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"Maryland" United States of America Things to Do Tip by traveldave

United States of America Things to Do: 953 reviews and 1,331 photos


Nickname: Old Line State; Land Area: 9,775 square miles (25,320 square kilometers); Population: 5,773,552; Capital: Annapolis; Largest City: Baltimore

Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and is the largest seaport in the mid-Atlantic states. It was founded in 1729, and was named after Lord Baltimore, a member of the Irish House of Lords and the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore is an anglicization of the Irish-Gaelic term Baile an Tí Mhóir, which means "town of the big house."

In 1706, the Maryland colonial General Assembly created the Port of Baltimore at Locust Point for the tobacco trade. The town of Baltimore was later established nearby where the tidal portion of the Patapsco River empties into Baltimore Harbor, a branch of Chesapeake Bay. The town's strategic location made it a natural center for trade and commerce. During the 1700s, the town flourished as a granary for the Caribbean sugar-producing colonies.

During the American Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress met in the Henry Fite House between December 1776 and February 1777. During that period, Baltimore was in effect the capital of the United States.

Baltimore was later the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. American forces stationed at Fort McHenry successfully withstood a bombardment by the British navy in Septemer 1814. This bombardment was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's poem, The Star-Spangled Banner, which was later set to music and became the national anthem of the United States.

After the War of 1812, Baltimore continued to grow as it became a major shipping and manufacturing center. Construction of the National Road and the establishment of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad helped the city become a transportation center as well.

However, during the early twentieth century, Baltimore lost much of its manufacturing industry, shipping declined, and the city's economy deteriorated. By the 1970s, the Inner Harbor was dominated by abandoned factories and warehouses and rotting piers. In an attempt to improve its economy, the city began a massive urban development project that transformed this neglected area into a major tourist center that today features office buildings, hotels, restaurants, museums, hotels, sports venues, and other tourist attractions.

Nowadays, Baltimore's metropolitan area has about 2,710,000 inhabitants, and it is part of the Baltimore-Washington urban conurbation that has a population of about 8,930,000.

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  • Updated Jul 20, 2012
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