Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland has the highest median household income of any state, with a median income of $70,545. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and three nicknames for it, the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State are occasionally used.

Maryland is a major center for life sciences research and development. With more than 350 biotechnology companies located there, Maryland is the third-largest nexus in this field in the United States.

Institutions and government agencies with an interest in research and development located in Maryland include the Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, more than one campus of the University System of Maryland, Goddard Space Flight Center, the United States Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Celera Genomics company, Human Genome Sciences (HGS),the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), and MedImmune - recently purchased by AstraZeneca.

Maryland has an area of 12,406.68 square miles (32,133.2 km2) and is comparable in overall area with the European country of 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. The next largest state, its neighbor West Virginia, is almost twice the size of Maryland (24,229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km2)).

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 originally part of Montgomery and Prince George's counties, including the town of Georgetown, Maryland, that was ceded to the 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). So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland's geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state's official nickname to the Bay State, a nickname that has been used by Massachusetts for decades.

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.

In 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's Province of 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, free of the persecution that was commonplace in England.[citation needed] He also 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, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony may have been named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England. 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.

George Calvert died in April 1632, but a charter for "Maryland Colony" (in Latin, Terra Maria) was granted to his son, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony may have been named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England.[51] 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 into the colony, whether as settler, indentured servant or slave.

On November 22, 1633, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers to the new colony, and after a long, rough sea voyage with a stopover to resupply in Barbados, they arrived in what is now Maryland in March of 1634. They made their first permanent settlement in what is now St. Mary's County choosing to settle on a bluff overlooking the St. Mary's river, a relatively calm, tidal tributary to the mouth of the Potomac river where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The site was already a Native American village when they arrived, occupied by members of the Piscataway Indian Nation, but the settlers had with them a former Virginia colonist who was fluent in their language and they met quickly with the paramount chief of the region. He agreed to sell the village to the settlers and ordered the area cleared. He had known of White men from communication with Native tribes to the South and West in Virginia and he was eager to gain technology, like guns and gunpowder, from the new Maryland settlers, and to trade with them as well. And so he came to the settlers shortly after their arrival and reached a treaty with them almost immediately. The new settlement was called "St. Mary's City" and it became the first capitol of Maryland, and remained so for sixty years until 1695.

More settlers soon followed and St. Mary's City quickly began to grow. The tobacco crops that they had planned from the outset were very successful and made the new colony profitable very quickly, although disease was a big killer and many colonists died in the first years until immunities built up in the population. Religious tensions would also come to challenge the colony in significant ways, making the early times very harrowing in spite of the early economic successes.

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.

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.

The Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought reforms in the political arena and in working conditions for Maryland's labor force. In a series of laws passed between 1892 and 1908, reformers worked for standard state-issued ballots (rather than those distributed and pre-marked by the parties); obtained closed voting booths to prevent party workers from "assisting" voters; initiated primary elections to keep party bosses from selecting candidates; and had candidates listed without party symbols, which discouraged the illiterate from participating. These measures also had the practical effect of working against ill-educated whites and blacks, indirectly disfranchising them. Blacks resisted such efforts, with suffrage groups conducting voter education to teach people how to deal with the new rules. As noted above, in the early 20th century, blacks defeated three efforts by white Democrats to disfranchise them, making alliances with immigrants to do so and finding numerous ways to resist various Democratic campaigns.

Following World War II, Maryland experienced growth in the suburbs, particularly in the region surrounding Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Agricultural tracts gave way to residential communities such as Columbia and Montgomery Village. Concurrently the Interstate Highway System was built throughout the state, most notably I-95 and the Capital Beltway, permanently altering the landscape and travel patterns. In 1952, the eastern and western halves of Maryland were linked for the first time by the long Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which replaced a nearby ferry service.[60] This bridge (and its later, parallel span) increased tourist traffic to Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast, which had a building boom. Soon after, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel allowed long-distance interstate motorists to bypass downtown Baltimore, while the earlier Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge allowed them to bypass Washington, D.C.

In a pattern similar to that of other U.S. cities, heavy manufacturing declined in Baltimore after the war, beginning in the 1950s, with far-reaching, adverse effects for working-class families. Family farms were bought up by major concerns and large-scale, mechanized poultry farms became prevalent on the lower Eastern Shore, along with irrigated vegetable farming. In Southern Maryland, tobacco farming had nearly vanished by the end of the 20th century, due to suburban housing development and a state tobacco incentive buy-out program. Industrial, railroad, and coal mining jobs in the four westernmost counties declined.

Beginning in the 1960s with Charles Center and the Baltimore World Trade Center, the city of Baltimore initiated urban renewal projects. Some resulted in the break-up of intact residential neighborhoods, producing social volatility. In 1980, the opening of Harborplace and the Baltimore Aquarium made the city a significant tourist destination. The popular Camden Yards baseball stadium opened in 1992 in the downtown area. Some residential areas of older housing around the harbor, such as Fells Point and Federal Hill, have had units renovated and have become popular with new populations. The loss of working-class industrial meant that other parts of the city suffered depopulation.

At the end of the century, Maryland joined with neighboring states to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's aquatic life and seafood industry have been threatened by suburban and waterfront residential development, as well as by fertilizer and livestock waste entering the bay in stormwater runoff, especially from the upper Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

 Baltimore, Maryland

Luciano Mende

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