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Maryland Collection

History Archive - Maryland Collection

Maryland (m?? r?-l?nd), one of the 13 original states of the Union, covers a land surface approximately of 9,860 square miles — about the size of Holland. Its greatest breadth from north to south is 120 miles, and its greatest length from east to west is 196 miles. Mason and Dixon's Line bounds it on the north and east. The eastern shore is the part east of Chesapeake Bay. The western shore reaches from the Chesapeake to the state boundary in Potomac River.

Cecil Calvert — Lord Baltimore — received a grant of Maryland, with parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania, from Charles I in 1632. He named his new possession in honor of Henrietta Maria, queen of England. Leonard Calvert led the first party of emigrants, made up of English gentlemen, their retainers and servants, which landed on the banks of a branch of the Potomac in March, 1634.

The Indians were paid for their land, and never were very troublesome to the colonists. Calvert himself was a Catholic, but people of all beliefs were allowed to worship without persecution. During the civil war in England an engagement was fought at Providence, Md., in 1655, between sympathizers of the two English parties, in which 50 were killed or wounded. This was the first land-battle between Englishspeaking men in America. Maryland was one of the first colonies actively to engage in the Revolutionary War. In the Civil War Maryland, though a slave-holding state, did not secede. Its chief city is Baltimore (population 558,485), which see. Population 1,295,346.

Government. Maryland sends six representatives to Congress. Its general assembly is made up of two houses — the senate and the house of delegates. The capital is Annapolis (population 8,609), the seat of the United States Naval Academy.

Surface. The northwest is rugged and mountainous; the Blue Ridge and other Allegheny ranges cross it from Virginia and West Virginia into Pennsylvania. The center is hilly, the east and southeast low. A line from the mouth of the Susquehanna to Washington will divide the high and low lands into nearly equal parts.

Drainage. On the eastern shore the principal rivers are the Elk, Sassafras, Chester, Choptank and Pocomoke, on the western shore, the Gunpowder, South, Severn, Patapsco, Patuxent and Potomac. The Susquehanna, which traverses both New York and Pennsylvania, crosses Maryland at the head of Chesapeake Bay.

Climate. This body of water has a tempering influence on the climate of the bordering region. The winters are short and rarely severe, and there is no excessive heat in summer.

Minerals. Marl, fine brick-clay, gneiss, granite, limestone, iron and large veins of the finest soft coal are found. Zinc and copper are also mined. Many kinds of marble are quarried, some of them very fine and equal to Italian marbles; the marble used in building the White House came from Maryland.

Forests and Agriculture. Except on the mountains in the west and in the marshes along the eastern coast, the soil is fertile. Pine, chestnut and oak are the main trees, though in the woods there still are hickory and walnut. The peach-orchards cover thousands of acres and canning fruit is a leading industry; Maryland's canned peaches are exported to all parts of the world. The main crop in the peninsula between the Chesapeake and the Potomac is tobacco. Maryland ranks as the seventh state in the growth of tobacco and at one time the crop of Prince George County was the largest in the Union. Corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, hay and fruits are the other leading crops.

Fisheries. Chesapeake Bay abounds in fish, and Maryland bass, white perch, sheepshead, herring and mackerel are excellent. The oyster-beds are of great value, and cover large areas in the ocean inlets. Canvasback ducks and other game-birds are hunted on the shores cf the bay, and here terrapin are found in perfection.

Manufactures. The manufactures exceed $315,000,000 yearly. Iron and steel, shipbuilding, machinery, pig iron, tobacco, cigars, straw hats, millinery and cotton-duck are some of the leading manufactures. There is considerable production of fruit-brandy and distilled spirits; in Allegany County much coal is mined. Maryland ranks fifth among the states in shipbuilding. There are four large plants in and near Baltimore. Twelve miles from this city is a plant which manufactures structural iron and steel.

Transportation. The famous National road was built early in the century for a highway between Baltimore and Ohio. The pioneer Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was organized in 1827. The first American telegraph line was built from Baltimore to Washington in 1844. There are two canals from Cumberland in the west to Washington, 184½ miles, and between Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, 12½ miles. The Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio railroad systems own the greater part of the state's railroads, their mileage being 1,366.07 miles. Sixteen steamship and steamboat lines connect Baltimore with foreign and domestic ports.

Education. Maryland has a good school-system and a number of colleges, among them Washington College, to which George Washington gave $500, and Johns Hopkins University, one of the foremost in the country. Other institutions for higher education include Western Maryland College; St. John's College, Annapolis; Loyola and Morgan Colleges, Baltimore; New Windsor College (Presbyterian) and Rock Hill and St. Charles Colleges (Roman Catholic).


The New Student's Reference Work (1914)

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