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History >> US Geography >> US State History

Maryland

State History

Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived in Maryland the land was inhabited by Native Americans. Most of the Native Americans spoke the Algonquian language. They lived in domed wigwam homes made from tree branches, bark, and mud. The men hunted deer and turkey, while the women farmed corn and beans. Some of the larger Native American tribes in Maryland were the Nanticoke, the Delaware, and Piscataway.

Fall colors in Maryland
Deep Creek Lake
from Maryland Office of Tourism Development


Europeans Arrive

Early European explorers such as Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and John Smith in 1608 sailed along Maryland's coastline. They mapped the area and reported back to Europe of their findings. In 1631, the first European settlement was established by English fur trader William Claiborne.

Colonization

In 1632, English King Charles I gave George Calvert a royal charter for the colony of Maryland. George died shortly after, but his son Cecil Calvert inherited the land. Cecil Calvert's brother, Leonard, led a number of settlers to Maryland in 1634. They sailed on two ships called the Ark and the Dove. Leonard wanted Maryland to be a place where people could worship religion freely. They established the town of St. Mary's, which would be the capital of the colony for many years.

In the coming years the colony grew. As the colony grew, the Native American tribes were pushed out or died from diseases such as smallpox. There were also clashes between the different religious groups that settled the area, primarily between the Catholics and the Puritans. In 1767, the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled by two surveyors named Mason and Dixon. This border became known as the Mason-Dixon Line.


A farm in Maryland
Carroll County Maryland
from the US Department of Agriculture

American Revolution

In 1776, Maryland joined with the other American colonies in declaring their independence from Britain. Few battles were fought in Maryland, but many men joined the Continental Army and fought. Maryland soldiers were known for being brave fighters and were given the nickname the "Maryland Line" and were referred to by George Washington as his "Old Line." This is how Maryland got the nickname "The Old Line State."

Becoming a State

After the war, Maryland ratified the new United States Constitution and was the seventh state to join the Union on April 28, 1788.

War of 1812

Maryland was also involved in the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. Two major battles occurred. The first was a defeat in which the British captured Washington D.C. in the Battle of Bladensburg. The other was a victory where the British fleet was held off from capturing Baltimore. It was during this battle, when the British were bombarding Fort McHenry, that Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner which later became the national anthem.

Civil War

During the Civil War, despite being a slave state, Maryland remained on the side of the Union. The people of Maryland were split, however, on which side to support and men from Maryland fought on both sides of the war. One of the major battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Antietam, was fought in Maryland. It was the bloodiest single day battle in American history with over 22, 000 casualties.


Skyline of Baltimore at night
Baltimore's Inner Harbor by Old man gnar

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Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





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