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Maryland State Description
Maryland is a state that is located in the Mid-Atlantic area of the US, bordering West Virginia, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its west and south, Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to its east, Pennsylvania to its north. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital city is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are the Free State, Old Line State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, who is known in England as Queen Mary, who was the wife of King Charles the first.
Sixteen of the twenty-three counties in Maryland, as well as the city of Baltimore, has borders with the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay estuary and its many tributaries, which combined together has a total of 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 title of the moniker of America in Miniature. In a similar vein, Maryland's geography, culture, and history join both elements of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and South Atlantic regions of the country.
Before its coastline was explored by the Europeans in the 16th century, Maryland was inhabited by lots of Native Americans, mostly by the Algonquin, and to a lesser degree by the Sioux and Iroquois. As one of the original Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain Maryland was founded by George Calvert, who is a Catholic convert who sought to provide a religious haven for Catholics that was persecuted in England. In 1632, Charles the first of England granted Calvert a colonial charter, naming the colony after his wife, Queen Mary. Unlike the Pilgrims and Puritans, who fully rejected Catholicism in their settlements, Calvert envisioned a colony where people of diverse religious sects would coexist in peace 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 his or her religious affiliation. Nevertheless religious strife was very common in the early years, and Catholics remained a minority, albeit in greater numbers than in any other English speaking colony.
Maryland's early settlements and population centers clustered around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. Its economy was heavily plantation-based centered mostly on the farming of tobacco. The need for cheap labor led to a rapid expansion of penal labor, indentured servants, and African slaves. In 1760, Maryland's current boundaries took form following the settlement of a long-running border dispute they have with Pennsylvania. Maryland was an active participant in the events leading up to the American Revolution, and by 1776, its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence documents. Many of its citizens subsequently played key political and military roles in the war. In 1790, the state ceded ownership of the land for the establishment of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C.