Maryland State History

Maryland State collage of images.

Select a topic
General State History
Historic Figures

General Maryland State History

Since the first European colonists set foot on its shores in 1631, Maryland has played a significant role in American history. Some of the state's links to the nation's past - Antietam or Fort McHenry - are so enduring that they're recognized by name alone, while others are just waiting to be discovered.

Each region in Maryland contains historic attractions unique to its area. Western Maryland played a strong role in the development of intrastate transportation, particularly with the C&O Canal, the National Pike and B&O Railroad passing through its rolling mountain terrain. Central Maryland, a region which is rich in historic mansions and preserved landmarks' also is known for its museums' galleries and hunt country. Annapolis was known as the "Athens of America" during the seventeenth century and once served as the capital of the United States. Baltimore,' our State's center of commerce, was known around the world in the early 1800's for the sleek clipper ships built in its harbor and for its fine urban architecture.

The Capital Region, named for its proximity to our nation's capital, has attractions relating to the development of agriculture and aviation, as well as homes of many former governors and other prominent Marylanders. Maryland's first capital is located in Southern Maryland at Historic St. Mary's City, along with several early Native American and colonial sites. The Eastern Shore of Maryland continues to celebrate the heritage and traditions of the Chesapeake Bay with an emphasis on maritime history, waterfowl art and the seafood industry. As you browse through our web page, you'll find that a trip to Maryland is a getaway of historic proportions.

Maryland Historic Figures

Harriet Tubman
1820-1913: Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman freed herself, and played a major role in freeing the remaining millions. After the Civil War, she joined her family in Auburn, NY, where she founded the Harriet Tubman Home.


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
1825-1911: Schoolteacher before traveling for lectures on a variety of causes, chief among them the abolition of slavery. Published author.


Francis Scott Key
1780-1843: Born in Caroll County, Maryland. He was U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia during the years of 1833-41. He wrote the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, and was also an author.


Benjamin Banneker
1731-1806: Born in Endicott, Md. Was an mathematician and astronomer. Banneker was appointed by President George Washington to the District of Columbia Commission, which was responsible for the survey work that established the city's original boundaries. Also published the published the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris, which contained tide tables, future eclipses, and medicinal formulas during the years of 1791 to 1802.


Christopher Gist
1706-59: American frontiersman commissioned by the Ohio Company to explore their western lands. In 1750 he descended the Ohio River, explored E Kentucky, and crossed to Roanoke, N.C. He then explored the Kentucky region 18 years before the more celebrated Daniel Boone. The next season he more carefully traversed and mapped the Ohio watershed in western Virginia