Maryland is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and has three occasionally used nicknames: the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State.
Maryland is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, dating back to its earliest colonial days when it was made a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert the first Lord Baltimore, and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant.
Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated states of the United States. Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Although the state is officially claimed to be named after Queen Henrietta Maria, some Catholics believe Maryland was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, by George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore prior to his death in 1632. The original intent may never be known. There is a St. Mary's County in Maryland.
Maryland's first colonial settlement
In 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's Province of Avalon colony, applied to Charles I for a royal charter for what was to become the Province of Maryland. Calvert's interest in creating a colony derived from his Catholicism and his desire for the creation of a haven in the New World for Catholics, free of the persecution that was commonplace in England. He also wanted a share of fortunes, such as those made by the sale of the commodity tobacco in Virginia, and hoped to recoup some of the financial losses he had sustained in his earlier colonial venture in Newfoundland.
George Calvert died in April 1632, but a charter for "Maryland Colony" (in Latin, Terra Maria) was granted to his son, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony may have been named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England. The name recorded in the charter was phrased "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland". The English name was preferred over the Latin due in part to the undesired association of "Mariae" with the Spanish Jesuit Juan de Mariana of the Inquisition.
To try to gain settlers, Maryland used what is known as the headright system, which originated in Jamestown. Settlers were given 50 acres of land for each person they brought into the colony, whether as settler, indentured servant or slave.
On November 22, 1633, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers to the new colony, and after a long, rough sea voyage with a stopover to resupply in Barbados, they arrived in what is now Maryland in March of 1634. They made their first permanent settlement in what is now St. Mary's County choosing to settle on a bluff overlooking the St. Mary's river, a relatively calm, tidal tributary to the mouth of the Potomac river where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The site was already a Native American village when they arrived, occupied by members of the Piscataway Indian Nation, but the settlers had with them a former Virginia colonist who was fluent in their language and they met quickly with the paramount chief of the region. He agreed to sell the village to the settlers and ordered the area cleared. He had known of White men from communication with Native tribes to the South and West in Virginia and he was eager to gain technology, like guns and gunpowder, from the new Maryland settlers, and to trade with them as well. And so he came to the settlers shortly after their arrival and reached a treaty with them almost immediately. The new settlement was called "St. Mary's City" and it became the first capitol of Maryland, and remained so for sixty years until 1695.
More settlers soon followed and St. Mary's City quickly began to grow. The tobacco crops that they had planned from the outset were very successful and made the new colony profitable very quickly, although disease was a big killer and many colonists died in the first years until immunities built up in the population. Religious tensions would also come to challenge the colony in significant ways, making the early times very harrowing in spite of the early economic successes.
During the persecution of Catholics in the Puritan revolt, Protestants burned down all of the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland. The Puritan revolt lasted until 1658, when the Calvert family regained control of the colony and re-enacted the Toleration Act.
Although most of the settlers were Protestants, Maryland soon became one of the few regions in the English Empire where Catholics held the highest positions of political authority. Maryland was also a key destination for transport of tens of thousands of English convicts to work as indentured servants. The royal charter granted Maryland the land north of the entire length of the Potomac River up to the 40th parallel. A problem arose when Charles II granted a charter for Pennsylvania. The grant defined Pennsylvania's southern border as identical to Maryland's northern border, the 40th parallel. But the terms of the grant clearly indicate that Charles II and William Penn assumed the 40th parallel would pass close to New Castle, Delaware when it falls north of Philadelphia, the site of which Penn had already selected for his colony's capital city. Negotiations ensued after the problem was discovered in 1681.
A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn's receiving the additional grant of what is now Delaware — which previously had been part of Maryland. The dispute remained unresolved for nearly a century, carried on by the descendants of William Penn and Lord Baltimore—the Calvert family, which controlled Maryland, and the Penn family, which controlled Pennsylvania.
Resumption of persecution of Catholics
Maryland was founded for the purpose of providing religious toleration of England's Roman Catholic minority. With the exception of a period of armed conflict for a couple of years in the 1640s, religious tolerance was achieved for 60 years in the Maryland colony. However the English Parliament later reversed that policy and discouraged the practice of Catholicism in Maryland. This was followed by a second Protestant uprising that overthrew Maryland's Catholic leaders and ended the time of tolerance. After this, Catholics lost the right to vote and Catholic immigration to the colony was also penalized and heavily restricted until the 1820s.
However, after England's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, when William of Orange came to the throne and established the Protestant faith in England, Maryland outlawed Catholicism. This lasted until after the American Revolutionary War. Wealthy Catholic planters built chapels on their land to practice their religion in relative secrecy.
The conflict led to the Cresap's War (also known as the Conojocular War), a border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland, fought in the 1730s. Hostilities erupted in 1730 with a series of violent incidents prompted by disputes over property rights and law enforcement, and escalated through the first half of the decade, culminating in the deployment of military forces by Maryland in 1736 and by Pennsylvania in 1737. The armed phase of the conflict ended in May 1738 with the intervention of King George II, who compelled the negotiation of a cease-fire. A provisional agreement had been established in 1732.
St. Mary's City was the first (besides St. Clement's Island, where the first colonists of Maryland landed) and largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of the colonial government until 1695, when the capitol was moved to Annapolis. St Mary's is now a state-owned archaeological site and museum adjacent to St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Most of the English colonists arrived in Maryland as indentured servants, and had to serve a several years' term as laborers to pay for their passage. In the early years, the line between indentured servants and African slaves or laborers was fluid, and white and black laborers commonly lived and worked together, and formed unions. Mixed-race children born to white mothers were considered free by the principle of partus sequitur ventrem, by which children took the social status of their mothers, a principle of slave law that was adopted throughout the colonies, following Virginia in 1662. During the colonial era, families of free people of color were formed most often by unions of white women and African men.
Many of the free black families migrated to Delaware, where land was cheaper. As the flow of indentured laborers to the colony decreased with improving economic conditions in England, planters in Maryland imported thousands more slaves and racial caste lines hardened. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco as the commodity crop.
Influenced by a changing economy, revolutionary ideals, and preaching by Methodist and Quaker ministers, numerous planters in Maryland freed their slaves in the twenty years after the Revolutionary War. This was a pattern across the Upper South, in which the free black population increased markedly from less than 1% before the war to 14% by 1810. After that, increasing demand in the Deep South, which was developed for cotton plantations, resulted in slaves being sold and transported there from the Upper South, including Maryland.
During the War of 1812, the British military attempted to capture the port of Baltimore, which was protected by Fort McHenry. It was during this bombardment that the song, "Star Spangled Banner," was written by Francis Scott Key; it was later adopted as the national anthem.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was the first chartered railroad in the United States, and it opened its first section of track for regular operation in 1830, between Baltimore and Ellicott City. In 1852 it became the first rail line to reach the Ohio River from the eastern seaboard. Baltimore's seaport and good railroad connections fostered substantial growth during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Many manufacturing businesses were established in Baltimore and the surrounding area after the Civil War.
By 1860 Maryland's free black population comprised 49% of the total of African Americans in the state. This contributed to the state's remaining loyal to the Union during the Civil War.
In addition, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks temporarily suspended the state legislature, and President Abraham Lincoln had a number of its pro-slavery politicians, called "fire eaters," arrested prior to its reconvening. Lincoln ordered U.S. troops to place artillery on Federal Hill to threaten the city of Baltimore, and helped ensure the election of a new pro-union governor and legislature.
Lincoln ordered certain pro-South members of the state legislature and other prominent men jailed at Fort McHenry, including the Mayor of Baltimore, George William Brown. Historians continue to debate the constitutionality of these actions taken during the crisis of wartime. The Thomas Viaduct, which crosses the Patapsco River on the B&O Railroad, was considered so strategically important that Union troops were assigned to guard it throughout the entirety of the war.
In April 1861, Federal regular military units and state militia regiments arrived in Baltimore at the President Street Station of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, located east of the "Basin" (Inner Harbor). The troops, headed for Washington, D.C., marched through Baltimore towards the B&O Camden Station to continue their journey, and along the way they were attacked by an unruly mob. The incident, later known as the Baltimore riot of 1861, was the first bloodshed in the Civil War. Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed in the riot.
Of the 115,000 men from Maryland who joined the military during the Civil War, 85,000, or 77%, joined the Union army, while the remainder joined the Confederate Army. To help ensure Maryland's inclusion in the Union, President Lincoln suspended several civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus. This suspension was later deemed illegal by Chief Justice Roger Taney of the United States Supreme Court, a Maryland native.
The largest and most significant battle fought in the state was the Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg. Although a tactical draw, the Battle of Antietam was considered a strategic Union victory and a turning point of the war.
Because Maryland remained in the Union, it was exempted from the abolition provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which applied only to states in rebellion. In 1864 the state held a constitutional convention that culminated in the passage of a new state constitution. Article 24 of that document abolished slavery. In 1867, following passage of constitutional amendments that granted voting rights to freedmen, the state extended suffrage to non-white males.
After the war
The Democratic Party rapidly regained power in the state and replaced Republicans who had ruled during the war. Support for the Constitution of 1864 ended, and Democrats replaced it with the Maryland Constitution of 1867. Later, following the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Democrats devised various means of disfranchising freedmen and former free blacks, as did all the other states of the former Confederacy, initially by physical intimidation and voter fraud, later by constitutional amendments and laws. But, Maryland blacks were part of a biracial Republican coalition elected to state government in 1896-1904, and comprised 20% of the electorate. Immigrants comprised another major portion and generally also opposed disfranchisement. Both groups resisted later Democratic Party efforts in the state directed at disfranchisement.
Compared to some other states, blacks were better established both before and after the civil war. Nearly half the population was free before the war, and some had accumulated property. Half the population lived in cities, where they had more physical security than in rural areas. Literacy was quite high among blacks and, as Democrats crafted means to exclude them, suffrage campaigns helped reach blacks and teach them how to resist. Whites did impose racial segregation in public facilities and Jim Crow laws, which effectively lasted until passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. They tended to underfund such facilities.
As the industrial revolution swept across the northeast and midwestern United States, Baltimore continued to expand and prosper. Baltimore businessmen, including Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, George Peabody, and Henry Walters, founded notable educational, health care, and cultural institutions in the city, which bear their names, including a university, library, music school and art museum. Major cities attracted European immigrants, particularly Baltimore and its environs, which had many industrial jobs.
Cumberland was Maryland's second-largest city in the 19th century, with ample nearby supplies of coal, iron ore and timber. These resources, along with railroads, the National Road and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, fostered its growth. The city was a major manufacturing center, with industries in glass, breweries, fabrics and tinplate.
The Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought reforms in the political arena and in working conditions for Maryland's labor force. In a series of laws passed between 1892 and 1908, reformers worked for standard state-issued ballots (rather than those distributed and pre-marked by the parties); obtained closed voting booths to prevent party workers from "assisting" voters; initiated primary elections to keep party bosses from selecting candidates; and had candidates listed without party symbols, which discouraged the illiterate from participating. These measures also had the practical effect of working against ill-educated whites and blacks, indirectly disfranchising them. Blacks resisted such efforts, with suffrage groups conducting voter education to teach people how to deal with the new rules. As noted above, in the early 20th century, blacks defeated three efforts by white Democrats to disfranchise them, making alliances with immigrants to do so and finding numerous ways to resist various Democratic campaigns.
The legislature tried to pass disfranchising bills in 1905, 1907, and 1911, but it was rebuffed on each occasion, in large part because of black opposition. Blacks comprised 20% of the electorate. In addition, immigrants comprised 15% of the voting population, and the legislature had difficulty devising requirements against blacks that did not also disadvantage immigrants.
In 1902, the state regulated conditions in mines; outlawed child laborers under the age of 12; mandated compulsory school attendance; and enacted the nation's first workers' compensation law. The workers' compensation law was overturned in the courts, but was redrafted and finally enacted in 1910.
The Great Baltimore Fire of February 8, 1904 was a momentous event for Maryland's largest city and the state as a whole. More than 1,231 firefighters, some coming from cities as far away as New York, worked to bring the blaze under control. The fire burned over 30 hours, destroying 1,526 buildings and spanning 70 city blocks.
The nation's entry into World War I in 1917 brought changes to Maryland. New military bases, such as Camp Meade (now Fort Meade) and the Aberdeen Proving Ground were established in 1917, and the Edgewood Arsenal was founded the following year. Other existing facilities, including Fort McHenry, were greatly expanded.
Maryland's urban and rural communities had different experiences during the Great Depression. In 1932 the "Bonus Army" marched through the state on its way to Washington, D.C. In addition to the nationwide New Deal reforms of President Franklin Roosevelt, which put men to work building roads and park facilities, Maryland also took steps to weather the hard times. For instance, in 1937 the state instituted its first ever income tax to generate revenue for schools and welfare.
Following World War II, Maryland experienced growth in the suburbs, particularly in the region surrounding Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Agricultural tracts gave way to residential communities such as Columbia and Montgomery Village. Concurrently the Interstate Highway System was built throughout the state, most notably I-95 and the Capital Beltway, permanently altering the landscape and travel patterns. In 1952, the eastern and western halves of Maryland were linked for the first time by the long Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which replaced a nearby ferry service. This bridge (and its later, parallel span) increased tourist traffic to Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast, which had a building boom. Soon after, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel allowed long-distance interstate motorists to bypass downtown Baltimore, while the earlier Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge allowed them to bypass Washington, D.C.
In a pattern similar to that of other U.S. cities, heavy manufacturing declined in Baltimore after the war, beginning in the 1950s, with far-reaching, adverse effects for working-class families. Family farms were bought up by major concerns and large-scale, mechanized poultry farms became prevalent on the lower Eastern Shore, along with irrigated vegetable farming. In Southern Maryland, tobacco farming had nearly vanished by the end of the 20th century, due to suburban housing development and a state tobacco incentive buy-out program. Industrial, railroad, and coal mining jobs in the four westernmost counties declined.
Beginning in the 1960s with Charles Center and the Baltimore World Trade Center, the city of Baltimore initiated urban renewal projects. Some resulted in the break-up of intact residential neighborhoods, producing social volatility. In 1980, the opening of Harborplace and the Baltimore Aquarium made the city a significant tourist destination. The popular Camden Yards baseball stadium opened in 1992 in the downtown area. Some residential areas of older housing around the harbor, such as Fells Point and Federal Hill, have had units renovated and have become popular with new populations. The loss of working-class industrial meant that other parts of the city suffered depopulation.
At the end of the century, Maryland joined with neighboring states to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's aquatic life and seafood industry have been threatened by suburban and waterfront residential development, as well as by fertilizer and livestock waste entering the bay in stormwater runoff, especially from the upper Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.
Note: Maryland was one of the 13 original States. It helped form the District of Columbia in 1791; its boundaries have been substantially unchanged since then, although the Maryland-West Virginia boundary was in dispute as late as 1910. Census coverage has included the entire State from 1790 on. The 1790 population includes the present area of the District of Columbia, separated from Maryland in 1791. The 1840 results for Montgomery County are from a re-enumeration of the population as of 1840, conducted in 1841.. Parts of Prince George's and Montgomery Counties were taken to form the District of Columbia in 1791.
Births, Marriages, and Deaths
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