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Baltimore's Inner Harbor

The heart of Maryland is Chesapeake Bay. Most of the state is within about 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the bay. The bay is famous for shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and crabs. People all over the country eat shellfish from Chesapeake Bay every day!

Maryland lies on the East Coast of the United States. It was one of the original 13 British colonies. On April 28, 1788, Maryland became the seventh state to join the United States.

Only eight U.S. states are smaller than Maryland. At its narrowest point, Maryland is only about two miles wide!


Facts About Maryland






5,510,000 people

Rank among states in population


Major cities

Baltimore, Frederick, Gaithersburg


12,400 square miles
32,100 square kilometers

Rank among states in area



April 28, 1788, the 7th state

State nickname

The Old Line State

Name for residents


State bird

Baltimore Oriole

State flower

Black-Eyed Susan

State tree

White Oak




Eastern Maryland, on the eastern side of Chesapeake Bay, forms part of the Delmarva Peninsula. Off the coast of the peninsula you’ll find Assateague Island National Seashore. The island is home to wild ponies and lots of waterfowl.

Maryland’s capital and its largest city both lie on Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis is the capital of Maryland. The U.S. Naval Academy is located in Annapolis. Most U.S. Navy officers are graduates of the academy. Baltimore is the state’s biggest city and the industrial, financial, and cultural center of Maryland.


Nearly half of Maryland’s residents live in and around Baltimore. Its location on Chesapeake Bay has made the city one of the busiest ports on the East Coast.

If you visit Baltimore, there are plenty of things to do. You like baseball? Then go see a game in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Baltimore Orioles play there. The park is considered one of the best ballparks in all of baseball.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor along Chesapeake Bay is a popular area of shops and restaurants. The Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium are both located in the Inner Harbor.

The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery lie just north of the Inner Harbor. The Maryland Historical Society also has a museum in Baltimore. If you like music, the city has both a symphony and an opera company.

Horses are bred in Maryland. The state is home to numerous racetracks. The Preakness Stakes is held each year at Pimlico Park in Baltimore. This race is the third jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, along with the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.


Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, borders on Maryland. It is the only American city that is not part of a state. But the land on which Washington, D.C., stands was once part of Maryland. In 1790, this land was set aside to become the capital of the new country.

The capital has a big influence on Maryland. Several government buildings are located in Maryland. Many national leaders and government workers live in Maryland but work in Washington, D.C.

Presidents often go to northern Maryland when they want to get away from the capital. Camp David, located on Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain, is a special retreat for the president. The president can work, relax, or greet foreign officials there.


“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national song, or anthem, of the United States. You’ve surely heard it. It begins “Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.…” The “Star-Spangled Banner” was written in Maryland!

During the War of 1812, British ships bombarded Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and poet from Baltimore, watched the 25-hour bombardment. When morning came, the American flag—the star-spangled banner—was still flying over the fort!

Key was so moved he wrote a poem about the flag. Later he set the poem to the music of another song. In 1931, the United States Congress made the “Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem of the United States.


In 1861, 11 Southern states seceded (broke away) from the United States and formed a separate country, the Confederate States of America. The states of the Confederacy allowed slavery. They seceded because they feared that the country would eventually outlaw slavery. The Confederacy and the remaining United States, also known as the Union, fought a war that lasted four years. This was the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Maryland was one of the states on the border between the Confederacy and the Union during the war. It stayed with the Union, but it had strong ties to the Confederacy. Many Marylanders who owned slaves wanted to join the Confederacy. Others just opposed the war. Things were so restless in Maryland that Union troops had to occupy Baltimore to keep the peace.

Three major Civil War battles were fought in Maryland. The biggest, in September 1862, was the Battle of Antietam. It was the bloodiest single day in the whole war. More than 20,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. Today the area around Antietam Creek is a national battlefield.

 Source: Microsoft ® Encarta