Maryland: History & Facts

Instructor: Jeremy Battista
Maryland, the border between the northern and southern states in the US is rich in history. We look at an overview of the state and some important history here.


Before the colonizing of the New World, the area that is Maryland would have been home to any number of Native American tribes. Many of these tribes lived mainly unmolested for thousands of years. As European settlers came to North America, they would have slowly but surely taken land from the natives and drove them further inland, or simply converted them to their religion. Unfortunately for the natives, the Europeans also brought European diseases that would wipe out large numbers of Native Americans.


The first Europeans to arrive in Maryland and stake claim, creating one of the first colonies there, would have been the English in 1634. Before this, Maryland had been explored and mapped out by the French under Giovanni de Verrazzano in 1524 and again in 1608 by John Smith of the English. Estêvão Gomes and Diego Gutiérrez, also explored the area in 1562, hoping to create a Spanish mission there.

The first real province was in 1634 under Leonard Calvert. He started the colony by establishing a city as St. Mary's City. This became the capital of the colony until 1695 when Annapolis was established as the capital.

At the start of the Revolutionary War, Maryland did not want the war. Once the war was over and the colonies were voting on the Articles of Confederation, Maryland was the last of the colonies to ratify it. They refused to vote until after New York and Virginia took back claims to territory that was in dispute. Once this occurred, Maryland became the final vote in the ratification process.

From November 26, 1783, to June 3, 1784, Annapolis served as the capital of the United States of America before Washington, DC was voted as the capital.

Civil War Era Maryland

Here we see an artist

During the War of 1812, Maryland was a point of contention. One of the most famous battles occurred with the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British naval forces. Francis Scott Key wrote his famous poem, The Star Spangled Banner, which as any American knows became the National Anthem of the United States.

Prior to the American Civil War, about half of the slaves in Maryland had already been set free. As a result, Maryland stayed in the Union and saw many battles during the war being it literally was on the border of the north and the south. One of the places that saw much of the fighting was Baltimore.

In fact, there were a number of uprisings in Baltimore that were successfully and swiftly crushed via the Union Army. A regiment of soldiers was stationed on a nearby hill overlooking the city and told to level the city if in fact Southern soldiers overwhelmed law enforcement there. Fortunately for the city, that never came about and Baltimore continued to exist and thrive.

Besides Baltimore, many other regions in Maryland were under attack. One battle, the Battle of Antietam was considered a turning point in the war, essentially halting Robert E. Lee's advance northward. The battle itself was brutal and widely considered a draw when looking at the actual battle itself but it is classified as a Union victory. General George McClellan was able to successfully stop the Confederate Army, which allowed President Lincoln to declare his Emancipation Proclamation. The victory also helped stop France and Great Britain from recognizing the legitimacy of the confederacy, something that could have spelled doom for the county.

Modern Maryland

In the early 1900s, like many other states, Maryland worked hard to gain access to free elections as well as improve the working conditions for all workers. It worked to help a middle class gain more access to jobs based on their skill rather than who they knew. Maryland even became the first state to create a worker's compensation law that took effect in 1910.

The flag of Maryland.
Flag of Maryland

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