23 Fun Facts About Maryland | Heart of American History

baltimore, harbor, bay

23 Fun Facts About Maryland | Heart of American History

  1. Assateague Island National Seashore is home to wild ponies that roam freely on the beach.
  2. Dinosaur bones, like those of the mighty megalodon shark, have been unearthed in Maryland.
  3. Millions of years ago, a meteor impact formed the Chesapeake Bay’s unique underwater crater
  4. Maryland played a vital role in the Underground Railroad, helping enslaved people reach freedom.
  5. The game of lacrosse is believed to have originated with Native American tribes in Maryland.
  6. The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use in the U.S
  7. Maryland’s Wallops Flight Facility launches rockets and conducts aerospace research.
  8. Maryland’s official state flower, the black-eyed Susan, is a cheerful wildflower found throughout the state.
  1. The first commercially successful umbrella frame design was patented in Maryland in 1852.
  2. Calvert Cliffs are known for their beautiful, colorful sea glass, perfect for beachcombing.
  3. Many movies and TV shows have been filmed in Maryland, including “Sleepless in Seattle” and “House of Cards.
  4. Marylanders take their blue crab obsession seriously, with festivals and special dishes dedicated to this crustacean.
  5. Rock band The Killers got their start playing gigs in Maryland before hitting it big.
  6. Once the oyster capital of the world, Maryland still boasts a thriving oyster industry.
  7. Maryland is home to prestigious institutions, like the Enoch Pratt Free Library

Table of Contents

1. Maryland is known as “America in Miniature.”

Maryland’s diverse landscape and culture give it the nickname “America in Miniature.” From beaches and mountains to urban areas and rural farmland, this small state has it all. This diversity makes it a unique destination for travelers looking to experience a bit of everything.

Maryland’s history and geography offer a snapshot of the entire country, making it a microcosm of the United States. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or vibrant city life, Maryland has something to offer.

2. The United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis.

Established in 1845, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis trains officers for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The academy is renowned for its rigorous academic and physical programs that prepare cadets for military service.

Visitors to Annapolis can explore the academy’s historic campus, attend sporting events, and learn about its significant role in American naval history. The academy’s traditions and contributions are a source of pride for Maryland residents.

3. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States.

The Chesapeake Bay, spanning 200 miles, is a vital natural resource for Maryland. It supports a diverse ecosystem, including numerous fish and bird species, and is essential for the state’s fishing and seafood industries.

Efforts to preserve and protect the bay have been ongoing, focusing on reducing pollution and promoting sustainable practices. The Chesapeake Bay is a crucial part of Maryland’s environment and economy.

4. Maryland’s state sport is jousting.

🏇 Maryland’s state sport is jousting.

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Maryland is the only state in the U.S. to have jousting as its official state sport. This medieval sport, where participants compete in horseback lance battles, has been celebrated in Maryland since colonial times.

Every year, various jousting tournaments are held throughout the state, attracting enthusiasts and spectators alike. These events offer a glimpse into a unique aspect of Maryland’s cultural heritage.

5. Maryland was home to the first railroad station in the U.S.

In 1828, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) established the first railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland. This marked the beginning of the U.S. railroad industry, revolutionizing transportation and commerce.

Today, visitors can explore the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, which preserves the history of American railroads and showcases historic trains and artifacts. The museum offers a fascinating look into the development of rail travel in the United States.

6. The first successful manned hot air balloon launch in the U.S. occurred in Maryland.

In 1784, the first successful manned hot air balloon launch in the United States took place in Baltimore. This pioneering flight marked a significant milestone in the history of aviation.

The event demonstrated the potential of hot air balloon travel and inspired future advancements in aviation technology. Maryland’s contribution to early aviation is a proud part of its historical legacy.

7. Maryland has a state crustacean, the blue crab.

The blue crab, found abundantly in the Chesapeake Bay, is Maryland’s state crustacean. This iconic seafood is a staple of Maryland cuisine, celebrated in dishes like crab cakes and crab feasts.

Fishing for blue crabs is a significant industry in Maryland, supporting local economies and traditions. The blue crab symbolizes the state’s connection to the Chesapeake Bay and its rich culinary heritage.

8. Maryland was the seventh state to join the United States.

green textile on brown wooden table
7th state to join the US

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On April 28, 1788, Maryland ratified the U.S. Constitution, becoming the seventh state to join the Union. This early adoption reflected Maryland’s commitment to the new nation and its principles.

Maryland played a crucial role in the formation of the United States, contributing to the development of its government and policies. The state’s early history is intertwined with the birth of the nation.

9. The nation’s first dental school was established in Maryland.

In 1840, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the first dental school in the United States, was founded in Maryland. This institution set the standard for dental education and professional practice.

The school’s establishment marked a significant advancement in healthcare, emphasizing the importance of dental health and training. Maryland’s contributions to medical education continue to impact the field today.

10. Fort McHenry inspired the U.S. national anthem.

During the War of 1812, the defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the U.S. national anthem. The fort’s resilience became a symbol of American perseverance and patriotism.

Visitors to Fort McHenry can learn about its history and the events that led to the creation of the national anthem. The site is a powerful reminder of Maryland’s role in American history.

11. Maryland is home to the oldest continuously published newspaper in the U.S.

The Maryland Gazette, first published in 1727, is the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States. It has documented significant historical events and changes in the state and the nation.

The newspaper’s long history reflects Maryland’s rich journalistic tradition and its role in providing information and news to the public. The Maryland Gazette remains a valuable resource for understanding the state’s past and present.

12. Maryland has more than 400 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay.

aerial photo of cliff and body of water
🌅 Maryland: the Chesapeake Bay.

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The Chesapeake Bay’s extensive shoreline makes Maryland a haven for water activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. This vast expanse of coastline provides numerous recreational opportunities and supports a rich biodiversity.

In addition to its natural beauty, the shoreline is vital for the state’s economy, particularly in tourism and seafood industries. Exploring the Chesapeake Bay’s shoreline offers a unique glimpse into Maryland’s environmental and cultural heritage.

13. The first American umbrella factory was established in Baltimore in 1828.

Baltimore’s early industrialization included the establishment of the first American umbrella factory by Francis Beehler. This factory marked a significant step in American manufacturing and consumer goods production.

The success of Beehler’s factory paved the way for other industries to flourish in Baltimore, contributing to the city’s economic growth. This historical fact showcases Maryland’s role in early American industrial innovation.

14. Maryland is home to the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use.

The Maryland State House in Annapolis, completed in 1772, is the oldest state capitol building still in legislative use. This historic building has witnessed numerous pivotal events in American history, including the ratification of the Treaty of Paris.

Visitors can tour the Maryland State House to learn about its architectural significance and historical importance. The building remains a symbol of Maryland’s rich political heritage and ongoing legislative activities.

15. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the top aquariums in the U.S.

Opened in 1981, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is renowned for its extensive collection of marine life and immersive exhibits. It attracts millions of visitors annually, providing educational experiences and promoting conservation efforts.

The aquarium’s innovative displays and interactive programs make it a must-visit destination for families and marine enthusiasts. Its commitment to marine conservation and education highlights Maryland’s dedication to environmental preservation.

16. Maryland’s state insect is the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.

a close up of a butterfly on the ground
🦋 The Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.

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Designated as the state insect in 1973, the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly is known for its striking black, orange, and white markings. This butterfly is native to the region and symbolizes Maryland’s natural beauty.

Conservation efforts are in place to protect the habitat of the Baltimore checkerspot, ensuring its survival for future generations. The butterfly’s distinctive appearance and regional significance make it a cherished symbol of Maryland’s wildlife.

17. Maryland has the highest median household income in the U.S.

According to recent data, Maryland boasts the highest median household income among U.S. states. This reflects the state’s robust economy, diverse industries, and high educational attainment levels.

Maryland’s economic prosperity is driven by sectors such as technology, healthcare, and government services. The state’s commitment to education and innovation continues to support its high standard of living and economic stability.

18. The Thrasher’s Caramel Popcorn is a famous treat from Ocean City.

Thrasher’s Caramel Popcorn, a beloved snack from Ocean City, has been delighting visitors since 1936. Known for its sweet and salty flavor, this popcorn is a staple at the Ocean City boardwalk.

Thrasher’s continues to attract long lines of customers, maintaining its reputation as a must-try treat. This iconic snack represents Maryland’s vibrant culinary traditions and the nostalgic charm of its coastal attractions.

19. The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the second-longest continuous truss bridge in the world.

Spanning 1.7 miles, the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is a marvel of engineering and an essential transportation link. Named after the author of the U.S. national anthem, the bridge connects various parts of the city and the region.

The bridge’s impressive structure and strategic importance make it a notable landmark in Maryland. It plays a crucial role in facilitating commerce and travel within the state.

20. Maryland hosts the annual Preakness Stakes, a prestigious horse race.

shallow focus photography of horse race
🐎 Preakness Stakes- A prestigious horse race.

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Held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the Triple Crown. This annual event, first run in 1873, attracts top racehorses, jockeys, and enthusiasts from around the world.

The Preakness Stakes is a major social and sporting event, contributing significantly to Maryland’s cultural and economic landscape. The race’s traditions and excitement make it a highlight of the state’s annual calendar.

21. Maryland is known for its distinctive flag featuring the Calvert and Crossland family crests.

The Maryland state flag, adopted in 1904, is the only state flag in the U.S. to feature heraldic emblems. The design incorporates the coats of arms of the Calvert and Crossland families, reflecting Maryland’s colonial history.

The flag’s unique and bold design makes it easily recognizable and a source of state pride. It symbolizes Maryland’s rich heritage and the blending of its historical influences.

22. Edgar Allan Poe, the famous writer, lived and died in Baltimore.

Edgar Allan Poe, renowned for his gothic and macabre stories, spent his final years in Baltimore. The city honors his legacy with landmarks such as the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum and his gravesite at Westminster Hall.

Poe’s connection to Baltimore is a significant aspect of the city’s literary heritage. His works continue to influence and inspire, drawing literary enthusiasts to explore his Baltimore haunts.

23. The “Star-Spangled Banner” flag was sewn in Baltimore.

The flag that inspired the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was sewn by Mary Pickersgill in Baltimore. This historic flag flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, symbolizing American resilience.

Today, the original flag is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Baltimore’s role in creating this iconic symbol is a proud chapter in Maryland’s storied past.


The abbreviation MD stands for the state of Maryland in the United States. Maryland is located in the Mid-Atlantic region, bordered by Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. It is known for its significant historical landmarks and diverse geography, ranging from coastal areas to mountainous regions.

The flag of Maryland is one of the most distinctive state flags in the United States, featuring the heraldic banner of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. The design includes alternating quadrants of red and white crosses from the Crossland family and yellow and black chevrons from the Calvert family.

The Maryland Colony was founded in 1632 by Cecil Calvert, also known as Lord Baltimore, as a haven for English Catholics facing persecution. It was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and played a significant role in early American history.

Maryland is in the Eastern Time Zone (ET). It observes Eastern Standard Time (EST) during the fall and winter months and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) during the spring and summer months. The current time will depend on whether Daylight Saving Time is in effect.

Major cities in Maryland include Baltimore, the largest city known for its Inner Harbor and cultural institutions, and Annapolis, the state capital famous for its historic sites and the United States Naval Academy. Other significant cities are Frederick, Rockville, and Gaithersburg, each with unique historical and economic contributions to the state.

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