Maryland is a state with a fascinating history. The state was named after England's Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I. Charles I granted the region to the first Lord Baltimore. Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies. During colonial times, Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, promoted religious freedom for Christians in the state.
Historically, Maryland has been considered a border state between the North and South. The northern part of the state resembles the industrialized North, while the eastern and southern regions of the state are more like the South. In fact, the Mason-Dixon Line, which separates Maryland from Pennsylvania, was considered the border between Northern and Southern ways of life. You can still see stones with the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore and William Penn that mark the original Mason-Dixon Line.
Despite its classification as a Southern state and the fact that it was a slaveholding state, Maryland remained in the Union during the Civil War. However, men from the state fought in both armies. Maryland was the site of several battles, including the Battle of Antietam, which was one of the Civil War's bloodiest.
In 1791, Maryland and Virginia donated land to the United States government to build a new capital, Washington D.C. In fact, Benjamin Banneker, one of Maryland's brilliant African Americans, helped plan the capital. During the War of 1812, a battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, was born in Baltimore.
Maryland is nicknamed the "Old Line State." It was probably suggested by George Washington because of the great performance of the state's troops in the Revolutionary War. Frederick and Salisbury are two of the state's cities. The abbreviation for Maryland is MD.
Maryland is a South Atlantic state bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Virginia to the south, and West Virginia to the west. Washington D.C. occupies a small area along the state's border with Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay, the largest bay in the contiguous (that is, not including Hawaii and Alaska) United States, divides Maryland nearly in half. Maryland is one of the most densely populated states in the country.
The two areas of Maryland separated by the Chesapeake Bay are known as the Eastern Shore and the Western Shore. The bay gives the state some excellent harbors. Baltimore, located on the bay, is one of the most important port cities in the world and Maryland's largest city. The Eastern Shore lies on the Delmarva Peninsula, which it shares with portions of Delaware and Virginia. The state's landscape includes shorelines, river valleys, rolling hills, mountains, plateaus, and farmland. About 40 percent of Maryland is forested.
Maryland changed from an agricultural economy to an industrial one during the first half of the 20th century. Products manufactured in the state include electrical equipment, electrical devices, and processed food. However, farms can still be found in Maryland. You can find many chicken and dairy farms in the state. Maryland is also an important producer of clams, soft-shell crabs, and oysters.
In addition to manufacturing and agriculture, service industries including government and trade are very important to Maryland's economy. In fact, because the state borders Washington DC and the United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, the federal government employs more of the state's residents than anyone else does. Annapolis is the state capital.
There are many things to see and do in Maryland. Tour the state's historic State House in Annapolis; it's the oldest State Capitol in continuous use. Watch sharks swim at the acclaimed National Aquarium in Baltimore. While you're in Baltimore, go to Pimlico racetrack and see your favorite horse win the Preakness Stakes, which is run every May. The race is the second leg of the Triple Crown, the famous horse races which include the Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes.