Maryland () is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. 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 the 9th smallest state by area, but the 19th most populous and the 5th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state's most populated city is Baltimore. Its capital is Annapolis. It was named after Queen Henrietta Maria.
Maryland has an area of and is comparable in overall area with the European country of Belgium (). It is the 42nd largest/9th smallest state, and is closest in size to Hawaii (), the next smallest state. The next largest state, Maryland's neighbor West Virginia, is almost twice the size of Maryland ().
Maryland possesses a variety of topography, hence 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 bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forest in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the mountains to the west. Physical regions of Maryland. Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, largest estuary in the United States and the largest water feature in Maryland.
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 on the Maryland side by Washington, D.C., which sits on land that was originally part of Maryland. 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 actually been used by Massachusetts for a long time.
The highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of , is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia and near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac River. Close to the small town of Hancock, in western Maryland, about two-thirds of the way across the state, there is only between its borders. This geographical curiosity makes Maryland the narrowest state, bordered by the Mason-Dixon Line to the north, and the northwards-arching Potomac River to the south.
Portions of Maryland are included in various official and unofficial geographic regions. For example, the Delmarva Peninsula is composed of the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland, the entire state of Delaware, and the two counties that make up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, whereas the westernmost counties of Maryland are considered part of Appalachia. Much of the Baltimore Washington corridor lies just south of the Piedmont in the Coastal Plain, though it straddles the border between the two regions.
A quirk of the geography of Maryland is the absence of any natural lakes, though there are numerous ponds. During the latter Ice Ages, the glaciers did not reach as far south as Maryland, and therefore they did not carve out the deep natural lakes that exist in states farther north. There are numerous man-made lakes, the largest of these being the Deep Creek Lake, a reservoir in Garrett County in westernmost Maryland. The lack of a glacial history also accounts for Maryland's soil, which is sandier and muddier than the rocky soils farther to the north and northeast.
The majority of Maryland's population is concentrated in the cities and suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C., and also in and around Maryland's most populous city, Baltimore. Historically, these and many other Maryland cities developed along the Fall Line, the line along which rivers, brooks, and streams are interrupted by rapids and/or waterfalls. Maryland's capital city, Annapolis, is one exception to this pattern, since it lies along the banks of the Severn River, close to where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
The other population centers of Maryland include suburban areas of Columbia in Howard County; Silver Spring, Rockville, and Gaithersburg in Montgomery County; Laurel, College Park, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Landover, Clinton, Bowie, and Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County; Frederick in Frederick County; Hagerstown in Washington County; Waldorf in Charles County; Pikesville, Essex, and Towson in Baltimore County; and Glen Burnie and Hanover in Anne Arundel.
The eastern, southern, and western portions of the state tend to be more rural, although they are dotted with cities of regional importance such as Salisbury and Ocean City on the Eastern Shore, Lexington Park and Waldorf in Southern Maryland, and Cumberland in Western Maryland. Geographic regions of Maryland Maryland's history as a border state has led it to exhibit characteristics of both the Northern and Southern regions of the United States. Generally, rural Western Maryland between the West Virginian Panhandle and Pennsylvania has an Appalachian culture; the Southern and Eastern Shore regions of Maryland embody a Southern culture, while densely-populated Central Maryland radiating outward from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. has more in common with that of the Northeast. The U.S. Census Bureau designates Maryland as one of the South Atlantic States, but it is commonly associated with the Mid-Atlantic States and/or Northeastern United States by other federal agencies, the media, and some residents.
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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.
The eastern half of Maryland lies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with very flat topography and very sandy or muddy soil. This region has a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and a short, mild to cool winter. This region includes the cities of Salisbury, Annapolis, Ocean City, and southern and eastern greater Baltimore.
Sunset over a marsh at Cardinal Cove, on the Patuxent River.
Beyond this region lies the Piedmont which lies in the transition between the humid subtropical climate zone and the subtropical highland zone (K ppen Cfb), with hot, humid summers and cool winters where average annual snowfall exceeds and temperatures below 10 F are annual occurrences. This region includes Frederick, Hagerstown, Westminster, Gaithersburg and northern and western greater Baltimore.
Farther into western Maryland, the higher elevations of Allegany County and Garrett County lie in the subtropical highland (K ppen Cfb) zone. Due to their elevation (more typical of the Appalachian mountain region) with milder summers and cool, and snowy winters, far west Maryland has a humid continental climate often similar to that of south-central Pennsylvania, with Cumberland listed as one of the regional cities by Altoona's WTAJ weather center. Cumberland and Oakland have hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters.
Precipitation in the state is characteristic of the East Coast. Annual rainfall ranges from with more in higher elevations. Nearly every part of Maryland receives per month of rain. Average annual snowfall varies from in the coastal areas to over in the western mountains of the state. Maryland's highest recorded temperature is at Cumberland and Frederick both on July 10, 1936 while the coldest recorded temperature is at Oakland on January 13, 1912.
Because of its location near the Atlantic Coast, Maryland is somewhat vulnerable to tropical cyclones, although the Delmarva Peninsula, and the outer banks of North Carolina to the south provide a large buffer, such that a strike from a major hurricane (category 3 or above) is not very likely but is not impossible. More often, Maryland might get the remnants of a tropical system which has already come ashore and released most of its wind energy. Maryland averages around 30 40 days of thunderstorms a year, and averages around six tornado strikes annually.
|Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Maryland cities
The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the state of Maryland As is typical of states on the East Coast, Maryland's plant life is abundant and healthy. A good dose of annual precipitation helps to support many types of plants, including seagrass and various reeds at the smaller end of the spectrum to the gigantic Wye Oak, a huge example of White oak, the state tree, which can grow in excess of tall.
Middle Atlantic coastal forests, typical of the southeastern Atlantic coastal plain, grow around Chesapeake Bay and on the Delmarva Peninsula. Moving west, a mixture of Northeastern coastal forests and Southeastern mixed forests cover the central part of the state. The Appalachian Mountains of western Maryland are home to Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests. These give way to Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests near the West Virginia border.
Many foreign species are cultivated in the state, some as ornamentals, others as novelty species. Included among these are the Crape Myrtle, Italian Cypress, live oak in the warmer parts of the state, and even hardy palm trees in the warmer central and eastern parts of the state. USDA plant hardiness zones in the state range from Zone 5 in the extreme western part of the state to 6 and 7 in the central part, and Zone 8 around the southern part of the coast, the bay area, and parts of metropolitan Baltimore. Invasive plant species, such as kudzu, tree of heaven, multiflora rose, and Japanese stiltgrass, stifle growth of endemic plant life. Maryland's state flower, the Black-eyed Susan, grows in abundance in wild flower groups throughout the state. The state insect, the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly, is not common as it is near the southern edge of its range. 435 species of birds have been reported from Maryland.
A wild Chincoteague Pony on Assateague Island. The state harbors a great number of deer, especially in the woody and mountainous west of the state, and overpopulation can become a problem from year-to-year. Mammals can be found ranging from the mountains in the west to the central areas and include bears, bobcats, foxes, coyote, raccoons, and otters.
There is a population of rare wild horses found on Assateague island. Every year during the last week of July wild horses are captured and waded across a shallow bay for sale at Chincoteague, Virginia. This conservation technique ensures the tiny island is not overrun by the horses.
A purebred animal from Maryland is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog. It was bred specifically for water sports, hunting and search and rescue in the Chesapeake area. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was the first breed recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878. The University of Maryland- Baltimore County (UMBC) bears the Retriever as its mascot.
Maryland's reptile and amphibian population is led by the Diamondback Terrapin turtle, which was adopted as the mascot of University of Maryland, College Park. The state is the territory of the Baltimore Oriole, which is the official state bird and mascot of the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles.
Maryland is one of the most environmentally friendly states in the country. In 2007, Forbes.com rated Maryland as the fifth "Greenest" state in the country behind three of the Pacific States and Vermont. Maryland ranks 40th in total energy consumption nationwide, and it managed less toxic waste per capita than all but six states in 2005. In April 2007 Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) a regional initiative formed by all of the Northeastern states, Washington D.C., and three Canadian provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore]], 1st Proprietor of the Maryland colony. In 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's Avalon colony, applied to Charles I for a new 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 for Catholics in the new world. In addition, he was familiar with the fortunes that had been made in 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, C cilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony was named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England. The specific name given 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.
To try to gain settlers, Maryland used what is known as the headright system, which originated in Jamestown.
On March 25, 1634, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers into this area. 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 one of the key destinations of tens of thousands of English convicts.
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 in fact 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.
A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn's receiving the additional grant of what is now Delaware which previously had been part of Maryland. The dispute remained unresolved for nearly a century, carried on by the descendants of William Penn and Lord Baltimore the Calvert family, which controlled Maryland, and the Penn family, which controlled Pennsylvania. The conflict led to the Cresap's War (also known as the Conojocular War), a border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland, fought in the 1730s. Hostilities erupted in 1730 with a series of violent incidents prompted by disputes over property rights and law enforcement, and escalated through the first half of the decade, culminating in the deployment of military forces by Maryland in 1736 and by Pennsylvania in 1737. The armed phase of the conflict ended in May 1738 with the intervention of King George II, who compelled the negotiation of a cease-fire. A provisional agreement had been established in 1732. Negotiations continued until a final agreement was signed in 1760. The agreement defined Maryland's border with what is now Delaware as well as Pennsylvania. The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was defined as the line of latitude south of the southernmost house of Philadelphia, a line now known as the Mason-Dixon Line. Maryland's border with Delaware was based on a Transpeninsular Line and the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle. An artist's rendering of the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, which inspired the composition of the Star Spangled Banner. After Virginia made Anglicanism the established religion of the colony, numerous Puritans migrated from Virginia to Maryland, and were given land for a settlement called Providence (now Annapolis). In 1650, the Puritans revolted against the proprietary government and set up a new government that outlawed both Catholicism and Anglicanism. In March 1654, the 2nd Lord Baltimore sent an army under the command of Governor William Stone to put down the revolt, which was decisively defeated by a Puritan army near Annapolis in what was to be known as the Battle of the Severn During the persecution of Catholics by the Puritan revolt, all of the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland were burned down. The Puritan revolt lasted until 1658 when the Calvert family regained control of the colony and re-enacted the Toleration Act. However, after England's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, when William of Orange came to the throne and established the Protestant faith in England, Maryland outlawed Catholicism until after the American Revolutionary War. Many wealthy Catholic planters built chapels on their land to practice their religion in relative secrecy.
St. Mary's City was the largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of the colonial government until 1708. St Mary's is now a historical site, with a small tourist center. In 1708, the seat of government was moved to Providence, which had been renamed Annapolis. The city was renamed in honor of Queen Anne in 1694.
Most of the English colonists arrived in Maryland as indentured servants, hiring themselves out as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage. In the early years the line between indentured servants and African slaves or laborers was fluid, and white and black laborers lived and worked together.
Many of the free black families migrated to Delaware, where land was cheaper. As the flow of indentured laborers to the colony decreased with improving economic conditions in England, thousands more slaves were imported and racial caste lines hardened. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco.
Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. On February 2, 1781, Maryland became the 13th state to approve the ratification of the Articles of Confederation which brought into being the United States as a united, sovereign and national state. It also became the seventh state admitted to the U.S. after ratifying the new Constitution. In December 1790, Maryland donated land selected by President George Washington to the federal government for the creation of the new national capital of Washington, D.C. The land was provided from Montgomery and Prince George's counties, as well as from Fairfax County and Alexandria in Virginia; however, the land donated by Virginia was later returned to that state by the District of Columbia retrocession. The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 the single bloodiest day of the American Civil War and all of American military history, with nearly 23,000 casualties. During the War of 1812, the British military attempted to capture the port of Baltimore, which was protected by Fort McHenry. It was during this bombardment that the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key.
As in Delaware, numerous planters in Maryland had freed their slaves in the twenty years after the Revolutionary War. By 1860 Maryland's free black population comprised 49.1% of the total of African Americans in the state. This contributed to the state's remaining loyal to the Union during the American Civil War. In addition, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks temporarily suspended the state legislature, and President Abraham Lincoln had many of its fire eaters arrested prior to its reconvening.
Federal military units arrived in President Street Station and were forced to march through Baltimore where they were attacked by an unruly mob. The incident was the first bloodshed in the Civil War and has been dubbed the "Baltimore riot of 1861". When the telegraph lines to Washington and an iron railbridge were destroyed by the citizens of Baltimore, the federal government was isolated in Washington D.C.. During the fighting between civilians and the soldiers from the 6th Mass. regiment several soldiers were hit by stones and a musket was fired. The soldiers were ordered to march at double time, and it became a running gun battle, with two Union-soldiers shot and killed, while two others, including Corporal Needham, were knocked from the ranks and beaten to death by the enraged mob. Eventually the Union troops reached the safety of Camden Station.
President Lincoln's initial promise not to let more of the northern defenders of the acutely endangered federal capitol march through Baltimore forced a large part of the reinforcement of the capitol to take a slow route by ship.
Of the 115,000 men who joined the military during the Civil War 85,000, or 77%, joined the Union army, while the remainder joined the Confederate Army. To help ensure Maryland's inclusion in the Union, President Lincoln suspended several civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus, an act deemed illegal by Maryland native Chief Justice Roger Taney. Lincoln ordered U.S. troops to place artillery on Federal Hill to threaten the city of Baltimore, and helped ensure the election of a new pro-union governor and legislature. Lincoln went so far as to jail certain pro-South members of the state legislature at Fort McHenry, including the Mayor of Baltimore, George William Brown. The grandson of Francis Scott Key was included in those jailed. The constitutionality of these actions is still debated.
Because Maryland remained in the Union, it was exempted from the anti-slavery provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation (The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to states in rebellion). In 1864 the state held a constitutional convention that culminated in the passage of a new state constitution. Article 24 of that document outlawed the practice of slavery. In 1867 the state extended suffrage to non-white males.
Maryland population distribution The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Maryland was 5,828,289 on July 1, 2011, a 0.95% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
As of 2006, Maryland has an estimated population of 5,615,727, which is an increase of 26,128, or 0.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 319,221, or 6.0%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 189,158 people (that is 464,251 births minus 275,093 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 116,713 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 129,730 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,017 people.
In 2006, 645,744 were counted as foreign born, which represents mainly people from Latin America and Asia. About 4.0% are undocumented (illegal) immigrants. Maryland also has a large Korean American population. In fact, 1.7% are Korean, while as a whole, almost 6.0% are Asian.
Most of the population of Maryland lives in the central region of the state, in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and Washington Metropolitan Area, both of which are part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The Eastern Shore is less populous and more rural, as are the counties of western and southern Maryland.
The two counties of Western Maryland, Allegany and Garrett, are mountainous and sparsely populated, resembling West Virginia more than they do the rest of Maryland.
The center of population of Maryland is located on the county line between Anne Arundel County and Howard County, in the unincorporated town of Jessup.
In terms of race and ethnicity, the state is 58.2% White (54.7% non-Hispanic White alone), 29.4% Black or African American, and 5.5% Asian. Hispanics and Latinos of any race make up 8.2% of the population. The five largest reported ancestries in Maryland are German (15.7%), Irish (11.7%), English (9%), unspecified American (5.8%), and Italian (5.1%).
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Maryland's population as 17.8% African-American and 80.4% non-Hispanic White.
African-Americans form a sizable portion of the state's population nearly 30% in 2010 including many immigrants from Nigeria, particularly the Igbo tribe. Although populous in most of the state, large concentrations of African-American population can be found in Baltimore City, Prince George's County, Charles County, Randallstown, and the southern Eastern Shore. Most of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland are populated by Marylanders of British ancestry, with the Eastern Shore traditionally Methodist and the southern counties Catholic. Western and northern Maryland have large German-American populations. Italians, Poles, Czechs and Greeks are centered mostly in the large city of Baltimore. Hispanics are numerous in Hyattsville/Langley Park, Wheaton, Bladensburg, Riverdale, Gaithersburg and Highlandtown in East Baltimore. Jews are numerous throughout Montgomery County and in Pikesville and Owings Mills northwest of Baltimore. Asian Americans are concentrated in the suburban counties surrounding Washington, D.C., especially evident by a Korean American and Taiwanese American community in Rockville and a Filipino American community in Fort Washington. Amish/Mennonite communities are found in St. Mary's and Garrett counties.
Maryland has one of the largest proportions of racial minorities in the country, trailing only the four minority-majority states.
The Baltimore Basilica was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States. It is considered to be the masterpiece of architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Maryland was founded for the purpose of providing religious toleration of England's Roman Catholic minority. Nevertheless, Parliament later reversed that policy and discouraged the practice of Catholicism in Maryland. Due to immigration patterns, Catholics have not been a majority in Maryland since early Colonial times. Nonetheless, Catholicism is the largest single denomination in Maryland. As of the year 2000, the RCMS reported that the second and third largest denominational groups in Maryland are Mainline Protestant, and Evangelical Protestant. The Catholic Church has the highest number of adherents in Maryland (at 952,389), followed by the United Methodist Church with 297,729 members reported. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion with 241,000 adherents, or 4.3% of the total population. The present religious composition of the state is shown below:
Despite the Protestant majority, Maryland has been prominent in U.S. Catholic tradition, partially because it was intended by George Calvert as a haven for English Catholics. Baltimore was the seat of the first Catholic bishop in the U.S. (1789), and Emmitsburg was the home and burial place of the first American-born citizen to be canonized, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Georgetown University, the first Catholic University, was founded in 1789 in what was then part of Maryland. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Baltimore was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States, and the Archbishop of Baltimore is, albeit without formal primacy, the United States' quasi-primate, and often a Cardinal.
Port of Baltimore The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maryland's gross state product in 2006 was US$257 billion. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland households are currently the wealthiest in the country, with a 2009 median household income of $69,272 which puts it ahead of New Jersey and Connecticut, which are second and third respectively. Two of Maryland's counties, Howard and Montgomery, are the third and tenth wealthiest counties in the nation respectively. Also, the state's poverty rate of 7.8% is the lowest in the country. Per capita personal income in 2006 was US$43,500, 5th in the nation.
As of March 2012, the state's unemployment rate was 6.6%.
Maryland's economic activity is strongly concentrated in the tertiary service sector, and this sector, in turn, is strongly influenced by location. One major service activity is transportation, centered on the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access. The port ranked 17th in the U.S. by tonnage in 2008. Although the port handles a wide variety of products, the most typical imports are raw materials and bulk commodities, such as iron ore, petroleum, sugar, and fertilizers, often distributed to the relatively close manufacturing centers of the inland Midwest via good overland transportation. The port also receives several different brands of imported motor vehicles and is the number two auto port in the U.S.
A second service activity takes advantage of the close location of the center of government in Washington, D.C. and emphasizes technical and administrative tasks for the defense/aerospace industry and bio-research laboratories, as well as staffing of satellite government headquarters in the suburban or exurban Baltimore/Washington area. In addition, many educational and medical research institutions are located in the state. In fact, the various components of The Johns Hopkins University and its medical research facilities are now the largest single employer in the Baltimore area. Altogether, white collar technical and administrative workers comprise 25% of Maryland's labor force, attributable in part to nearby Maryland being a part of the Washington Metro Area where the federal government office employment is relatively high.
Maryland has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab, oysters, striped bass, and menhaden. The Bay also has uncounted millions of overwintering waterfowl in its many wildlife refuges. While not, strictly speaking, a commercial food resource, the waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.
Agriculture is an important part of the state's economy.
Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, though this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization. Agriculture is oriented to dairy farming (especially in foothill and piedmont areas) for nearby large city milksheads plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers, watermelons, sweet corn, tomatoes, muskmelons, squash, and peas (Source:USDA Crop Profiles). In addition, the southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times but declined greatly after a state government buyout in the 1990s. There is also a large automated chicken-farming sector in the state's southeastern part; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms. Maryland's food-processing plants are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state.
Manufacturing, while large in dollar value, is highly diversified with no sub-sector contributing over 20% of the total. Typical forms of manufacturing include electronics, computer equipment, and chemicals. The once mighty primary metals sub-sector, which at one time included what was then the largest steel factory in the world at Sparrows Point, still exists, but is pressed with foreign competition, bankruptcies, and company mergers. During World War II the Glenn L. Martin Company (now part of Lockheed Martin) airplane factory near Essex, MD employed some 40,000 people.
Mining other than construction materials is virtually limited to coal, which is located in the mountainous western part of the state. The brownstone quarries in the east, which gave Baltimore and Washington much of their characteristic architecture in the mid-19th century, were once a predominant natural resource. Historically, there used to be small gold-mining operations in Maryland, some surprisingly near Washington, but these no longer exist.
Maryland imposes 5 income tax brackets, ranging from 2% to 6.25% of personal income. The city of Baltimore and Maryland's 23 counties levy local "piggyback" income taxes at rates between 1.25% and 3.2% of Maryland taxable income. Local officials set the rates and the revenue is returned to the local governments quarterly. The top income tax bracket of 9.45% is the fifth highest combined state and local income tax rates in the country, behind only New York City's 11.35%, California s 10.3%, Rhode Island s 9.9%, and Vermont s 9.5%. Maryland's state sales tax is 6%. All real property in Maryland is subject to the property tax. Generally, properties that are owned and used by religious, charitable, or educational organizations or property owned by the federal, state or local governments are exempt. Property tax rates vary widely. No restrictions or limitations on property taxes are imposed by the state, meaning cities and counties can set tax rates at the level they deem necessary to fund governmental services. These rates can increase, decrease or remain the same from year to year. If the proposed tax rate increases the total property tax revenues, the governing body must advertise that fact and hold a public hearing on the new tax rate. This is called the Constant Yield Tax Rate process.
Baltimore City is the eighth largest port in the nation, and was at the center of the February 2006 controversy over the Dubai Ports World deal because it was considered to be of such strategic importance. The state as a whole is heavily industrialized, with a booming economy and influential technology centers. Its computer industries are some of the most sophisticated in the United States, and the federal government has invested heavily in the area. Maryland is home to several large military bases and scores of high level government jobs.
Maryland is a major center for life sciences research and development. With more than 400 biotechnology companies located there, Maryland is the fourth-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.
The Maryland Department of Transportation, headquartered in the Hanover area of unincorporated Anne Arundel County, oversees transportation in the state.
Maryland, showing major cities and roads Maryland's Interstate highways include of I-95, which enters the northeast portion of the state, goes through Baltimore, and becomes part of the eastern section of the Capital Beltway to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I-68 runs connecting the western portions of the state to I-70 at the small town of Hancock. I-70 enters from Pennsylvania north of Hancock and continues east for to Baltimore, connecting Hagerstown and Frederick along the way.
I-83 has in Maryland and connects Baltimore to southern central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania). Maryland also has an portion of I-81 that runs through the state near Hagerstown. I-97, fully contained within Anne Arundel County and the second shortest (17.6 miles) one- or two-digit Interstate highway which connects the Baltimore area to the Annapolis area. Hawaii has one that is shorter.
There are also several auxiliary Interstate highways in Maryland. Among them are two beltways encircling the major cities of the region: I-695, the McKeldin (Baltimore) Beltway, which encircles Baltimore; and a portion of I-495, the Capital Beltway, which encircles Washington, D.C. I-270, which connects the Frederick area with Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia through major suburbs to the northwest of Washington, is a major commuter route and is as wide as fourteen lanes at points. Both I-270 and the Capital Beltway are currently extremely congested; however, the ICC or Intercounty Connector (MD 200) is hoped to alleviate some of the congestion over time. Construction of the ICC was a major part of the campaign platform of former Governor Robert Ehrlich, who was in office from 2003 until 2007, and of Governor Martin O'Malley, who succeeded him. I-595, which is concurrent with US 50 and US 301, is the longest unsigned interstate in the country and connects Prince George's County and Washington D.C. with Annapolis and the Eastern Shore via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Maryland also has a state highway system that contains routes numbered from 2 through 999, however most of the higher-numbered routes are either not signed or are relatively short. Major state highways include Routes 2 (Governor Ritchie Highway/Solomons Island Road/Southern Maryland Blvd.), 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue/Southern Maryland Blvd./Patuxent Beach Road/St. Andrew's Church Road), 5 (Branch Avenue/Leonardtown Road/Point Lookout Road), 32, 45 (York Road), 97 (Georgia Avenue), 100 (Paul T. Pitcher Memorial Highway), 210 (Indian Head Highway), 235 (Three Notch Road), 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway), 355 (Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville Pike/Frederick Road), 404 (Queen Anne Highway/ Shore Highway), and 650 (New Hampshire Avenue).
Maryland's largest airport is Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (known as Friendship Airport from its construction in 1950 and renamed in 2005 for Baltimore-born former and first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall). The only other airports with commercial service are at Hagerstown and Salisbury. The Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. are also serviced by the other two airports in the region, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport, both in Northern Virginia. The College Park Airport is the nation's oldest, founded in 1909, and is still utilized. Wilbur Wright trained military aviators at this location.
Amtrak trains, including the high speed Acela Express serve Baltimore's Penn Station, BWI Airport, New Carrollton, and Aberdeen along the Washington D.C. to Boston Northeast Corridor. In addition, train service is provided to Rockville and Cumberland by Amtrak's Washington, D.C., to Chicago Capitol Limited. MARC commuter trains, operated by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), connect nearby Washington, D.C., Frederick, Baltimore, and intermediate towns. The WMATA Washington Metro rapid transit/subway and bus system serves Montgomery and Prince George's counties, as well as BWI Airport. The MTA's Light Rail and Metro Subway systems serve Baltimore City and adjacent suburbs.
Freight rail transport is handled principally by two Class I railroads, as well as several smaller regional and local carriers. CSX Transportation has more extensive trackage throughout the state, with , followed by Norfolk Southern Railway. Major rail yards are located in Baltimore and Cumberland, with an intermodal terminal (rail, truck and marine) in Baltimore.
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is a canal on the Eastern Shore that connects the waters of the Delaware River with those of the Chesapeake Bay, and in particular with the Port of Baltimore, carrying 40 percent of the port's ship traffic.
Law and government
The reverse side of the Maryland quarter shows the dome of the State House in Annapolis. The government of Maryland is conducted according to the state constitution. The government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United States.
Power in Maryland is divided among three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The Maryland General Assembly is composed of the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. Maryland's governor is unique in the United States as the office is vested with significant authority in budgeting. The legislature may not increase the governor's proposed budget expenditures. Unlike most other states, significant autonomy is granted to many of Maryland's counties.
Most of the business of government is conducted in Annapolis, the state capital. Virtually all state and county elections are held in even-numbered years not divisible by four, in which the President of the United States is not elected this, as in other states, is intended to divide state and federal politics.
The judicial branch of state government consists of one united District Court of Maryland that sits in every county and Baltimore City, as well as 24 Circuit Courts sitting in each County and Baltimore City, the latter being courts of general jurisdiction for all civil disputes over $30,000.00, all equitable jurisdiction and major criminal proceedings. The intermediate appellate court is known as the "Court of Special Appeals" and the state supreme court is the "Court of Appeals". The appearance of the judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals is unique in that Maryland is the only state whose judges wear red robes.
Since before the Civil War, Maryland's elections have been largely controlled by the Democrats, even as the party's platform has changed considerably in that time. State elections are dominated by Baltimore and the populous suburban counties bordering Washington, D.C.: Montgomery and Prince George's. Forty-three percent of the state's population resides in these three jurisdictions, each of which contain large, traditionally Democratic voting bloc(s): African Americans in Baltimore and Prince George's, federal employees in Prince George's and Montgomery, and postgraduates in Montgomery. The remainder of the state, particularly Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, is more supportive of Republicans.
Spiro Agnew, former Vice President of the United States and the highest-ranking political leader from Maryland since the founding of the United States.
Maryland has supported the Democratic nominee in each of the last five presidential elections, by an average margin of 15.4%. In 1980, it was one of only six states to vote for Jimmy Carter. Maryland has been among the Democratic nominees' best states. In 1992, Bill Clinton fared better in Maryland than any other state except his home state of Arkansas. In 1996, Maryland was Clinton's sixth best, in 2000 Maryland ranked fourth for Gore and in 2004 John Kerry showed his fifth best performance in Maryland.
Barack Obama won the state's 10 electoral votes in 2008 with 61.9% of the vote to John McCain's 36.5%. Both of Maryland's U.S. Senators and six of its eight Representatives in Congress are Democrats, and Democrats hold supermajorities in the state Senate and House of Delegates. The previous Governor, Robert Ehrlich, was the first Republican to be elected to that office in four decades, and after one term lost his seat to Baltimore Mayor Martin J. O'Malley, a Democrat. Ehrlich ran again for Governor in 2010, losing again to O'Malley.
U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD-5), a Democrat, was elected as Majority Leader for the 110th Congress of the House of Representatives, and 111th Congress, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011. His district covers parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties, in addition to all of Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties in southern Maryland.
The 2006 election brought no significant change in this pattern of Democratic dominance. After Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes announced that he was retiring, Democratic Congressman Benjamin Cardin defeated Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele, with 55% of the vote, against Steele's 44%. The governorship was also a point of interest, as Republican incumbent Robert Ehrlich was defeated by Democratic challenger Martin O'Malley, the Mayor of Baltimore, 53% to 46%.
While Maryland is a Democratic Party stronghold, perhaps its best known political figure is a Republican former Governor Spiro Agnew, who served as United States Vice President under Richard Nixon. He was Vice President from 1969 to 1973, when he resigned in the aftermath of revelations that he had taken bribes while he was Governor of Maryland. In late 1973, a court found Agnew guilty of violating tax laws.
In 2010 Republicans won control of most counties. The Democratic Party remained in control of eight county governments including Baltimore City.
Primary and secondary education
Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland's largest university.
Public primary and secondary education in Maryland is overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education, which is headquartered in Baltimore. The highest educational official in the state is the State Superintendent of Schools, currently Dr. Nancy Grasmick, who is appointed by the State Board of Education to a four-year term of office. The Maryland General Assembly has given the Superintendent and State Board autonomy to make educationally related decisions, limiting its own influence on the day to day functions of public education. Each county and county-equivalent in Maryland has a local Board of Education charged with running the public schools in that particular jurisdiction.
The budget for education was $5.5 billion in 2009, representing about 40% of the state's general fund.
Maryland has a broad range of private primary and secondary schools. Many of these are affiliated with various religious sects, including parochial schools of the Catholic Church, Quaker schools, Seventh-day Adventist schools, and Jewish schools. In 2003, Maryland law was changed to allow for the creation of publicly funded charter schools, although the charter schools must be approved by their local Board of Education and are not exempt from state laws on education, including collective bargaining laws.
In 2008, the state led the entire country in the percentage of students passing Advanced Placement examinations. 23.4 percent of students earned passing grades on the AP tests given in May 2008. This marks the first year that Maryland earned this honor. Three Maryland high schools (in Montgomery County) were ranked among the top 100 in the country based on these test scores.
Colleges and universities
Maryland has several historic and renowned private colleges and universities, the most prominent of which is Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876 with a grant from Baltimore entrepreneur Johns Hopkins.
The first public university in the state is the University of Maryland, Baltimore, which was founded in 1807 and contains the University of Maryland's only public academic health, human services, and law center. Seven professional and graduate schools train the majority of the state's physicians, nurses, dentists, lawyers, social workers, and pharmacists. The largest undergraduate institution in Maryland is the University of Maryland, College Park which was founded as the Maryland Agricultural College in 1856 and became a public land grant college in 1864. Towson University, founded in 1866, is the state's second largest university. Baltimore is home to the Maryland Institute College of Art. The majority of public universities in the state are affiliated with the University System of Maryland. Two state-funded institutions, Morgan State University and St. Mary's College of Maryland, as well as two federally funded institutions, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the United States Naval Academy, are not affiliated with the University System of Maryland.
St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, both private institutions, are the two oldest colleges in the state, and are among the oldest in the country. Other private institutions include Mount St. Mary's University, McDaniel College (formerly known as Western Maryland College), Hood College, Stevenson University (formerly known as Villa Julie College), Loyola University Maryland, and Goucher College, among others.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards With two major metropolitan areas, Maryland has a number of major and minor professional sports franchises. Two National Football League teams play in Maryland, the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore City and the Washington Redskins in Landover. The Baltimore Orioles are the state's Major League Baseball franchise, with the Washington Nationals located nearby in Washington, D.C. The National Hockey League's Washington Capitals and the National Basketball Association's Washington Wizards formerly played in Maryland, until the construction of an arena in Downtown D.C. in 1997 (originally known as MCI Center, renamed Verizon Center in 2006). Maryland enjoys considerable historical repute for the talented sports players of its past, including Cal Ripken Jr. and Babe Ruth. In 2012, The Baltimore Sun published a list of Maryland's top ten athletes in the state's history. The list includes Ruth, Ripken, Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Ray Lewis, Michael Phelps, Jimmie Foxx, Jim Parker, and Wes Unseld.
Other professional sports franchises in the state include five affiliated minor league baseball teams, one independent league baseball team, the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team, two indoor football teams, and three low-level outdoor soccer teams. Maryland is also home to one of the three races in horse racing's annual Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, which is run every spring at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The official state sport of Maryland, since 1962, is jousting; the official team sport since 2004 is lacrosse. The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame is located on the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore. In 2008, intending to promote physical fitness for all ages, walking became the official state exercise. Maryland is the first state with an official state exercise.
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