Maryland facts for kids
|State of Maryland|
|Nickname(s): "Old Line State", "Free State", "Little America", "America in Miniature"|
Motto(s): Fatti maschii, parole femine
Scuto bonæ voluntatis tuæ coronasti nos (With favor Wilt Thou Compass Us as with a Shield) Psalm 5:12
|State anthem: Maryland, My Maryland|
|Official language||None (English, de facto)|
|Largest metro||Baltimore-Washington Metro Area|
|- Total||12,407 sq mi
|- Width||101 miles (163 km)|
|- Length||249 miles (400 km)|
|- % water||21|
|- Latitude||37° 53′ N to 39° 43′ N|
|- Longitude||75° 03′ W to 79° 29′ W|
|Number of people||Ranked 19th|
|- Total||6,016,447 (2016 est)|
|- Density||596/sq mi (230/km2)
|- Average income||$73,594 (1st)|
|Height above sea level|
|- Highest point||Hoye-Crest
3,360 ft (1024 m)
|- Average||350 ft (110 m)|
|- Lowest point||Atlantic Ocean
|Before statehood||Province of Maryland|
|Became part of the U.S.||April 28, 1788 (7th)|
|Governor||Larry Hogan (R)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC −5/−4|
|Abbreviations||MD, Md. US-MD|
|The Flag of Maryland.|
|The Seal of Maryland.|
|Butterfly||Baltimore checkerspot butterfly|
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Smith Island Cake
|Fossil||Ecphora gardnerae gardnerae|
|Gemstone||Patuxent River stone|
|Poem||"Maryland, My Maryland" by James Ryder Randall|
|Slogan(s)||Maryland of Opportunity|
|Song(s)||"Maryland, My Maryland"|
|Released in 2000|
|Lists of United States state insignia|
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. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis.
One of the original Thirteen Colonies, Maryland is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, when it was formed by George Calvert in the early 17th century as an intended refuge for persecuted Catholics from England. George Calvert was the first Lord of Baltimore and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and played a pivotal role in the founding of Washington, D.C., which was established on land donated by the state.
Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated, with around six million residents. With its close proximity to the nation's capital, and a highly diversified economy spanning manufacturing, services, and biotechnology, Maryland has the highest median household income of any state.
- Images for kids
- See also: List of rivers of Maryland
Maryland has an area of 12,406.68 square miles (32,133.2 km2) and is comparable in overall area with Belgium (11,787 square miles (30,530 km2)). It is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii (10,930.98 square miles (28,311.1 km2)), the next smallest state.
Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature. It ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the Chesapeake Bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forests in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the mountains to the west.
Maryland is bounded on its north by Pennsylvania, on its west by West Virginia, on its east by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean, and on its south, across the Potomac River, by West Virginia and Virginia. The mid-portion of this border is interrupted by Washington, D.C., which sits on land that was originally part of Montgomery and Prince George's counties and including the town of Georgetown, Maryland. This land was ceded to the United States Federal Government in 1790 to form the District of Columbia. (The Commonwealth of Virginia gave land south of the Potomac, including the town of Alexandria, Virginia, however Virginia retroceded its portion in 1846). The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore.
Most of the state's waterways are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the exceptions of a tiny portion of extreme western Garrett County (drained by the Youghiogheny River as part of the watershed of the Mississippi River), the eastern half of Worcester County (which drains into Maryland's Atlantic coastal bays), and a small portion of the state's northeast corner (which drains into the Delaware River watershed).
The highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 3,360 feet (1,020 m), is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia, and near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac River.
As is typical of states on the East Coast, Maryland's plant life is abundant and healthy. A good dose of annual precipitation helps to support many types of plants, including seagrass and various reeds at the smaller end of the spectrum to the gigantic Wye Oak, a huge example of white oak, the state tree, which can grow in excess of 70 feet (21 m) tall.
Middle Atlantic coastal forests, typical of the southeastern Atlantic coastal plain, grow around Chesapeake Bay and on the Delmarva Peninsula. Moving west, a mixture of Northeastern coastal forests and Southeastern mixed forests cover the central part of the state. The Appalachian Mountains of western Maryland are home to Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests. These give way to Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests near the West Virginia border.
Many foreign species are cultivated in the state, some as ornamentals, others as novelty species. Included among these are the crape myrtle, Italian cypress, live oak in the warmer parts of the state, and even hardy palm trees in the warmer central and eastern parts of the state. USDA plant hardiness zones in the state range from Zones 5 and 6 in the extreme western part of the state to Zone 7 in the central part, and Zone 8 around the southern part of the coast, the bay area, and parts of metropolitan Baltimore. Invasive plant species, such as kudzu, tree of heaven, multiflora rose, and Japanese stiltgrass, stifle growth of endemic plant life. Maryland's state flower, the black-eyed susan, grows in abundance in wild flower groups throughout the state. The state insect, the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, is not common as it is near the southern edge of its range. 435 species of birds have been reported from Maryland.
The state harbors a great number of white tailed deer, especially in the woody and mountainous west of the state, and overpopulation can become a problem from year-to-year. Mammals can be found ranging from the mountains in the west to the central areas and include black bears, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and otters.
There is a population of rare wild (feral) horses found on Assateague Island. Every year during the last week of July, feral horses are captured and waded across a shallow bay for sale at Chincoteague, Virginia. This conservation technique ensures the tiny island is not overrun by the horses. The ponies and their sale were popularized by the children's book, Misty of Chincoteague. They are believed to be descended from horses who escaped from shipwrecks.
The purebred Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog was bred specifically for water sports, hunting and search and rescue in the Chesapeake area. In 1878 the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was the first individual retriever breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. and was later adopted by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as their mascot.
Maryland's reptile and amphibian population includes the diamondback terrapin turtle, which was adopted as the mascot of University of Maryland, College Park. The state is part of the territory of the Baltimore oriole, which is the official state bird and mascot of the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles.
Maryland has a wide array of climates, due to local variances in elevation, proximity to water, and protection from colder weather due to downslope winds.
The eastern half of Maryland—which includes the cities of Ocean City, Salisbury, Annapolis, and the southern and eastern suburbs of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore—lies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with flat topography and sandy or muddy soil. This region has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and a short, mild to cool winter; it falls under USDA Hardiness zone 8a.
The Piedmont region—which includes northern and western greater Baltimore, Westminster, Gaithersburg, Frederick, and Hagerstown—has average seasonal snowfall totals generally exceeding 20 inches (51 cm) and, as part of USDA Hardiness zones 7b and 7a, temperatures below 10 °F (−12 °C) are less rare. From the Cumberland Valley on westward, the climate begins to transition to a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa).
In western Maryland, the higher elevations of Allegany and Garrett counties—including the cities of Cumberland, Frostburg, and Oakland—display more characteristics of the humid continental zone, due in part to elevation. They fall under USDA Hardiness zones 6b and below.
Hurricanes and tornadoes
Because of its location near the Atlantic Coast, Maryland is somewhat vulnerable to tropical cyclones, although the Delmarva Peninsula and the outer banks of North Carolina provide a large buffer, such that strikes from major hurricanes (category 3 or above) occur infrequently. More often, Maryland gets the remnants of a tropical system which has already come ashore and released most of its energy. Maryland averages around 30–40 days of thunderstorms a year, and averages around six tornado strikes annually.
Maryland's first colonial settlement
The Catholic George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore sought a charter from Charles I for the territory between Pennsylvania and Virginia. After George Calvert died in April 1632, the charter was granted to his son, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new "Maryland Colony" was named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England.
Lord Baltimore's first settlers arrived in the new colony in March 1634. They made their first permanent settlement at St. Mary's City in what is now St. Mary's County. They purchased the site from the paramount chief of the region, who was eager to establish trade. St. Mary's became the first capital of Maryland, and remained so for 60 years until 1695. More settlers soon followed. Their tobacco crops were successful and quickly made the new colony profitable. However, given the incidence of malaria and typhoid, life expectancy in Maryland was about 10 years less than in New England.
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.
Many of the free black families migrated to Delaware, where land was cheaper. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco as the commodity crop.
During the War of 1812, the British military attempted to capture Baltimore, which was protected by Fort McHenry. During this bombardment the song "Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key; it was later adopted as the national anthem.
The state remained with the Union during the Civil War. By 1860, 49% of Maryland's African Americans were free blacks.
In April 1861 Federal units and state regiments were attacked as they marched through Baltimore, sparking the Baltimore riot of 1861, the first bloodshed in the Civil War. 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. The largest and most significant battle in the state was the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg. Although a tactical draw, the battle was considered a strategic Union victory and a turning point of the war.
After the war
A new state constitution in 1864 abolished slavery, and following passage of constitutional amendments that granted voting rights to freedmen, in 1867 the state extended suffrage to non-white males.
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.
Baltimore grew significantly during the Industrial Revolution, due in large part to its seaport and good railroad connections, attracting European immigrant labor. Many manufacturing businesses were established in the Baltimore area after the Civil War.
Early 20th century
The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 burned over 30 hours, destroying 1,526 buildings and spanning 70 city blocks. More than 1,231 firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control.
With the nation's entry into World War I in 1917, new military bases such as Camp Meade, the Aberdeen Proving Ground, and the Edgewood Arsenal were established. Existing facilities, including Fort McHenry, were greatly expanded.
Baltimore was a major war production center during World War II. The biggest operations were Bethlehem Steel's Fairfield Yard, which built Liberty ships; and Glenn Martin, an aircraft manufacturer.
Maryland experienced population growth following World War II, particularly in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Maryland's regions experienced economic changes following WWII. Heavy manufacturing declined in Baltimore. In Maryland's four westernmost counties, industrial, railroad, and coal mining jobs declined. On the lower Eastern Shore, family farms were bought up by major concerns and large-scale poultry farms and vegetable farming became prevalent. In Southern Maryland, tobacco farming nearly vanished due to suburban development and a state tobacco buy-out program.
- See also: List of counties in Maryland
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Maryland was 6,006,401 on July 1, 2015.
Spanish is the second-most-spoken language in Maryland, after English.
Urban and rural areas
Most of the population of Maryland lives in the central region of the state, in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and Washington Metropolitan Area, both of which are part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
Largest cities, towns and places
Largest cities or towns in Maryland
- Baltimore - population 620,961
- Columbia - population 99,615
- Germantown - population 86,395
- Silver Spring - population 71,452
- Waldorf - population 67,752
- Glen Burnie - population 67,639
- Ellicott City - population 65,834
- Frederick - population 65,239
- Dundalk - population 63,597
- Rockville - population 61,209
Racial and ethnic makeup
In 1970 the Census Bureau reported Maryland's population as 17.8 percent African-American and 80.4 percent non-Hispanic White.
African Americans form a sizable portion of the state's population – nearly 30 percent in 2010. Most are descendants of people transported to the area as slaves from West Africa, and many are of mixed race, including European and Native American ancestry.
In 2006 645,744 were counted as foreign born, which represents mainly people from Latin America and Asia. About 4.0 percent are undocumented immigrants. Maryland also has a large Korean American population. In fact, 1.7 percent are Korean, while as a whole, almost 6.0 percent are Asian.
Maryland's economy benefits from the state's close proximity to the federal government in Washington, D.C. with an emphasis on technical and administrative tasks for the defense/aerospace industry and bio-research laboratories, as well as staffing of satellite government headquarters in the suburban or exurban Baltimore/Washington area.
Manufacturing include electronics, computer equipment, and chemicals.
Mining other than construction materials is virtually limited to coal, which is located in the mountainous western part of the state.
One major service activity is transportation, centered on the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access.
Although the port handles a wide variety of products, the most typical imports are raw materials and bulk commodities, such as iron ore, petroleum, sugar, and fertilizers, often distributed to the relatively close manufacturing centers of the inland Midwest via good overland transportation. The port also receives several different brands of imported motor vehicles and is the number one auto port in the U.S.
Agriculture and fishing
Maryland has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in the Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab, oysters, striped bass, and menhaden. The Bay also has overwintering waterfowl in its wildlife refuges. The waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.
Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, though this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization.
Agriculture is oriented to dairy farming (especially in foothill and piedmont areas) for nearby large city milksheads plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers, watermelons, sweet corn, tomatoes, muskmelons, squash, and peas.
In addition, the southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times but declined greatly after a state government buyout in the 1990s.
There is also a large automated chicken-farming sector in the state's southeastern part; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms. Maryland's food-processing plants are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state.
Maryland is a major center for life sciences research and development. With more than 400 biotechnology companies located there, Maryland is the fourth-largest nexus in this field in the United States.
Maryland is home to defense contractor Emergent BioSolutions, which manufactures and provides an anthrax vaccine to U.S. government military personnel.
Tourism is popular in Maryland, with tourists visiting the city attractions of Baltimore, the beach attractions of the Eastern Shore, and the nature attractions of western Maryland, as well as many passing through en route to Washington, D.C. Baltimore attractions include the Harborplace and the Baltimore Aquarium, as well as the popular Camden Yards baseball stadium.
Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast has been a popular beach destination in summer, particularly since the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built in 1952 connecting the Eastern Shore to the more populated Maryland cities.
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Maryland Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.