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DESTINATION MARYLAND The Official Guide To Maryland State Travel
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Maryland Facts 

Children playing in Hay on a farm 

"America In Miniature", "Old Line State",  "Free State"

Maryland has been called "America in Miniature" because so much is packed into its 10,460 square miles of land and water. You can find just about any kind of natural feature here, except a desert. That's because water is almost everywhere in Maryland. The "America In Miniature" title also applies to the role Maryland has played in our nation's history, from the founding of the United States to the present. And like our country, Maryland is home to ethnic groups of every origin. Famous Marylanders include politicians, lawyers, painters, craftspeople, writers, health professionals and religious leaders. Maryland was home to the first railroad, the first dental school and the first umbrella factory. And Maryland inventors gave us the gas light, the linotype machine and the refrigerator.

Maryland is also called the "Old Line State" and "Free State."The Old Line nickname was given during the Revolutionary War, when 400 soldiers in the First Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000 and helped General George Washington's army to escape. Washington depended on the Maryland Line throughout the war, and the soldiers' discipline and bravery earned Maryland its nickname.

The name "Free State" was given in 1919, when Congress passed a law prohibiting the sale and use of alcohol. Marylanders opposed prohibition because they believed it violated their state's rights. The "Free State" nickname also represents Maryland's long tradition of political freedom and religious tolerance.

The Chesapeake Bay

The largest body of water in Maryland is the Chesapeake Bay, but we also have nearly 50 rivers and creeks, plus streams, lakes, ponds and the Atlantic Ocean. These waterways have been sources of food, employment, transportation and recreation for many centuries.

The major source of the Chesapeake Bay is the Susquehanna River. It is now the largest non-navigable river in North America, but 20,000 years ago the Susquehanna flowed all the way from upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean. Ten thousand years ago, melting glacier ice caused the Atlantic to rise and push up into the Susquehanna; overflowing its banks and creating the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay is a drowned river bed of the Susquehanna River and also an estuary, where fresh and salt water mingle. The area of land and rivers from Cooperstown, New York to Virginia is called the "watershed" or "drainage area" of the Bay.

Marylanders At Work

Services 82% (Community, social, personal and tourism services, 27%; wholesale and retail trade, 25%; government, 19%; finance, insurance, and real estate, 6%; and transportation, communications, and utilities, 5%.)

Manufacturing 9%

Construction 7%

Agriculture 2%

You're probably wondering by now what people in Maryland do besides go to all of these great places. The chart above tells you how Marylanders spend their working hours. The majority of our state's citizens work in service jobs, which are located mostly in and around Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. The federal government is one of the area's largest employers.

Maryland is a leader in manufacturing, computers, communication and other high-tech equipment. Not surprisingly, printing for the federal government and all those other service industries is big business. Food processing, from soft drinks and spices to seafood, is also important in Maryland.

Farming and harvesting seafood employ 2 percent of Maryland workers. Sixty-five percent of Maryland's farm income is from livestock, mostly poultry, and 35 percent is from crops. Flowers, shrubs and trees are the leading money crops, followed by corn, soybeans, tobacco, tomatoes and apples.

Marylanders have been making their living from the Chesapeake Bay since colonial days. Today the yearly catch of seafood, from crabs to oysters to rockfish, is worth more than $50 million.

Maryland State Song

Second in popularity only to "Dixie" in the South during the Civil War, "Maryland, My Maryland" was written by a 22 year-old schoolteacher named James Ryder Randall. Excited by a story of the passage of Union troops through the city of Baltimore, he composed a bitter poem and published it in a New Orleans newspaper. As he described it later, he composed the poem "under what may be called a conflagration of the senses, if not an inspiration of the intellect." It is set to the traditional tune of "Lauriger Horatius" (O, Tannenbaum). In 1939, Maryland offically adopted it as the State Song.

State Symbols

State Flag

One of the oldest and most distinctive state flags in America, Maryland's brightly colored standard was adopted as the Maryland State Flag in 1904. The design is taken from the "escutcheon" or "shield," in the first Lord Baltimore's Seal, dating from the 1630s. Black and gold quarters are the arms of Lord Baltimore's family, the Calverts. Red and white quarters are those of his mother's family, the Crosslands.

The Great Seal of Maryland

Used by the Governor and Secretary of State to authenticate official documents, the original Great Seal was brought to America in colonial days. Both sides are used for various purposes, including decoration of public buildings and authenticating acts of the legislature. The reverse side shows Lord Baltimore's "escutcheon" or "shield," with figures of a farmer and a fisherman. The Italian scroll reads, "Manly deeds, womanly words." The border is "With favor wilt thou compass us as with a shield" (Psalms V, 12). The obverse side shows Lord Baltimore armed and mounted.

State Crustacean

In 1989, the Maryland Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) was designated the State Crustacean. This creature is a major crop for Chesapeake Bay watermen and a spicy treat to millions of seafood lovers.

State Insect

The Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly (Euphydryas phaeion) was designated in 1973 as a state symbol. Abundant all over the state, it is blackish with basal patches and rows of orange and white spots.

State Boat

The skipjack, the last working boat under sail in North America, became a state symbol in 1985. It is used in the seafood industry for dredging oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

State Tree

The famous Wye Oak at Wye Mills on the Eastern Shore is more than 100 feet high with a branch spread of 165 feet. The tree was more than 450 years old, when it was toppled during a storm on June 6, 2002.

State Fossil Shell

The shell of the Ecphora quadricostata (Say), an extinct snail, was designated the State Fossil Shell in 1984. The Ecphora inhabited the Bay and other East Coast tidal waters five to 12 million years ago. It is believed an Ecphora shell found in St. Mary's County (c. 1685), was the first North American fossil to be illustrated in European scientific works.

State Dog

The Maryland State Dog is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a breed that originated in the state in the early 1800s. It is characterized as an excellent hunter, good family pet and "worthy friend." It was designated the official State Dog in 1964.

State Sport

Jousting - the centuries-old equestrian sport originated in the Middle Ages in the era of knighthood. It is Maryland's State Sport, designated by the General Assembly in 1962. Maryland was the first state to designate an  official state sport.

State Flower

Blooming around the Fourth of July and dotting the hillsides and meadows all over the state, the Black-Eyed Susan reproduces the Maryland colors, black and gold. The blossoms have 13 petals, the same number as the original colonies, of which Maryland is one. It was legally adopted as the State Flower in 1918.

State Bird

The Baltimore Oriole was officially named the Maryland State Bird in 1947. However, 65 years earlier, the General Assembly had passed legislation giving the species special protection. The oriole bears the name of Lord Baltimore, Maryland's founder and the colors of the Calvert shield, yellow and black. 

State Fish

The striped bass or rockfish (Morone saxatilis) is considered the most important and valuable fish in Maryland waters. It was designated the State Fish by the General Assembly in 1965.

State Drink

The State Drink for Maryland is milk. It was designated the State drink by the General Assembly in 2004.   

State Team Sport

In 2004, Lacrosse was officially named the Team Sport of Maryland. Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America dating back to the 17th century. Indians played lacrosse to heal the sick and to prepare for war.

State Gem

The Patuxent River Stone became the State Gem of Maryland effective October 1, 2004. The Patuxent River Stone is actually an agate, a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The Patuxent River Stone's colors of red and yellow reflect the Maryland State Flag. The agate is found only in Maryland.

State Cat

Calico, with colors resembling the Maryland State Flag.

State Folk Dance

Square Dancing

State Horse

Thoroughbred, used for racing, polo, show jumping and dressage, also for work by mounted police units and leisure by  recreational riders.

State Dinosaur

Astrodon johnstoni, " star tooth", which lived between 95 and 130 million years ago.

State Reptile

The Maryland State Reptile is the Diamondback terrapin, also known as the University of Maryland College Park mascot.


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