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A Brief History of Maryland

The English colony of Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore who on March 25, 1634 led the first settlers into this area which would soon become one of the few dominantly Catholic regions among the English colonies in America. The Maryland toleration act was one of the first laws that explicitly tolerated varieties of religion (as long as it was Christian), and is sometimes seen as a precursor to the First Amendment.

Originally, based on an incorrect map, the royal charter granted Maryland the Potomac River and territory northward to the fortieth parallel. This was found to be a problem, because the northern boundary would put Philadelphia, the major city in Pennsylvania, within Maryland. The Calvert family, which controlled Maryland, and the Penn family, which controlled Pennsylvania, engaged two surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, to survey what became known as the Mason-Dixon line which would form the boundary between their two colonies.

St. Marie′s City was the largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of state government until just before the beginning of the 18th century (when the government was moved to Annapolis). The government was moved at about the same time as the persecution of Maryland Catholics by Puritans from Virginia; during the persecutions, all of the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland were burned down. St Marie′s City is now an archaelogical site, with a small tourist center.

Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. See: Annapolis Convention.

Maryland remained largely neutral in the United States Civil War. As it did not secede (in part due to precautions taken by the government in Washington, D.C.), it was not included under the Emancipation Proclamation and retained legal slavery for some years after the Civil War.

Law and Government

As in all fifty states, the head of the executive branch of government is a Governor. The legislative branch is called the General Assembly, and consists of a 47-member Senate and a 141-member House of Delegates. See:List of Maryland Governors.

 

Miscellaneous information

The state bird is the Baltimore Oriole; the state flower is the black-eyed susan; state sport is jousting; state dog is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever; state fish is the rockfish (striped bass); state cat is the calico cat; the state tree is the Wye Oak (a very old White oak, blown down in a storm in 2002); and the state song is "Maryland, My Maryland." Nicknames are "The Old Line State" and "The Free State."

MARYLAND COUNTIES


Charles
Saint Marys
Prince Georges
Calvert
Howard
Anne Arundel
Montgomery
Harford
Baltimore
Carroll
Baltimore City
Allegany
Garrett
Talbot
Queen Annes
Caroline
Kent
Dorchester
Frederick
Washington
Wicomico
Worcester
Somerset
Cecil

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