Maryland is the 19th most populous and the 42nd most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The state attained statehood on April 28, 1788, becoming the 7th state to join the union. Its four bordering states are Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Maryland (nicknamed: Cockade State, Free State, Monumental State, Old Line State, Terrapin State) has 24 counties. The state’s capital is Annapolis.
In 1608, Capt. John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay. Charles I granted a royal charter for Maryland to Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, in 1632, and English settlers, many of whom were Roman Catholic, landed on St. Clement’s (now Blackstone) Island in 1634. Religious freedom, granted all Christians in the Toleration Act passed by the Maryland assembly in 1649, was ended by a Puritan revolt, 1654-1658.
From 1763 to 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed Maryland’s northern boundary line with Pennsylvania. In 1791, Maryland ceded land to form the District of Columbia.
In 1814, during the British attempt to capture Baltimore, the bombardment of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. During the Civil War, Maryland was a slave state but remained in the Union. Consequently, Marylanders fought on both sides and many families were divided.
Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria of England. She was married to King Charles I, who granted permission for Maryland to become a colony.
Legend has it that Maryland’s nicknamed the Old Line State in honor of 400 Revolutionary War soldiers who faced off against 10,000 British soldiers in a battle in 1776. These soldiers, which were called the “Maryland Line,” held off the British just long enough to allow the rest of the American army—lead by George Washington—to escape.
Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Western Shore embrace the Chesapeake Bay, and the many estuaries and rivers create one of the longest waterfronts of any state. The Bay produces more seafood oysters, crabs, clams, fin fish than any comparable body of water. Since the 1950s, fish stocks have declined due to increased residential and commercial development in the area and the attendant amount of nutrients, sediment, and toxic substances polluting the water. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Chesapeake Bay Restoration and Protection Executive Order that called on the federal government “to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.”.
“Maryland, My Maryland” was written by a 22-year-old schoolteacher named James Ryder Randall. Excited by a story of the passage of Union troops through the city of Baltimore, he composed a bitter poem and published it in a New Orleans newspaper. As he described it later, he composed the poem “under what may be called a conflagration of the senses, if not an inspiration of the intellect.” It is set to the traditional tune of “Lauriger Horatius” (O, Tannenbaum). In 1939, Maryland officially adopted it as the State Song.
Black bears, bobcats, and Appalachian cottontails are a few of the mammals that live in Maryland. Ospreys, gyrfalcons (the biggest type of falcon), and Baltimore orioles are some local birds. The state’s amphibians include Allegheny Mountain dusky salamanders and barking tree frogs. And reptiles such as bog turtles, Coastal Plain milk snakes, and eastern fence lizards live here.
One of Maryland’s nicknames is “Little America” because it has all types of terrain; mountains, beaches, sand dunes, farmland, forests, etc. It also experiences a wide variety of weather and all four seasons.