Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia 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 the 9th smallest state by area, but the 19th most populous and the 5th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state's most populated city is Baltimore and its capital Annapolis. It was named after Queen Henrietta Maria. Of the 50 U.S. states, Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation.
In 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's 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. He 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, Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony was named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England. Some scholars believe it was named after the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. They note that the first capital of Maryland was St. Mary's. In addition, no colony or territory has ever been named in honor of someone's middle name. The territory was consecrated in honor of the Virgin Mary on St. Clements Island. 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 in to the colony, whether as settler, indentured servant or slave.
On March 25, 1634, Lord Baltimore sent the first colonists into this area. 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.
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.
Negotiations continued until a final agreement was signed in 1760. The agreement defined Maryland's border with what is now Delaware as well as Pennsylvania. The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was defined as the line of latitude south of the southernmost house of Philadelphia, a line now known as the Mason-Dixon Line. Maryland's border with Delaware was based on a Transpeninsular Line and the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle.
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. 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. Many wealthy Catholic planters built chapels on their land to practice their religion in relative secrecy.
St. Mary's City was the largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of the colonial government until 1708. St Mary's is now a historical site, with a small tourist center. In 1708, the seat of government was moved to Providence, which had been renamed Annapolis. The city was renamed in honor of the Protestant Queen Anne in 1694.
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 many 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.
Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. On February 2, 1781, Maryland became the 13th state to approve the ratification of the Articles of Confederation which brought into being the United States as a united, sovereign and national state. It also became the seventh state admitted to the U.S. after ratifying the new Constitution. In December 1790, Maryland donated land selected by President George Washington to the federal government for the creation of the new national capital of Washington, D.C. The land was provided from Montgomery and Prince George's counties, as well as from Fairfax County and Alexandria in Virginia; however, the land donated by Virginia was later returned to that state by the District of Columbia retrocession.
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 Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key.
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 one percent before the war to 13.9 percent by 1810.
By 1860 Maryland's free black population comprised 49.1% of the total of African Americans in the state. This contributed to the state's remaining loyal to the Union during the American Civil War. In addition, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks temporarily suspended the state legislature, and President Abraham Lincoln had many of its fire eaters arrested prior to its reconvening.
In 1861, Federal military units arrived in President Street Station and marched through Baltimore, where they were attacked by an unruly mob. The incident was the first bloodshed in the Civil War and has been dubbed the "Baltimore riot of 1861". When the telegraph lines to Washington and an iron railbridge were destroyed by residents of Baltimore, the federal government was isolated in Washington D.C.. During the fighting between civilians and the soldiers from the 6th Massachusetts regiment, several soldiers were hit by stones and a musket was fired. The soldiers were ordered to march at double time, and it became a running gun battle. Two Union soldiers were shot and killed, while two others, including Corporal Needham, were knocked from the ranks and beaten to death by the enraged mob. Eventually the Union troops reached the safety of Camden Station.
President Lincoln promised to avoid having more northern defenders march through Baltimore while getting to areas to protect the acutely endangered federal capitol. This forced the majority of forces traveling to reinforce the capitol to take a slow route by ship.
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. The grandson of Francis Scott Key was included in those jailed. 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.
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.
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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