Maryland History - the history of Maryland
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Maryland   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Maryland History

   
 

Maryland History


Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is today Maryland was inhabited by various Native American peoples. When Europeans arrived in the early 17th century, these included the Accohannock and Powhatan on Maryland's Western shore, and Nanticoke on the eastern shore. However, the Native American peoples were relatively quickly pushed out of the state, with the last tribe, the Shawnee, leaving in the 1740s.

The first European explorers to reach Maryland where various expeditions under English, French and Spanish flags in the 16th century, however no permanent settlements were established until the following century.

In 1632, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (whose coat of arms appears on the Maryland flag) applied to King Charles I of England for a royal charter to establish a new province. George Calvert died before the charter could be granted, and the charter was instead granted to his son, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore later that same year. The first settlers, led by Cecil Calvert's younger brother, Leonard, departed from England in 1633, and landed on March 25th 1634 (a date that is still commemorated in the state each year as "Maryland Day").

The new colony of Maryland was named after Henrietta Maria, the Queen consort of Charles I. The goal of the colony was to establish a safe haven for English Catholics (the Calverts themselves were Catholic), as well as to turn a profit. As a result, Maryland soon became one of only a handful of predominately Catholic regions in the English colonies in America. This was not without controversy: there were serious anti-Catholic revolts, which resulted in the temporary overthrow of the Calvert family in 1644 to 1646, and 1650 to 1658.

One interesting aspect of early Maryland history, is that the royal charter was based on an incorrect map that would have put Pennsylvania's major city of Philadelphia within Maryland. In 1750, the Penn family (who controlled Pennsylvania) and the Calvert family, agreed to engage two surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey a new boundary between the two colonies, which was named the Mason-Dixon line. Seventy years later, this line would become very important as a result of the Missouri Compromise of 1820: the expansion of slavery in the United States was only permitted South of this line.

During the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), Maryland, like many other colonies, was at first reluctant to split from Britain. Although no major battles took place within Maryland, the state did contribute important troops to the Continental Army, and it is probably from this contribution that the state gets the nickname "Old Line State". Additionally, the Continental Congress met for a few months in Baltimore in 1776 to 1777, and Annapolis also served as the US capital for just over seven months in 1783 to 1784.

Following the American Revolution the establishment of new permanent national capital was one of the first issues for the new government to address. A number of candidate cities were considered including Annapolis, but eventually it was decided to build a new capital (Washington D.C.). Maryland ceded approximately 61 square miles and Virginia approximately 39 square miles, to the federal government for this purpose (although Virginia's contribution was returned in 1846).

During the War of 1812, Maryland was the scene of two important battles. In 1814, the British defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, and as result were able to capture Washington D.C. and burn many of the public buildings. The British navy also bombarded Fort McHenry (which defended Baltimore for 25 hours, but were unable to force its surrender: events there inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" which was later to become the United States' national anthem.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Maryland found itself in a difficult position as both a slave state and one of the border states that straddled both North and South. There was considerable popular support for the Confederate cause, but Maryland did not secede from the Union thanks to swift and firm action by Abraham Lincolm, and the eventual support of Governor Thomas H. Hicks (who had initially favored neutrality and preventing Union troops from crossing the state). Maryland would eventually provide about 25,000 troops for the Confederacy (mostly serving in the Army of North Virginia), and about 60,000 men for the Union (mostly serving garrison duty within the state).

Maryland was crossed by troops of both sides during the Civil War. The most important battle occurring in the state being the Battle of Antienam, which was fought on September 17th 1862 near Sharpsburg. The battle, fought between about 87,000 men on the Union side and 40,000 on the Confederate side, although tactically a draw, effectively ended Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North.

One of the most noteable events of the 20th century that took place in Maryland, was the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. The fire burned for over 30 hours on February 7th and February 8th, and destroyed more than 1,526 buildings across 70 city blocks. As a result of the fire, more than 35,000 people were left unemployed.

Like many former slave states, Maryland struggled with civil rights issues for long after the Civil War. For example, in the early 20th century there was several legislative attempts to disenfranchise African-Americans using property qualifications. On a brighter note, the 1935 case of Murray v. Pearson et al resulted in the integration of the University of Maryland Law School. This was the first time that any court had overturned the 1896 Supreme Court decision (Plessy v. Ferguson) approving racial segregation according to the "separate but equal" doctrine (although this particular new ruling had no authority outside Maryland).


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Your Maryland: Little-Known Histories from the Shores of the Chesapeake to the Foothills of the Allegheny Mountains

By Ric Cottom

Johns Hopkins University Press
Paperback (256 pages)

Your Maryland: Little-Known Histories from the Shores of the Chesapeake to the Foothills of the Allegheny Mountains
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Four centuries of Maryland’s history in one colorful and dramatic volume.

"Good evening, I’m Ric Cottom. Welcome to Your Maryland." Since 2002, when he first delivered his now-classic radio segment on Maryland history, Ric Cottom has narrated hundreds of little-known human interest stories. Collected here are 72 of his favorite on-air pieces, enhanced with beautiful papercut illustrations by Baltimore artist Annie Howe. From accused witches and the murderous career of gunsmith John Dandy through tales of Johnny U and the greatest game ever played, Your Maryland covers nearly four centuries of the Free State’s heroes and scoundrels.

Entertaining listeners of all ages while sparking their interest in the past, Cottom’s beloved Your Maryland is a unique blend of carefully researched regional history and narrative nonfiction. He deftly emphasizes the human dimension of Maryland’s colorful past: its athletes (two- and four-legged), beautiful spies, brilliant writers, misunderstood pirates, and ghosts. All of that color, suspense, and humor―as well as the author’s unusual talent for discovering interesting historical facts and personages―is part of your Maryland.

Maryland: A History

By Suzanne Ellery Chapelle, Jean H. Baker, Edward C. Papenfuse & Gregory A. Stiverson

Johns Hopkins University Press
Released: 2018-09-16
Paperback (384 pages)

Maryland: A History
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An engaging and accessible introductory history of the people, places, culture, and politics that shaped Maryland.

In 1634, two ships carrying a small group of settlers sailed into the Chesapeake Bay looking for a suitable place to dwell in the new colony of Maryland. The landscape confronting the pioneers bore no resemblance to their native country. They found no houses, no stores or markets, churches, schools, or courts, only the challenge of providing food and shelter. As the population increased, colonists in search of greater opportunity moved on, slowly spreading and expanding the settlement across what is now the great state of Maryland.

In Maryland, historians recount the stories of struggle and success of these early Marylanders and those who followed to reveal how people built modern Maryland. Originally published in 1986, this new edition has been thoroughly revised and updated. Spanning the years from the 1600s to the beginning of Governor Larry Hogan’s term of office in January 2015, the book more fully fleshes out Native American, African American, and immigrant history. It also includes completely new content on politics, arts and culture, business and industry, education, the natural environment, and the role of women as well as notable leaders in all these fields.

Maryland is heavily illustrated, with nearly two hundred photographs and illustrations (more than half of them in full color), as well as related maps, charts, and graphs, many of which are new to this book. An extensive index and a comprehensive Further Reading section provide extremely useful tools for readers looking to engage more deeply with Maryland history. Touching on major figures from George Calvert to Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to William Donald Schaefer, this book takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the history of the Free State. It should be in every library and classroom in Maryland.

Maryland, A Middle Temperament: 1634-1980 (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf)

By Robert J. Brugger

Brand: Johns Hopkins University Press
Paperback (864 pages)

Maryland, A Middle Temperament: 1634-1980 (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf)
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Explores the ironies, contradictions, and compromises that give "America's oldest border state"its special character.

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Maryland: A Middle Temperament explores the ironies, contradictions, and compromises that give "America's oldest border state" its special character. Extensively illustrated and accompanied by bibliography, maps, charts, and tables, Robert Brugger's vivid account of the state's political, economic, social, and cultural heritage―from the outfitting of Cecil Calvert's expedition to the opening of Baltimore's Harborplace―is rich in the issues and personalities that make up Maryland's story and explain its "middle temperament."

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

By Earl Swift

Dey Street Books
Released: 2018-08-07
Hardcover (448 pages)

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island
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A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction.

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Washington Post, NPR, Outside, Smithsonian, Bloomberg, Science Friday, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Review of Books, and Kirkus 

"BEAUTIFUL, HAUNTING AND TRUE." — Hampton Sides •  “GORGEOUS. A TRULY REMARKABLE BOOK.” — Beth Macy • "GRIPPING. FANTASTIC." — Outside • "CAPTIVATING." — Washington Post • "POWERFUL." — Bill McKibben • "VIVID. HARROWING AND MOVING." — Science • "A MASTERFUL NARRATIVE." — Christian Science Monitor  "THE BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR."  — Stephen L. Carter/Bloomberg

A Washington Post bestseller • An Indie Next List selection • An NPR All Things Considered and Axios "Book Club" pick

Tangier Island, Virginia, is a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud is home to 470 hardy people who live an isolated and challenging existence, with one foot in the 21st century and another in times long passed. They are separated from their countrymen by the nation’s largest estuary, and a twelve-mile boat trip across often tempestuous water—the same water that for generations has made Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world.

Yet for all of its long history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. The very water that has long sustained it is erasing the island day by day, wave by wave. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and still its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning this storied place will likely succumb first among U.S. towns to the effects of climate change. Experts reckon that, barring heroic intervention by the federal government, islanders could be forced to abandon their home within twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the graves of their forebears are being sprung open by encroaching tides, and the conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times.   

Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways. What emerges is the poignant tale of a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a leading-edge report on the coming fate of countless coastal communities.

The Ma & Pa: A History of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad

By George W. Hilton

Brand: Johns Hopkins University Press
Paperback (248 pages)

The Ma & Pa: A History of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad
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Affectionately known as the "Ma & Pa," the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad was one of the country's longest running and best known "archaic" railroads, holding on to steam locomotion and other outmoded technologies well into the twentieth century. Connecting Baltimore and York, the line had everything needed to endear itself to local residents and rail enthusiasts: picturesque equipment, marvelous scenery, antique passenger trains, handsome small-scale locomotives, and enough curves―476―for a railroad many times longer than its 77 miles. All this made the Ma & Pa one of the most popular prototypes for model railroaders, George Hilton notes, and thousands of miniature versions of the line became part of model railroads throughout the world. This new paperback edition of Hilton's classic history includes a new introduction and epilogue in which the author recalls the line's final years of service. He also comments on the continuing interest of modelers, enthusiasts, and all who fondly remember the Ma & Pa.

Plantations, Slavery and Freedom on Maryland's Eastern Shore (American Heritage)

By Jacqueline Simmons Hedberg

The History Press
Released: 2019-01-21
Paperback (160 pages)

Plantations, Slavery and Freedom on Maryland s Eastern Shore (American Heritage)
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African Americans, both enslaved and free, were vital to the economy of the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War. Maryland became a slave society in colonial days when tobacco ruled. Some enslaved people, like Anthony Johnson, earned their freedom and became successful farmers. After the Revolutionary War, others were freed by masters disturbed by the contradiction between liberty and slavery. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman ran from masters on the Eastern Shore and devoted their lives to helping other enslaved people with their words and deeds. Jacqueline Simmons Hedberg uses local records, including those of her ancestors, to tell a tale of slave traders and abolitionists, kidnappers and freedmen, cruelty and courage.

Beer in Maryland: A History of Breweries Since Colonial Times

By Maureen O’'Prey

McFarland & Company
Released: 2018-02-19
Paperback (362 pages)

Beer in Maryland: A History of Breweries Since Colonial Times
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This history begins with the earliest brewers in the colony--women--revealing details of the Old Line State's brewing families and their methods. Stories never before told trace the effects of war, competition, the Industrial Revolution, Prohibition and changing political philosophies on the brewing industry. Some brewers persevered through crime, scandal and intrigue to play key roles in building their communities.
Today's craft brewers face a number of very different challenges, from monopolistic macro breweries and trademark quandaries to hop shortages, while attempting to establish their own legacies.

The National Road in Maryland (Images of America)

By Robert P. Savitt

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2019-11-11
Paperback (128 pages)

The National Road in Maryland (Images of America)
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The 200-year-old National Road is often referred to as "The Main Street of America." It was the nation's first federally funded highway and eventually passed through more than 25 cities and towns in Maryland. The 33-mile Maryland portion of the original road was linked with privately constructed turnpikes to extend it to 170 miles in the state. In its early days, the National Road thrived as it helped to open the American West to settlement and commerce. With the rise of railroad transportation in the 1850s, the turnpike became almost obsolete and deteriorated significantly. But the road was rescued in the early 1900s as the increasing popularity of automobile travel led to its revival. In recent years, some of the original structures along the road have been restored, including restaurants, inns, and other commercial establishments. Hostelries and eateries such as the Casselman Inn in Grantsville, the South Mountain Inn between Middletown and Boonsboro, and the Vintage restaurant in New Market draw on their links to the old National Road to attract travelers. Through exhibits and lectures, local civic groups and historical societies continue to memorialize and celebrate the rich history of America's main street--the National Road.

A Guide to Genealogical Research in Maryland

By Henry C. Peden Jr.

Brand: The Maryland Historical Society
Paperback (140 pages)

A Guide to Genealogical Research in Maryland
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This new edition is a comprehensive research guide to all of Maryland’s family history resources, including libraries, archives, historical and genealogical societies. An updated bibliography includes hundreds of the most valuable genealogical book titles as well as available e-mail addresses, web sites, and fax numbers for all the state’s research centers and societies. The Guide is organized into sections such as Vital Records, Church Records, Tax Lists, and Special Finding Aids.

History of Western Maryland Vol. I

By J. Thomas Scharf

Brand: Wildside Press
Paperback (910 pages)

History of Western Maryland Vol. I
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Visiting the six counties of Western Maryland, spending much time in each district, examining ancient newspapers, musty manuscripts, family, church and society records, conversing with the aged inhabitants, and collecting from them orally many interesting facts never before published, and which otherwise, in all probability, would soon have been lost altogether. The first in a two Volume set.


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