Reginald F Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (2005), sited in Inner Harbor.

The capital of Maryland, Annapolis, has a rich colonial heritage and preserves some of Maryland's finest historic buildings. The Maryland State House is the only state capitol to have housed the US Congress. Annapolis is home to the US Naval Academy (1845), St John's College (1784), and the Maryland Institute, College of Art (1826). Also in Annapolis, the Banneker-Douglass Museum, named after Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, is a major African-American historical museum.

Ocean City is Maryland's most important beach resort. Chesapeake Bay has a long naval history and is also celebrated for its seafood, particularly blue crabs. Assateague Island National Seashore is known for its wild horses and wildlife. The largest Union prison for Confederate prisoners of war was once located on the peninsula of southern Maryland at Point Lookout State Park; a memorial obelisk now marks the mass grave of some 3,800 Confederate soldiers who died there.

The uplands of Maryland are best known for their scenery and folk tradition. Catoctin Mountain Park, near Frederick, is the site of the US president's retreat, Camp David. There are ten state forests and 40 state parks, the largest of which is Patapsco State Park.

Culture The Indian Cultural Center at Waldorf preserves the traditions of Maryland's American Indian peoples; the Piscataway Indian Museum at White Plains focuses specifically on Piscataway culture. Colonial, maritime, and naval history, fishing, and seafaring are all major components of Maryland's cultural identity. Annapolis is a world yachting centre and the port of Baltimore remains one of the most cosmopolitan metropolitan areas on the east coast.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is an important state art gallery, housing a wide range of paintings. The Walters Art Museum, also in Baltimore, holds one of the most important collections of ivories, jewellery, enamels, and bronzes in the USA. Other galleries in Baltimore include the Peabody Gallery of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum, an unusual collection featuring over 4,000 pieces of modern and contemporary US folk art and work by self-taught artists. Other museums in Maryland include the African-American Art Museum at Columbia, the Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerston, and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury. Strathmore, an arts centre in North Bethesda, is devoted to visual and performing arts.

Baltimore is a leading centre for music in the USA, with the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Opera Company. The Potomac River Sacred Harp Singing Convention is held in Bethesda every spring. Jazz has deep roots in Baltimore and is extremely popular; the Baltimore Blues Festival takes place each May, and there is an annual jazz festival at Annapolis. The Bay Country Music Festival is held in Centreville in June, and the Deer Creek Fiddlers' Convention is held in Westminster and features a bluegrass music competition.

Maryland has a strong sporting culture, particularly with regard to horse racing, baseball, and lacrosse. The main horse racing events are the Maryland Hunt Cup, the Preakness Stakes, and the Maryland Million Day. The Baltimore Orioles are Maryland's professional baseball team and are based at Oriole Park at Camden Yards; the state's professional American football team, the Baltimore Ravens, are based next door. Jousting is the official state sport, and tournaments are held throughout the summer. Maryland attracts tourists from all over the east coast and the state's fine seafood, particularly its crabs and crab cakes, is nationally renowned.

GovernmentMaryland's state constitution Maryland's first constitution was adopted in 1776. The present constitution dates from 1867.

Structure of state government Maryland's legislature, known as the General Assembly, consists of two houses: a House of Delegates with 141 members and a 47-member Senate. These representatives are elected to four-year terms. The General Assembly meets for 90 days each year. Maryland sends eight representatives and two senators to the US Congress, and has ten electoral votes in presidential elections. Until 1913 US senators were chosen by Maryland's general assembly; after 1913 they were elected by the voters. The dominant party in Maryland is the Democratic Party.

The governor is elected to a four-year term and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Democrat Martin O'Malley took the governorship in January 2007. The governor is one of the most powerful in the USA, with the authority to propose a state budget which the legislature may not increase. The lieutenant governor is elected on a joint ballot with the governor. The comptroller and the attorney general are also popularly elected. The governor presides over the Governor's Executive Council, also known as the Cabinet, which comprises 18 departments, each headed by a secretary appointed by the governor.

The judiciary in Maryland consists of four courts: the district court, the circuit court, the court of special appeals, and the court of appeals. The court of appeals is Maryland's oldest and highest court, dating back to the 17th century. Its seven judges are appointed by the governor but, like the circuit court and special court of appeals judges, they must be popularly elected by the voters during an election following their appointment.

The seat of local government in Maryland is the county. Each of Maryland's 23 counties has a rich history, some of them dating back to the first settlements. Thirteen counties are governed by boards of county commissioners and ten by county councils, eight of which are led by county executives. The municipality of Baltimore is considered to have county status.

Economy Maryland's economy benefits from its location on the Atlantic seaboard, its transport infrastructure, and its proximity to the federal government. The port of Baltimore ranks second on the east coast in handling foreign shipping, as it is closer to the Midwest than any other seaport on the Atlantic. Maryland's Baltimore–Washington International Airport, railways, and several interstate highways make the state a hub for regional trade.

The state has prospered from the growth of the federal government in nearby Washington, DC. Many government agencies are located in Maryland, including the National Institute of Health, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and some US Department of Defense operations. State, federal, and university research partnerships have expanded Maryland's technology base, particularly in the corridor between Washington, DC, and Baltimore. Maryland has the highest percentage of technical and professional workers in the USA, and the state has the lowest poverty rate in the country.

Manufacturing activities include computers and electronic products, food processing, fabricated metal products, chemicals, and plastics and rubber products. Leading mineral commodities are stone, coal, and gravel for cement. Agriculture is oriented particularly to dairy and poultry farming, and horticulture crops. Corn, soybeans, barley, and tobacco are also produced. The fishing industry, although declining, remains important in the bay area.

HistoryIndigenous peoples American Indian settlements were established in the Chesapeake Bay region by AD 1200, although evidence of American Indian presence dates back many thousand years. The bay was home to several Algonquian Indian peoples. The Piscataway inhabited the western shore, whereas the Accohannock, Nanticoke, Pocomoke, and Assateague lived on the eastern shore and the Delmarva Peninsula.

Colonial settlement Chesapeake Bay was explored by the French and Spanish in the 16th century; Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator in the service of the French, first wrote about Chesapeake Bay in 1524. The region was extensively explored and charted by the English explorer John Smith in 1608. In 1632 Charles I of England granted a charter for lands south of 40°N latitude to the Potomac River to the English Roman Catholic royalist Cecil Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore. The new territory was named Maryland for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. Cecil Calvert led a group of colonists on the Ark and the Dove, which arrived on the western shore at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in 1634. Maryland's first settlement, St Mary's City, was built later that year.

The American Indians of the lower Chesapeake maintained a peaceful relationship with the Maryland settlers, unlike the Susquehannock, an Iroquois people who inhabited the northern part of the bay. The Susquehannock were traditional enemies of the Algonquian tribes, conducting frequent raids on their territory, and also resisting the English presence. War and disease reduced Maryland's Algonquian population and the later influx of Puritans, the demand for land, and the Treaty of Middle Plantation (1646), which undermined the authority of the Accohannock and Piscataway, caused many Indians to retreat north, while others intermarried with the settlers.

Religious factions In 1649, the year that Charles I was beheaded, the Maryland general assembly enacted the Religious Toleration Act to protect Catholic, Protestant, and Quaker worship; Calvert also appointed the Virginian Protestant William Stone as governor. Stone invited a group of nonconformist Virginia Puritans to establish a settlement in Maryland, and they founded the town of Providence (later Annapolis) at the mouth of the Severn River in the same year. In 1650 the Maryland general assembly created Anne Arundel County in memory of Calvert's deceased wife, as a haven for Puritans.

In 1652 Puritan Parliamentarians took control of the Maryland colony and removed Stone from office. Calvert's Catholic forces were despatched to take Providence in 1655, but they were defeated at the Battle of the Severn and the Puritans remained in control until 1657 when Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, restored Calvert's authority. In 1691 the joint sovereigns William III and Mary II declared Maryland an English royal colony, rather than a proprietary province, and the Church of England became the established church. The capital of Maryland was moved from St Mary's City to Providence (at the time known as Anne Arundel Towne) in 1694; it was renamed Annapolis in 1697 in honour of Princess (later Queen) Anne.

Expansion in the 18th century Commercially and territorially, Maryland grew rapidly in the 18th century. The Iroquois League, also known as the Six Nations, surrendered all their land in the region by the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744, although Marylanders pushing west continued to encounter American Indian resistance. By 1730, tobacco had become an important agricultural product and the first iron smelting had begun on the Patapsco River. Mills and trading posts sprang up along Maryland's rivers. In 1729 the town of Baltimore was established and in 1750 Baltimore began shipping exports. Settlement continued in the mid-18th century: French Catholics settled in Baltimore and German settlers colonized Frederick County. A boundary dispute with Pennsylvania was settled in 1767, when Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed a border, the Mason–Dixon Line, which would later be considered the traditional line between North and South in the USA.

American Revolution Agitation over British rule emerged in 1765 over the Stamp Act, and in 1769 Maryland assumed a policy banning British imports. After sending delegates to the first Continental Congress in 1774, Maryland had its own ‘tea party’, burning the frigate Peggy Stewart in Annapolis Harbor after British tea was discovered on board. The colony declared its independence from Britain during the Ninth Provincial Congress, when it adopted a bill of rights, a constitution, and disestablished the Church of England. Maryland soldiers fought throughout the American Revolution, but no battle took place on Maryland soil. The Treaty of Paris, ending the war, was ratified by the US Congress at Annapolis in 1783.

Early statehood Maryland ratified the US Constitution in 1788, and in 1790 ceded land for the District of Columbia and the building of a new national capital. During the War of 1812, the British bombarded Baltimore in 1814 but failed to capture the port. The incident inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, which became the US national anthem in 1931.

A period of growth followed the War of 1812. The first half of the 19th century saw the building of the National Road from Cumberland, one of the USA's primary routes west, the opening of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The USA's first telegraph line was built between Washington and Baltimore in 1844. By the 1840s Baltimore had become a major port of entry for immigrants from Europe, creating Maryland's characteristic ethnic diversity.

Civil War Maryland was a border state during the Civil War. Industrialists sided with the Union, while plantation farmers favoured secession. Antislavery sentiment was felt in the state as early as the 1780s, and in 1796, Maryland banned the import of slaves and allowed voluntary emancipation. Confederate troops under General Robert E Lee invaded Maryland in 1862 in an advance on Washington, DC, but were successfully repelled by Union general George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam. In 1864, a new constitution outlawed slavery and in 1867 the vote was extended to non-white males.

20th century By World War I, Baltimore had become a centre for shipbuilding, oil refining, and steel making. The Democrat, Albert Richie, was elected five times as governor serving 1919–35. He streamlined and professionalized the state administration, but the economy was hit by the Great Depression and the state had to introduce its first ever income tax in 1937. World War II saw a second population surge as people moved to Baltimore and Washington in the war effort. Between 1940 and 1980, Maryland's population more than tripled. Additions to Maryland's transport infrastructure, such as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (1950) and the Baltimore–Washington Parkway (1954), improved the cohesion of the state. The improved accessibility of the eastern shore facilitated an expansion of tourism. Growth of the federal government resulted in the creation of a technology corridor along the Fall Line.

During the late 20th century the Chesapeake Bay became heavily polluted, depleting its animal and plant life. Efforts by government and environmental groups focused on cleanup to improve water quality.

Famous peoplesport Babe Ruth (1895–1948), baseball player; Cal Ripken Jr (1960– ), baseball player

the arts Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), lawyer and poet; Upton Sinclair (1878–1968), novelist; H L Mencken (1880–1956), essayist; Eubie Blake (1883–1983), composer; Billie Holiday (1915–1959), jazz singer; Philip Glass (1937– ), composer; Tom Clancy (1947–2013), writer

science Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), mathematician and inventor; Daniel Kirkwood (1814–1895), astronomer

society and education Clara Barton (1821–1912), founder of the American Red Cross; Emily Post (1872–1960), authority and writer on etiquette

politics and law Frederick Douglass (1817–1895), antislavery campaigner; Harriet Tubman (1821–1913), abolitionist; Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), jurist; Spiro Agnew (1918–1996), US vice-president.


lighthouse, Maryland

Maryland – flag

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