Maryland ( MERR-ə-lənd) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Southeastern United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary, who was the wife of King Charles I.
Sixteen of Maryland's twenty-three counties, as well as the city of Baltimore, border the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay estuary and its many tributaries, which combined total more than 4,000 miles of shoreline. Although one of the smallest states in the U.S., it features a variety of climates and topographical features that have earned it the moniker of America in Miniature. In a similar vein, Maryland's geography, culture, and history combine elements of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and South Atlantic regions of the country.
Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Maryland was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans, mostly by the Algonquin, and to a lesser degree by the Iroquois and Sioux. As one of the original Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain Maryland was founded by George Calvert, a Catholic convert who sought to provide a religious haven for Catholics persecuted in England. In 1632, Charles I of England granted Calvert a colonial charter, naming the colony after his wife, Queen Mary (Henrietta Maria of France). Unlike the Pilgrims and Puritans, who rejected Catholicism in their settlements, Calvert envisioned a colony where people of different religious sects would coexist under the principle of toleration. Accordingly, in 1649 the Maryland General Assembly passed an Act Concerning Religion, which enshrined this principle by penalizing anyone who "reproached" a fellow Marylander based on religious affiliation. Nevertheless religious strife was common in the early years, and Catholics remained a minority, albeit in greater numbers than in any other English colony.
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Winter in Baltimore, Lancaster Street, Fells Point
A map of Köppen climate types in Maryland
American Film Institute Silver Theater
Maryland population distribution map. Maryland's population is concentrated mostly in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas.
Ellicott City Station, on the original B&O Railroad line, is the oldest remaining passenger station in the United States. The rail line is still used by CSX Transportation for freight trains, and the station is now a museum.
The beach resort town of Ocean City along the Atlantic Ocean is a popular tourist destination in Maryland.
Agriculture is an important part of the state's economy.
Typical brackish tidal river. Sunset over a marsh at Cardinal Cove on the Patuxent River
Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States and the largest water feature in Maryland
Physical regions of Maryland
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