Maryland History

Until 1775

As far as is known, Algonquin Native Americans lived in the region for approximately 10,000 years prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in the region that now constitutes the state of Maryland. The first European to explore the region was the Spanish Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who was the then governor of the Spanish colony of Florida, having explored what is now the Chesapeake Bay in 1572. The first trading post was founded in 1631 by the British merchant William Claiborne of Virginia.

In 1631, George Calvert, a British nobleman, petitioned the British crown for ownership and governance of the Chesapeake Bay region. His request was accepted by King Charles I of England in 1632. However, Calvert died in April of the same year. Charles I then yielded to George Calvert’s son, Cæcilius Calvert, the region, which ended up being called as it is known today. The main objective of this request was to create a Catholic colony where British Catholic believers could freely profess their religion without feeling discriminated against by the Protestant British majority. The first Catholic settlers landed in 1634.

The population growth of this English colony soared after the 1750s, with the prosperity of the tobacco industry.

From 1775 to 1900

Abbreviated as MD, Maryland had an active participation in the War of Independence. Its representatives participated in all the Continental Congresses. In the first, held in Philadelphia, the representatives of Maryland actively advocated a cessation of any commercial relationship with the British. Troops from Maryland actively fought throughout the War of Independence, and Baltimore played an essential role throughout the war, as an industrial center and manufacturer of arms and supplies. Few battles took place in the state, but the bravery of the Maryland soldiers caused George Washington to constantly praise the Maryland troops who fought during the war against the British.

Maryland ratified the American Constitution on April 28, 1788, thus becoming the eighth state to be part of the Union. In 1791, a rectangular piece of land in the southeast of the State was ceded to the government for the construction of the new and current capital of the United States, Washington DC

Maryland was attacked twice by British troops during the War of 1812. In the first, in 1813, the British defeated an American force in the north of the state, and then continued in the direction of Washington DC, where British troops burned various American government structures. These same British troops would continue in the direction of Baltimore. This was encircled by land and sea by British land and naval forces. But the Americans successfully defended the city. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet who witnessed the defense of the city, was inspired by the images of the battle to write the current hymn of the United States, The Star-Spangled Banner.

The city of Baltimore became one of the largest industrial centers in the country during the first decades of the 19th century. The city emerged as the largest ship manufacturer in the 1840s in the United States, and also a major steam train manufacturer. It was here that the first American steam locomotive was built. However, the state’s economy was still partly dependent on agriculture. Maryland admitted the practice of slave labor.

In 1861 the American Civil War began. The population of the state was divided. Many wanted the secession of the state from the Union and incorporation into the newly formed Confederate States of America – slavery in style. Others, for their part, wanted the state to remain in the Union – the states of the industrialized north of the United States, or the United States proper – which were anti-slavery.

The Union did not wait for Maryland to decide whether to remain in the Union or join the Confederacy. This was because the state of Virginia was one of those that seceded from the United States. If Maryland also left the Union, the capital, Washington DC, located between Maryland and Virginia, would be completely surrounded by the Confederacy. Union troops invaded Maryland immediately after the war began, and the state participated throughout the war as a Northern state. Many statesmen fought on the side of the Union, however, many others fled Maryland and joined the Confederate troops.

Maryland was the scene of numerous battles, of which the Battle of Antietam stands out, where more than 22,000 soldiers (12,000 Union and 10,000 Confederates) died in a single day. In 1864 Maryland passed a new Constitution that abolished slavery and adopted severe penalties for citizens who had supported the Confederacy.

From 1900 to present times

As the largest manufacturer of military ships in the United States, Maryland prospered economically in the early decades of the 20th century, especially in the years of the First World War. It became a large port center, various factories were built in the city and a military base.

In 1919, when the US Congress approved the so-called ” Prohibition Law “, the majority of the population of Maryland was against it, so many political leaders of the State harshly criticized and opposed it, stating that it was a violation of rights. state. As a result, the State became known as the Free State (The Free State), as a tribute to the tradition of political and religious freedoms in the region.

The Great Depression deeply affected Maryland, in 1933 more than 40% of its Baltimore workers became unemployed. The state created shelters and tried to provide all possible help to those most affected.

The economy of the region recovered with the Second World War in such magnitude that when it ended, the State was fundamentally urban and industrial.

Until 1954, Maryland schools were segregationist. The best schools were exclusively for whites, while the lowest quality were for African Americans. However, in that same year the United States Supreme Court ruled that such segregation was unconstitutional. In Baltimore City, schools were immediately merged, but in predominantly white towns, this measure took up to 30 years to complete.

Maryland History