All About Columbia, Maryland Geographic Area
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Maryland i/ˈmɛrɨlənd/ is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. 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 has three occasionally used nicknames: the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State.
Maryland is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, dating back to its earliest colonial days when it was made a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert the first Lord Baltimore, and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant.
Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated states of the United States. Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Although the state is officially claimed to be named after Queen Henrietta Maria, some Catholics believe Maryland was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, by George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore prior to his death in 1632. The original intent may never be known. There is a St. Mary's County in Maryland.
Maryland has an area of 12,406.68 square miles (32,133.2 km2) and is comparable in overall area with the European country of Belgium (11,787 square miles (30,530 km2)). It is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii (10,930.98 square miles (28,311.1 km2)), the next smallest state. The next largest state, its neighbor West Virginia, is almost twice the size of Maryland (24,229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km2)).
Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to 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 Chesapeake Bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forests in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the mountains to the west.
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 by Washington, D.C., which sits on land originally part of Montgomery and Prince George's counties, including the town of Georgetown, Maryland, that was ceded to the Federal Government in 1790 to form the District of Columbia. (The Commonwealth of Virginia gave land south of the Potomac, including the town of Alexandria, Virginia, however Virginia retroceded its portion in 1846). 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 been used by Massachusetts for decades.
The highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 3,360 feet (1,020 m), 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 1.83 miles (2.95 km) 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.
There are no natural lakes, though there are numerous natural 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.
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 70 feet (21 m) 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 Zones 5 and 6 in the extreme western part of the state to Zone 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.
The state harbors a great number of White tailed 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 black 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. The ponies and their sale were popularized by the children's book, Misty of Chincoteague. They are believed to be descended from horses who escaped from shipwrecks.
The purebred Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog was bred specifically for water sports, hunting and search and rescue in the Chesapeake area. In 1878 the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was the first individual retriever breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. and was later adopted by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as their mascot.
Maryland's reptile and amphibian population includes the Diamondback Terrapin turtle, which was adopted as the mascot of University of Maryland, College Park. The state is part of the territory of the Baltimore Oriole, which is the official state bird and mascot of the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles.
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.
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 — which includes the cities of Ocean City, Salisbury, Annapolis, and the southern and eastern suburbs of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore — lies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with flat topography and sandy or muddy soil. This region has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and a short, mild to cool winter; it falls under USDA Hardiness zone 8a.
The Piedmont region — which includes northern and western greater Baltimore, Westminster, Gaithersburg, Frederick, and Hagerstown — has average seasonal snowfall totals generally exceeding 20 inches (51 cm) and, as part of USDA Hardiness zones 7b and 7a, temperatures below 10 °F (−12 °C) are less rare. From the Cumberland Valley on westward, the climate begins to transition to a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa).
In western Maryland, the higher elevations of Allegany and Garrett counties — including the cities of Cumberland, Frostburg, and Oakland — display more characteristics of the humid continental zone, due in part to elevation. They fall under USDA Hardiness zones 6b and below.
Precipitation in the state is characteristic of the East Coast. Annual rainfall ranges from 35 to 45 inches (890 to 1,140 mm) with more in higher elevations. Nearly every part of Maryland receives 3.5–4.5 inches (89–114 mm) per month of rain. Average annual snowfall varies from 9 inches (23 cm) in the coastal areas to over 100 inches (250 cm) in the western mountains of the state.
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 provide a large buffer, such that strikes from major hurricanes (category 3 or above) occur infrequently. More often, Maryland gets the remnants of a tropical system which has already come ashore and released most of its energy. Maryland averages around 30–40 days of thunderstorms a year, and averages around six tornado strikes annually.
Earthquakes in Maryland are infrequent due to its distance[quantify] from tectonic plates and seismic/earthquake zones. The earthquakes that do occur are small, but may be felt over wide areas. The M5.8 Virginia earthquake in 2011 was felt moderately throughout Maryland. Buildings in the state are not well-designed for earthquakes and can suffer damage easily.
In 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's Province of Avalon colony, applied to Charles I for a 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 in the New World for Catholics, free of the persecution that was commonplace in England. He also wanted a share of fortunes, such as those made by the sale of the commodity 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, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony may have been named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England. The name recorded 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 of the Inquisition.
To try to gain settlers, Maryland used what is known as the headright system, which originated in Jamestown. Settlers were given 50 acres of land for each person they brought into the colony, whether as settler, indentured servant or slave.
On November 22, 1633, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers to the new colony, and after a long, rough sea voyage with a stopover to resupply in Barbados, they arrived in what is now Maryland in March of 1634. They made their first permanent settlement in what is now St. Mary's County choosing to settle on a bluff overlooking the St. Mary's river, a relatively calm, tidal tributary to the mouth of the Potomac river where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The site was already a Native American village when they arrived, occupied by members of the Piscataway Indian Nation, but the settlers had with them a former Virginia colonist who was fluent in their language and they met quickly with the paramount chief of the region. He agreed to sell the village to the settlers and ordered the area cleared. He had known of White men from communication with Native tribes to the South and West in Virginia and he was eager to gain technology, like guns and gunpowder, from the new Maryland settlers, and to trade with them as well. And so he came to the settlers shortly after their arrival and reached a treaty with them almost immediately. The new settlement was called "St. Mary's City" and it became the first capitol of Maryland, and remained so for sixty years until 1695.
More settlers soon followed and St. Mary's City quickly began to grow. The tobacco crops that they had planned from the outset were very successful and made the new colony profitable very quickly, although disease was a big killer and many colonists died in the first years until immunities built up in the population. Religious tensions would also come to challenge the colony in significant ways, making the early times very harrowing in spite of the early economic successes.
During the persecution of Catholics in the Puritan revolt, Protestants burned down all of the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland. The Puritan revolt lasted until 1658, when the Calvert family regained control of the colony and re-enacted the Toleration Act.
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 a key destination for transport of tens of thousands of English convicts to work as indentured servants. 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 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.
Maryland was founded for the purpose of providing religious toleration of England's Roman Catholic minority. With the exception of a period of armed conflict for a couple of years in the 1640s, religious tolerance was achieved for 60 years in the Maryland colony. However the English Parliament later reversed that policy and discouraged the practice of Catholicism in Maryland. This was followed by a second Protestant uprising that overthrew Maryland's Catholic leaders and ended the time of tolerance. After this, Catholics lost the right to vote and Catholic immigration to the colony was also penalized and heavily restricted until the 1820s.
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. This lasted until after the American Revolutionary War. Wealthy Catholic planters built chapels on their land to practice their religion in relative secrecy.
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 15 miles (24 km) 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.
After Virginia made Anglicanism the established religion in the colony, numerous Puritans migrated from Virginia to Maryland. They were given land for a settlement called Providence (now Annapolis).
St. Mary's City was the first (besides St. Clement's Island, where the first colonists of Maryland landed) and largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of the colonial government until 1695, when the capitol was moved to Annapolis. St Mary's is now a state-owned archaeological site and museum adjacent to St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Most of the English colonists arrived in Maryland as indentured servants, and had to serve a several years' term as laborers 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 commonly lived and worked together, and formed unions. Mixed-race children born to white mothers were considered free by the principle of partus sequitur ventrem, by which children took the social status of their mothers, a principle of slave law that was adopted throughout the colonies, following Virginia in 1662. During the colonial era, families of free people of color were formed most often by unions of white women and African men.
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, planters in Maryland imported thousands more slaves and racial caste lines hardened. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco as the commodity crop.
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.
Influenced by a changing economy, revolutionary ideals, and preaching by Methodist and Quaker ministers, numerous planters in Maryland freed their slaves in the twenty years after the Revolutionary War. This was a pattern across the Upper South, in which the free black population increased markedly from less than 1% before the war to 14% by 1810. After that, increasing demand in the Deep South, which was developed for cotton plantations, resulted in slaves being sold and transported there from the Upper South, including Maryland.
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 song, "Star Spangled Banner," was written by Francis Scott Key; it was later adopted as the national anthem.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was the first chartered railroad in the United States, and it opened its first section of track for regular operation in 1830, between Baltimore and Ellicott City. In 1852 it became the first rail line to reach the Ohio River from the eastern seaboard. Baltimore's seaport and good railroad connections fostered substantial growth during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Many manufacturing businesses were established in Baltimore and the surrounding area after the Civil War.
By 1860 Maryland's free black population comprised 49% of the total of African Americans in the state. This contributed to the state's remaining loyal to the Union during the Civil War.[discuss]
In addition, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks temporarily suspended the state legislature, and President Abraham Lincoln had a number of its pro-slavery politicians, called "fire eaters," arrested prior to its reconvening. 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 ordered certain pro-South members of the state legislature and other prominent men jailed at Fort McHenry, including the Mayor of Baltimore, George William Brown. Historians continue to debate the constitutionality of these actions taken during the crisis of wartime. The Thomas Viaduct, which crosses the Patapsco River on the B&O Railroad, was considered so strategically important that Union troops were assigned to guard it throughout the entirety of the war.
In April 1861, Federal regular military units and state militia regiments arrived in Baltimore at the President Street Station of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, located east of the "Basin" (Inner Harbor). The troops, headed for Washington, D.C., marched through Baltimore towards the B&O Camden Station to continue their journey, and along the way they were attacked by an unruly mob. The incident, later known as the Baltimore riot of 1861, was the first bloodshed in the Civil War. Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed in the riot.
Of the 115,000 men from Maryland 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. This suspension was later deemed illegal by Chief Justice Roger Taney of the United States Supreme Court, a Maryland native.
The largest and most significant battle fought in the state was the Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg. Although a tactical draw, the Battle of Antietam was considered a strategic Union victory and a turning point of the war.
Because Maryland remained in the Union, it was exempted from the abolition provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which applied only 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 abolished slavery. In 1867, following passage of constitutional amendments that granted voting rights to freedmen, the state extended suffrage to non-white males.
The Democratic Party rapidly regained power in the state and replaced Republicans who had ruled during the war. Support for the Constitution of 1864 ended, and Democrats replaced it with the Maryland Constitution of 1867. Later, following the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Democrats devised various means of disfranchising freedmen and former free blacks, as did all the other states of the former Confederacy, initially by physical intimidation and voter fraud, later by constitutional amendments and laws. But, Maryland blacks were part of a biracial Republican coalition elected to state government in 1896-1904, and comprised 20% of the electorate. Immigrants comprised another major portion and generally also opposed disfranchisement. Both groups resisted later Democratic Party efforts in the state directed at disfranchisement.
Compared to some other states, blacks were better established both before and after the civil war. Nearly half the population was free before the war, and some had accumulated property. Half the population lived in cities, where they had more physical security than in rural areas. Literacy was quite high among blacks and, as Democrats crafted means to exclude them, suffrage campaigns helped reach blacks and teach them how to resist. Whites did impose racial segregation in public facilities and Jim Crow laws, which effectively lasted until passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. They tended to underfund such facilities.
As the industrial revolution swept across the northeast and midwestern United States, Baltimore continued to expand and prosper. Baltimore businessmen, including Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, George Peabody, and Henry Walters, founded notable educational, health care, and cultural institutions in the city, which bear their names, including a university, library, music school and art museum. Major cities attracted European immigrants, particularly Baltimore and its environs, which had many industrial jobs.
Cumberland was Maryland's second-largest city in the 19th century, with ample nearby supplies of coal, iron ore and timber. These resources, along with railroads, the National Road and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, fostered its growth. The city was a major manufacturing center, with industries in glass, breweries, fabrics and tinplate.
The Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought reforms in the political arena and in working conditions for Maryland's labor force. In a series of laws passed between 1892 and 1908, reformers worked for standard state-issued ballots (rather than those distributed and pre-marked by the parties); obtained closed voting booths to prevent party workers from "assisting" voters; initiated primary elections to keep party bosses from selecting candidates; and had candidates listed without party symbols, which discouraged the illiterate from participating. These measures also had the practical effect of working against ill-educated whites and blacks, indirectly disfranchising them. Blacks resisted such efforts, with suffrage groups conducting voter education to teach people how to deal with the new rules. As noted above, in the early 20th century, blacks defeated three efforts by white Democrats to disfranchise them, making alliances with immigrants to do so and finding numerous ways to resist various Democratic campaigns.
The legislature tried to pass disfranchising bills in 1905, 1907, and 1911, but it was rebuffed on each occasion, in large part because of black opposition. Blacks comprised 20% of the electorate. In addition, immigrants comprised 15% of the voting population, and the legislature had difficulty devising requirements against blacks that did not also disadvantage immigrants.
In 1902, the state regulated conditions in mines; outlawed child laborers under the age of 12; mandated compulsory school attendance; and enacted the nation's first workers' compensation law. The workers' compensation law was overturned in the courts, but was redrafted and finally enacted in 1910.
The Great Baltimore Fire of February 8, 1904 was a momentous event for Maryland's largest city and the state as a whole. More than 1,231 firefighters, some coming from cities as far away as New York, worked to bring the blaze under control. The fire burned over 30 hours, destroying 1,526 buildings and spanning 70 city blocks.
The nation's entry into World War I in 1917 brought changes to Maryland. New military bases, such as Camp Meade (now Fort Meade) and the Aberdeen Proving Ground were established in 1917, and the Edgewood Arsenal was founded the following year. Other existing facilities, including Fort McHenry, were greatly expanded.
Maryland's urban and rural communities had different experiences during the Great Depression. In 1932 the "Bonus Army" marched through the state on its way to Washington, D.C. In addition to the nationwide New Deal reforms of President Franklin Roosevelt, which put men to work building roads and park facilities, Maryland also took steps to weather the hard times. For instance, in 1937 the state instituted its first ever income tax to generate revenue for schools and welfare.
Baltimore was a major war production center during World War II. The biggest operations were Bethlehem Steel's Fairfield Yard, which built Liberty ships; and Glenn Martin, an aircraft manufacturer.
Following World War II, Maryland experienced growth in the suburbs, particularly in the region surrounding Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Agricultural tracts gave way to residential communities such as Columbia and Montgomery Village. Concurrently the Interstate Highway System was built throughout the state, most notably I-95 and the Capital Beltway, permanently altering the landscape and travel patterns. In 1952, the eastern and western halves of Maryland were linked for the first time by the long Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which replaced a nearby ferry service. This bridge (and its later, parallel span) increased tourist traffic to Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast, which had a building boom. Soon after, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel allowed long-distance interstate motorists to bypass downtown Baltimore, while the earlier Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge allowed them to bypass Washington, D.C.
In a pattern similar to that of other U.S. cities, heavy manufacturing declined in Baltimore after the war, beginning in the 1950s, with far-reaching, adverse effects for working-class families. Family farms were bought up by major concerns and large-scale, mechanized poultry farms became prevalent on the lower Eastern Shore, along with irrigated vegetable farming. In Southern Maryland, tobacco farming had nearly vanished by the end of the 20th century, due to suburban housing development and a state tobacco incentive buy-out program. Industrial, railroad, and coal mining jobs in the four westernmost counties declined.
Beginning in the 1960s with Charles Center and the Baltimore World Trade Center, the city of Baltimore initiated urban renewal projects. Some resulted in the break-up of intact residential neighborhoods, producing social volatility. In 1980, the opening of Harborplace and the Baltimore Aquarium made the city a significant tourist destination. The popular Camden Yards baseball stadium opened in 1992 in the downtown area. Some residential areas of older housing around the harbor, such as Fells Point and Federal Hill, have had units renovated and have become popular with new populations. The loss of working-class industrial meant that other parts of the city suffered depopulation.
At the end of the century, Maryland joined with neighboring states to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's aquatic life and seafood industry have been threatened by suburban and waterfront residential development, as well as by fertilizer and livestock waste entering the bay in stormwater runoff, especially from the upper Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Maryland was 5,976,407 on July 1, 2014, a 3.51% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
In 2014, Maryland had an estimated population of 5,976,407, which is an increase of 47,593, from the prior year and an increase of 202,855, or 3.51% percent, since 2010. 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.
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 westernmost counties of 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 community of Jessup.
The majority of Maryland's population is concentrated in the cities and suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C., as well as 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 eastern, southern, and western portions of the state tend to be more rural, although they are dotted with cities of regional importance, such as Ocean City, Princess Anne, and Salisbury on the Eastern Shore; Lexington Park, Prince Frederick, and Waldorf in Southern Maryland; and Cumberland, Frostburg, and Hancock in Western 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.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Maryland's population as 17.8 percent African-American and 80.4 percent non-Hispanic White.
As of 2011, 58.0 percent of Maryland's population younger than age 1 were non-white.
African Americans form a sizable portion of the state's population – nearly 30 percent in 2010. Most are descendants of people transported to the area as slaves from West Africa, and many are of mixed race, including European and Native American ancestry.
Large ethnic minorities include Eastern Europeans such as Croatians, Russians and Ukrainians. The shares of European immigrants born in Eastern Europe increased significantly between 1990 and 2000, and again between 2000 and 2010. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, many immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the United States- 12 percent of which currently reside in Maryland. New residents of African descent include 20th-century and later immigrants from Nigeria, particularly of the Igbo and Yoruba tribes. Concentrations of African Americans live in Baltimore City, Prince George's County, a suburb of Washington, DC, where many work; Charles County, Randallstown, and the southern Eastern Shore.
Irish American populations can be found throughout the Baltimore area, and the Northern and Eastern suburbs of Washington D.C. in Maryland (descents of those who moved out to the suburbs of Washington's once predominantly Irish neighborhoods), as well as Western Maryland, where Irish immigrant laborers helped to build the C & O Railroad. Smaller but much older Irish populations can be found in Southern Maryland, with some roots dating as far back as the early Maryland colony. This population however, still remains culturally very active and yearly festivals are held.
A large percentage of the population of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland are descendants of British American ancestry. The Eastern Shore was settled by Protestants, chiefly Methodist and the southern counties were initially settled by English Catholics. Western and northern Maryland have large German-American populations. More recent European immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century settled first in Baltimore, attracted to its industrial jobs. Many of their ethnic Italian, Polish, Czech, and Greek descendants still live in the area.
Hispanic immigrants of the later 20th century have settled in Hyattsville/Langley Park, Wheaton, Bladensburg, Riverdale Park, Gaithersburg, and Highlandtown in East Baltimore. Salvadorans are the largest Hispanic group in Maryland. Other Hispanic groups with significant populations in the state include Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Though the Salvadoran population is more concentrated in the area around Washington, DC, and the Puerto Rican population is more concentrated in the Baltimore area, all other major Hispanic groups in the state are evenly dispersed between these two areas. Maryland has one of the most diverse Hispanic populations in the country, with significant populations from various Caribbean and Central American nations.
Jews of European-American descent 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. and in Howard County, with Korean American and Taiwanese American communities in Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Germantown and a Filipino American community in Fort Washington. Numerous Indian Americans live across the state, especially in central Maryland. Amish/Mennonite communities are found in St. Mary's, Garrett, and Washington counties.
Attracting educated Asians and Africans to the professional jobs in the region, Maryland has the fifth-largest proportions of racial minorities in the country.
In 2006, 645,744 were counted as foreign born, which represents mainly people from Latin America and Asia. About 4.0 percent are undocumented (illegal) immigrants. Maryland also has a large Korean American population. In fact, 1.7 percent are Korean, while as a whole, almost 6.0 percent are Asian.
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 12,538 same-sex couples are living in Maryland, representing 5.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
The top reported ancestries by Maryland residents were:
The largest religious groups in Maryland as of 2010 are: the Catholic Church with 837,338 adherents in Maryland, followed by non-denominational Evangelical Protestants with 298,921 members, and the United Methodist Church. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion in Maryland with 241,000 adherents, or 4 percent of the total population. The Seventh-day Adventist Church's World Headquarters and Ahmadiyya Muslims national Headquarters is located in Silver Spring, just outside the District of Columbia.
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. Among the immigrants of the 19th and 20th century from eastern and southern Europe were many Catholics.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maryland's gross state product in 2012 was US$317.7 billion. However, Maryland has been using Genuine Progress Indicator, an indicator of well-being, to guide the state's development, rather than relying only on growth indicators like GDP. 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 second and eleventh wealthiest counties in the nation respectively. Also, the state's poverty rate of 7.8 percent is the lowest in the country. Per capita personal income in 2006 was US$43,500, 5th in the nation. Maryland ranked No. 1 with the most millionaires per capita in 2013, with a ratio of 7.7 percent. As of May 2014, the state's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.
Maryland's economy 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. Ft. Meade serves as the headquarters of the Defense Information Systems Agency, United States Cyber Command, and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. In addition, a number of 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 percent 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.
Manufacturing, while large in dollar value, is highly diversified with no sub-sector contributing over 20 percent 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 Martin Company (now part of Lockheed Martin) airplane factory 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 near Washington, but these no longer exist.
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.
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 has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in the 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 overwintering waterfowl in its wildlife refuges. The waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.
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.
Maryland imposes 5 income tax brackets, ranging from 2 to 6.25 percent 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 percent 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 percent is the fifth highest combined state and local income tax rates in the country, behind New York City's 11.35 percent, California's 10.3 percent, Rhode Island's 9.9 percent, and Vermont's 9.5 percent.
Maryland's state sales tax is 6 percent. 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.
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 National Military Medical Center, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Celera Genomics company, 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 most transportation in the state through its various administration-level agencies. The independent Maryland Transportation Authority, headquartered in Baltimore, maintains and operates the state's eight toll facilities.
Maryland's Interstate highways include 110 miles (180 km) of Interstate 95 (I-95), which enters the northeast portion of the state, travels through Baltimore, and becomes part of the eastern section of the Capital Beltway to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I-68 travels 81 miles (130 km), 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 93 miles (150 km) to Baltimore, connecting Hagerstown and Frederick along the way.
I-83 has 34 miles (55 km) in Maryland and connects Baltimore to southern central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania). Maryland also has an 11-mile (18 km) portion of I-81 that travels through the state near Hagerstown. I-97, fully contained within Anne Arundel County and the second shortest (17.6 miles (28.3 km)) one- or two-digit Interstate highway which connects the Baltimore area to the Annapolis area. Hawaii has one that is shorter.[clarification needed]
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 Intercounty Connector (ICC; 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 an unsigned highway concurrent with US 50/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 unsigned 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 the Baltimore-born Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice). The only other airports with commercial service are at Hagerstown and Salisbury.
The Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. are also served 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 used. 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.
The WMATA's Metrorail rapid transit and Metrobus local bus systems (the 2nd and 6th busiest in the nation of their respective modes) provide service in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and connect them to Washington D.C., with the express Metrobus Route B30 serving BWI Airport. The Maryland Transit Administration (often abbreviated as "MTA Maryland"), a state agency part of the Maryland Department of Transportation also provides transit services within the state. Headquartered in Baltimore, MTA's transit services are largely focused on central Maryland, as well as some portions of the Eastern Shore and Southern MD. Baltimore's Light Rail and Metro Subway systems serve its densely populated inner-city and the surrounding suburbs. The MTA also serves the city and its suburbs with its local bus service (the 9th largest system in the nation). The MTA's Commuter Bus system provides express coach service on longer routes connecting Washington D.C. and Baltimore to parts of Central and Southern MD as well as the Eastern Shore. The commuter rail service, known as MARC, operates three lines which all terminate at Washington Union Station and provide service to Baltimore's Penn and Camden stations, Perryville, Frederick, and Martinsburg, WV. In addition, many suburban counties operate their own local bus systems which connect to and complement the larger MTA and WMATA/Metro services.
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 560 miles (900 km), 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 14 miles (23 km) 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.
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 many 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. Elections for governor and most statewide offices, as well as most county elections, are held in midterm-election years (even-numbered years not divisible by four).
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; 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.
Maryland has supported the Democratic nominee in each of the last five presidential elections, by an average margin of 15.4 percent. In 1980, it was one of six states to vote for Jimmy Carter. In recent years, Maryland has been among the most reliable states for Democratic nominees. 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. In 2008, Barack Obama won the state's 10 electoral votes with 61.9 percent of the vote to John McCain's 36.5 percent.
Both of Maryland's U.S. Senators and seven of its eight Representatives in Congress are Democrats, and Democrats hold a supermajority in the state Senate. 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.
While Republicans usually win more counties by piling up large margins in the west and east, they are usually swamped by the more densely populated and heavily Democratic Baltimore-Washington axis. In 2008, for instance, McCain won 17 counties to Obama's six; Obama also carried Baltimore City. While McCain won most of the western and eastern counties by margins of 2-to-1 or more, he was almost completely shut out in the larger counties surrounding Baltimore and Washington; every large county except Anne Arundel went for Obama.
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 percent of the vote, against Steele's 44 percent.
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.
In 2014, Larry Hogan, a Republican, was elected Governor of Maryland.
Education Week ranked Maryland #1 in its nationwide 2009-2013 Quality Counts reports. The College Board's 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation also ranked Maryland first. 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, 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 percent 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 by US News in 2009, based in large part on AP test scores.
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 one of two law centers (the other being the University of Baltimore School of Law). 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 University of Maryland, Baltimore County and 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.
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 Colts represented the NFL in Baltimore from 1953 to 1983 before moving to Indianapolis.
The Baltimore Orioles are the state's Major League Baseball franchise. 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,three low-level outdoor soccer teams, and the Chesapeake Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse. 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 Congressional Country Club has hosted three golf tournaments for the U.S. Open and a PGA Championship.
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.