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Maryland City Guides

Aberdeen Abingdon Annapolis Arnold Ashton
Baltimore Bel Air Beltsville Berlin Bethesda Bladensburg Bowie Brandywine Brooklyn Burtonsville
California Cambridge Capitol Heights Catonsville Centreville Chester Chestertown Chevy Chase Clarksville Clinton Cockeysville College Park Columbia Crofton Cumberland
Damascus Denton District Heights Dundalk Dunkirk
Easton Edgewater Edgewood Elkridge Elkton Ellicott City Essex
Fallston Finksburg Forest Hill Fork Fort Washington Frederick Frostburg
Gaithersburg Gambrills Germantown Glen Burnie Greenbelt Gwynn Oak
Hagerstown Halethorpe Hampstead Hanover Havre De Grace Hunt Valley Huntingtown Hyattsville
Jarrettsville Jessup Joppa
La Plata Lanham Laurel Leonardtown Lexington Park Linthicum Heights Lutherville Timonium
Mechanicsville Middle River Middletown Millersville Mount Airy
North Beach North East Nottingham
Oakland Ocean City Odenton Olney Owings Owings Mills Oxon Hill
Parkville Pasadena Pikesville Pocomoke City Potomac Prince Frederick Princess Anne
Randallstown Reisterstown Rising Sun Riverdale Rockville Rosedale
Saint Michaels Salisbury Severn Severna Park Silver Spring Solomons Stevensville Suitland Sykesville
Takoma Park Taneytown Temple Hills Thurmont Towson
Upper Marlboro
Waldorf Westminster White Marsh White Plains Williamsport Windsor Mill

Maryland (IPA: [ˈmæ.ɹɪ.lənd]), is a Mid-Atlantic state located on the East Coast of the United and is classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a South-Atlantic state. It was the seventh state to ratify the United Constitution, and is nicknamed the Old Line State and the Free State. Its history as a border state has led it to exhibit characteristics of both the Northern and Southern regions of the United .

Maryland is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania; on the west by West Virginia; on the north and east by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean; and on the south, across the Potomac River, by Virginia. The mid-portion of this border is interrupted on the Maryland side by Washington, DC, which sits on land originally part of Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state, and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore. A portion of extreme western Maryland in Garrett County is drained by the Youghiogheny River, as part of the watershed of the Mississippi River, while the remainder of the state drains, via the Bay, into the Atlantic Ocean. So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland's geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state's official nickname to "Bay State", a name currently used by Massachusetts.

The highest point in Maryland is Backbone Mountain, which is the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia and near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac. In western Maryland, about two-thirds of the way across the state, is a point at which the state is only two miles (3 km) wide. This geographical curiosity, which makes Maryland the narrowest state, is located near the small town of Hancock, and results from Maryland's northern and southern boundaries being marked by the Mason-Dixon Line and the north-arching Potomac River, respectively.

The Delmarva Peninsula comprises the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland, the entire state of Delaware, and two counties of Virginia, which together form a long extension down the Atlantic seaboard. One of the most noted features of Delmarva is Maryland's Assateague Island, on the Atlantic, with its herd of feral ponies accustomed to the seashore.

Contents [hide]
1 Climate
2 Flora and Fauna
3 National Park Service
4 History
5 Demographics
5.1 Race
5.2 Religion
6 Economy
7 Transportation
7.1 Roads
7.2 Airports
7.3 Trains
8 Law and government
8.1 Politics
9 Important cities and towns
10 Education
10.1 Colleges and universities
11 Professional sports
12 Miscellaneous topics
12.1 State symbols
12.2 Sister
13 See also
14 Further reading

For a state as small as Maryland is, it has a remarkably varied climate. It depends on various factors such as elevation, rainfall, and proximity to a body of water (most significantly, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean). There are three main climate regions in Maryland.

The Eastern Shore region and part of the Western Shore are part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. This region gets hot, humid summers and cool to chilly but fairly short winters, with a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa). This region includes the cities of Salisbury, Annapolis, Ocean City, and the southern and eastern parts of greater Baltimore.

Beyond this region lies the Piedmont which has a warm humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa) of hot, humid summers and moderately cold winters where significant snowfall is an annual occurrence. This region includes Frederick, Hagerstown, and northern and western parts of metro Baltimore.

Extreme western Maryland, in the higher elevations of Allegany County and Garrett County has a colder continental climate (Koppen Dfb) due to elevation (more typical of inland New England and the Midwestern U.S.) with warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters.

Precipitation in the state is very generous, as is most of the East Coast. Annual rainfall ranges from 40-45 inches (1000-1150 mm) in virtually every part of the state, falling very evenly. Nearly every part of Maryland receives 3.5-4.5 inches (95-110 mm) per month of liquid precipitation Snowfall varies from 9 inches (23 cm) in the coastal areas to over 100 inches (250 cm) a winter in the western mountains of the state. Snowfall Map

Flora and Fauna
As is typical of on the East Coast, Maryland's plant life is abundant and healthy. A good dose of annual precipitation help to support many types of plants, including seagrass and various reeds at the smaller end of the spectrum to the gigantic Wye Oak, a huge example of White oak, the state tree, which can grow in excess of 70 ft tall. Maryland also posses an abundance of pines and Maples among its endemic tree life. Many foreign species are cultivated in the state, some as ornamentals, others as novelty species. Included among these are the Crepe Myrtle, Italian Cypress, live oak in the warmer parts of the state, and even some hardy palm trees along the coast and in the bay area. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones in the state range from Zone 5 in the extreme western part of the state to 6 and 7 in the central part, and Zone 8 around the southern part of the coast, the bay area, and parts of metropolitan Baltimore.

The 2003 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the state of MarylandThe state harbors a great number of deer, particularly in the woody and mountainous west of the state, and overpopulation can become a problem from year-to-year. The state bird, the Baltimore Oriole, can be seen throughout the state and is a source of much pride for Marylanders. The Chesapeake Bay provides the state with its huge cash crop of blue crabs, and the southern and eastern portion of Maryland is warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop.

Lawns in Maryland carry a variety of species, mostly due to its location in the Transition Zone for lawngrasses. The western part of the state is cold enough to support Kentucky Bluegrass, and Fine Fescues, which are widespread from the foothills west. The area around the Chesapeake Bay is usually turfed with transition species such as Zoysia, Tall fescue, and Bermudagrass. St. Augustinegrass can be grown in the parts of the state that are in Zone 8.

National Park Service
Areas under the control and protection of the National Park Service include:

Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg
Antietam National Cemetery
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Assateague Island National Seashore
Baltimore-Washington Parkway
Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park on the Potomac River
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network
Clara Barton National Historic Site at Port Tobacco
Fort Foote Park in Poopy Hill
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore
Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo
Greenbelt Park at Greenbelt
Hampton National Historic Site near Towson
Harmony Hall in Prince George's County
Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick
Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm in Oxon Hill
Piscataway Park in Accokeek
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the corridor between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands
Suitland Parkway in Prince Georges County
Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Port Tobacco

Main article: History of Maryland
See also: Annapolis Convention
In 1629 George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, applied to Charles I for a new royal charter for what was to become the Province of Maryland, which was at the time the northern part of Virginia. George Calvert died in April 1632, but a charter for "Maryland Colony" (in Latin, "Terra Maria") was granted to his son, Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony was named in honor of Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of Charles I [1].

On March 25, 1634, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers into this area, which would soon become one of the few predominantly Catholic regions in the British Empire (another was Newfoundland, where religious disputes led to the first flag's coloring). Maryland was also one of the key destinations of tens of thousands of British convicts. The Maryland Toleration Act of 1649 was one of the first laws that explicitly dictated religious tolerance (as long as it was Christian). The act is sometimes seen as a precursor to the First Amendment.

Based on an incorrect map, the royal charter granted Maryland the Potomac River and territory northward to the fortieth parallel. This proved a problem, because the northern boundary would put Philadelphia, the major city in Pennsylvania, within Maryland. The Calvert family, which controlled Maryland, and the Penn family, which controlled Pennsylvania, engaged two surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, to survey what became known as the Mason-Dixon line, which would form the boundary between their two colonies and would later become the dividing line between North and South.

After Virginia made the practice of Anglicanism mandatory, a large number of Puritans migrated from Virginia to Maryland, and were given land for a settlement called Providence (now Annapolis). In 1650, the Puritans revolted against the proprietary government and set up a new government that outlawed both Catholicism and Anglicanism. This lasted until 1658, when the Calvert family regained control and re-enacted the Toleration Act. However, after England's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, when William of Orange and his wife Mary came to the throne and firmly established the Protestant faith in England, Catholicism was again outlawed in Maryland, until after the Revolutionary War. Many wealthy plantation owners built chapels on their land so they could practice their Catholicism in relative secrecy. During the persecution of Maryland Catholics by the Puritan revolutionary government, all of the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland were burned down.

St. Mary's City was the largest site of the original Maryland colony, and was the seat of the colonial government until 1708. St Mary's is now an archaeological site, with a small tourist center. In 1708 the seat of government was moved to Providence and renamed Annapolis in honor of Queen Anne.

Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution, and became the seventh state admitted to the US after ratifying the new Constitution. The following year, in December of 1790, Maryland ceded land selected by President George Washington to the federal government for the creation of Washington, D.C..

During the War of 1812, the British military attempted to capture the port of Baltimore, which was protected by Fort McHenry. It was during this bombardment that the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key.

Despite strong support for the cause of the Confederate of America, Maryland did not secede during the American Civil War, in part due to precautions taken by the government in Washington, D.C. President Lincoln suspended several civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus, ordered US troops to place artillery on Federal Hill to directly threaten the city of Baltimore and helped ensure the election of a new pro-union governor and legislature. President Lincoln even went so far as to jail certain pro-south members of the state legislature at Fort McHenry including, ironically, the grandson of Francis Scott Key. The Constitutionality of these actions is still a source of controversy and debate. Because Maryland had not seceded from the Union, it was exempted from the anti-slavery provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation (The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to in rebellion). A constitutional convention was held during 1864 that culminated in the passage of a new state constitution on November 1 of that year. Article 24 of that document outlawed the practice of slavery. The right to vote was extended to non-white males in 1867.

Historical populations
year Population


1790 319,728
1800 341,548
1810 380,546
1820 407,350
1830 447,040
1840 470,019
1850 583,034
1860 687,049
1870 780,894
1880 934,943
1890 1,042,390
1900 1,188,044
1910 1,295,346
1920 1,449,661
1930 1,631,526
1940 1,821,244
1950 2,343,001
1960 3,100,689
1970 3,922,399
1980 4,216,975
1990 4,781,468
2000 5,296,486

Maryland population distributionAs of 2005, Maryland has an estimated population of 5,600,388, which is an increase of 39,056, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 303,882, or 5.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 165,707 people (that is 395,775 births minus 230,068 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 118,724 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United resulted in a net increase of 108,972 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 9,752 people.

In 2006, 645,744 were counted as foreign born, which represents mainly people from Latin America and Asia. About 4.0% are un-documented (illegal) immigrants.

Most of the population of Maryland lives in the central region of the state, in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The Eastern Shore is less populous and more rural, as are the counties of western and southern Maryland.

The three counties of Western Maryland (Allegany, Garrett, and Washington) are mountainous and sparsely populated, resembling West Virginia more than they do the rest of Maryland. Although the African American proportion is not as high as it was during the eighteenth century peak of tobacco plantation production (when it was 38%), Maryland still has the largest black population of any state outside of the Deep South. Maryland also has the south's second largest Korean American population, trailing only Texas. In fact 1.7% are Korean, while as a whole, almost 6.0% are Asian.

Demographics of Maryland (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 66.99% 29.02% 0.76% 4.53% 0.12%
2000 (hispanic only) 3.73% 0.51% 0.10% 0.06% 0.02%
2005 (total population) 65.29% 30.16% 0.76% 5.30% 0.13%
2005 (hispanic only) 5.01% 0.61% 0.12% 0.09% 0.03%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 3.06% 9.89% 5.73% 23.72% 16.27%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 0.76% 9.57% 2.48% 23.38% 13.02%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 42.16% 27.78% 27.26% 48.06% 32.49%

The five largest reported ancestries in Maryland are German (15.7%), Irish (11.7%), English (9%), American (5.8%), and Italian (3.6%).

Blacks are concentrated in Baltimore City, Prince George's County, and the southern Eastern Shore. Most of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland are populated by Marylanders of British ancestry. Western and northern Maryland have large German-American populations. Italians are centred mostly in the large city of Baltimore.

Maryland has one of the largest proportions of racial minorities in the country, trailing only the four minority-majority .

Maryland was founded for the purpose of providing religious toleration of England's Catholic minority. Nevertheless, Parliament later reversed that policy and discouraged the practice of Catholicism in Maryland. Despite the founding intent of the colony, Catholics have never been in a majority in Maryland since early Colonial times. Nonetheless, it is the largest single denomination in Maryland. The present religious composition of the state is shown below:

Christian – 82%
Protestant – 56%
Baptist – 18%
Methodist – 11%
Lutheran – 5%
Episcopal – 3%
Other Protestant or general Protestant – 19%
Roman Catholic – 23%
Other Christian – 3%
Jewish – 3%
Other Religions – 1%
Non-Religious – 14%
Notwithstanding numerical positions, the founding intent of Maryland has made the state prominent in US Catholic tradition. For example, Baltimore was the location of the first Catholic bishop in the U.S. (1789), and Emmitsburg was the home and burial place of the first American-born citizen to be canonized, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Georgetown University, the first Catholic University, was founded in 1789 in then-Maryland (now Washington, D.C.).

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maryland's gross state product in 2004 was US$228 billion[2]. Per capita personal income in 2003 was US$37,446, 5th in the nation.

Maryland's economic activity is strongly concentrated in the tertiary service sector, and this sector, in turn, is strongly influenced by location. One major service activity is transportation, centered around the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access. The port ranked 10th in the U.S. by tonnage in 2002 (Source: U.S. Corps of Engineers, "Waterborn Commerce Statistics"). Although the port handles a wide variety of products, the most typical imports are raw materials and bulk commodities, such as iron ore, petroleum, sugar, and fertilizers, often distributed to the relatively close manufacturing centers of the inland Midwest via good overland transportation. The port also receives several different brands of imported motor vehicles.

A second service activity takes advantage of the close location of the center of government in Washington, D.C. and emphasizes technical and administrative tasks for the defense/aerospace industry and bio-research laboratories, as well as staffing of satellite government headquarters in the suburban or exurban Baltimore/Washington area. In addition many educational and medical research institutions are located in the state. In fact, the various components of Johns Hopkins University and its medical research facilities are now the largest single employer in the Baltimore area. Altogether, white collar technical and administrative workers comprise 25% of Maryland's labor force, one of the highest state percentages in the country.

Many Federal government agencies are located in Maryland, including:

Census Bureau
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Goddard Space Flight Center
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
National Security Agency (NSA)
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Consumer Product Safety Commission
There are also numerous military facilities in Maryland:

Aberdeen Proving Ground
Andrews Air Force Base
Army Research Laboratory
National Naval Medical Center
Fort Meade
Fort Detrick
Indian Head Naval Surface Weapons Center
Naval Air Station Patuxent River
School of Military Packing Technology
United Naval Academy
Webster Field
Bainbridge Naval Training Center (closed in 1976)
Maryland has a large food-producing sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab, oysters, striped bass, and menhaden. The Bay also has uncounted millions of overwintering waterfowl in its many wildlife refuges. While not, strictly speaking, a commercial food resource, the waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.

Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, although this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization. Agriculture is oriented to dairying for nearby large city milksheads plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers, watermelons, sweet corn, tomatoes, muskmelons, squash, and peas (Source:USDA Crop Profiles). In addition, the southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times. There is also a large chicken-farming sector in the state; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms.

The third component of the food producing sector is Maryland's food-processing plants, which are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state.

Manufacturing, while large in dollar value, is highly diversified with no sub-sector contributing over 20% of the total. Typical forms of manufacturing include electronics, computer equipment, and chemicals. The once mighty primary metals sub-sector, which at one time included what was then the largest steel factory in the world at Sparrows Point, still exists, but is pressed with foreign competition, bankruptcies, and company mergers.

Mining other than construction materials is virtually limited to coal, which is located in the mountainous western part of the state. The brownstone quarries in the east, which gave Baltimore and Washington much of their characteristic architecture in the mid-1800s, were once a predominant natural resource. Historically, there used to be small gold-mining operations in Maryland, some surprisingly near Washington, but these no longer exist.

Maryland imposes 4 income tax brackets, ranging from 2 percent to 4.75 percent of personal income. The city of Baltimore and Maryland's 23 counties levy local "piggyback" income taxes at rates between 1.25 percent and 3.2 percent of Maryland taxable income. Local officials set the rates and the revenue is returned to the local governments quarterly. Maryland's state sales tax is 5 percent. All real property in Maryland is subject to the property tax. Generally, properties that are owned and used by religious, charitable, or educational organizations or property owned by the federal, state or local governments are exempt. Property tax rates vary widely. No restrictions or limitations on property taxes are imposed by the state, meaning cities and counties can set tax rates at the level they deem necessary to fund governmental services. These rates can increase, decrease or remain the same from year to year. If the proposed tax rate increases the total property tax revenues, the governing body must advertise that fact and hold a public hearing on the new tax rate. This is called the Constant Yield Tax Rate process.

Baltimore City is the eighth largest port in the nation, and was recently at the center of a controversy over the Dubai Ports World deal because it was considered to be of such strategic importance. The state as a whole is heavily industrialized, with a booming economy and influential technology centers. Its computer industries are some of the most sophisticated in the United , and the federal government has invested heavily in the area. Maryland is home to several large military bases and scores of high level government jobs.

Maryland is the fifth wealthiest state in the nation [3].



The sign used to mark Maryland's state highways.Maryland's Interstate highways include I-95, which enters the northeast portion of the state, goes through Baltimore, and becomes part of the eastern section of the Capital Beltway to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I-68 connects the western portions of the state to I-70 at the small town of Hancock. I-70 continues east to Baltimore, connecting Hagerstown and Frederick along the way. I-83 connects Baltimore to southern central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania). Maryland also has a portion of I-81 that runs through the state near Hagerstown. I-97, fully contained within Anne Arundel County and the shortest one- or two-digit Interstate highway outside of Hawaii, connects the Baltimore area to the Annapolis area.

There are also several auxiliary Interstate highways in Maryland. Among them are I-695, the McKeldin (Baltimore) Beltway, which encircles Baltimore; a portion of I-495, the Capital Beltway, which encircles Washington, D.C.; and I-270, which connects the Frederick area with the Washington area. The Capital Beltway is currently heavily congested, however, the ICC or Intercounty Connector, which may begin construction in 2006 or early 2007, could be the beginning of an outer, second beltway. Construction of the ICC was a major part of the campaign platform of Governor Robert Ehrlich, who took office in 2003.

Maryland also has a state highway system that contains routes numbered from 2 through 999, however most of the higher-numbered routes are either not signed or are relatively short (see List of minor Maryland state highways). Major state highways include Routes 2 (Governor Ritchie Highway/Solomons Island Road), 4, 32, 100, 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway), and 404.

Maryland's main airport is Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (formerly known as Friendship Airport and recently renamed for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was born in Baltimore). Other airports with commercial service are at Easton, Hagerstown, and Salisbury. The Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., are also serviced by the other two airports in the region, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport, both in Northern Virginia.

Amtrak trains serve Baltimore's Penn Station, BWI Airport, and New Carrollton along the Northeast Corridor. In addition, train service is provided to Rockville and Cumberland on the Amtrak Capitol Limited. MARC trains, operated by the State's Transit Authority, connect nearby Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and other towns. The Washington Metro subway and bus system serve Montgomery County and Prince George's County. The Maryland Transportation Authority's light rail and subway system serve Baltimore City and adjacent suburbs.

Law and government
Main article: Government of Maryland
The Government of Maryland is conducted according to the state constitution. The Government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United . Maryland is a republic; the United guarantees her "republican form of government" [4] although there is considerable disagreement about the meaning of that phrase.

Power in Maryland is divided among three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Maryland's bicameral legislature called the General Assembly is composed of a House of Delegates and Senate. Maryland's governor is unique in the United as the office is vested with significant authority in budgeting. The legislature may not increase the governor's proposed budget expenditures. Unlike most other , significant autonomy is granted to many of Maryland's counties.

Most of the business of government is done in Annapolis, the state capital. Virtually all state and county elections are held in even-numbered years not divisible by four, in which the President of the United is not elected - this, as in other , is intended to divide state and federal politics.

The Judicial branch of State government consists of one united District Court of Maryland that sits in every county and Baltimore City, as well as 24 Circuit Courts sitting in each County and Baltimore City, the latter being courts of general jurisdiction for all civil disputes over $5,000.00, all equitable jurisdiction and major criminal proceedings. The intermediate appellate Court is known as the "Court of Special Appeals" and the state supreme court is the "Court of Appeals". The Court of Appeals of Maryland is distinct in that its judges wear red robes, in distinction from the much more typical black robes of most other judges in the United .

Since pre-Civil War times, Maryland politics has been largely controlled by the Democrats. In the last decade, however, Republicans have made inroads in the state, including the election of the first Republican governor in almost four decades, and larger numbers of new voters are classifying themselves as independents. Blue-collar "Reagan Democrats" frequently vote Republican. Maryland is nonetheless well-known for its liberalism and loyalty to the Democratic Party, especially inside metropolitan areas. The state is dominated by the two urban/inner suburban regions of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. In addition, many jobs are directly or indirectly dependent upon the federal government. As a result, Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George's County often decide statewide elections. This is balanced by lesser populated areas on the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, and outer suburbs that tend to support Republicans, even though seven of nine Shore counties have Democrat-majority voter rolls.

Maryland has supported the Democrat candidate in the last four presidential elections, and by an average of 15.4%. In 1980, it was one of just 6 to vote for Jimmy Carter. Maryland is often among the Democrat nominees' best . In 1992, Bill Clinton fared better in Maryland than any other state except his home state of Arkansas. In 1996, Maryland was Clinton's 6th best, in 2000 Maryland ranked 4th for Gore and in 2004 John Kerry showed his 5th best performance in Maryland.

While Maryland is a Democratic party stronghold, perhaps its best known political figure is a Republican--former Governor Spiro Agnew, who served as United Vice President under Richard Nixon. He was Vice President from 1969 to 1973, when he resigned in the aftermath of revelations that he had taken bribes while he was Governor of Maryland.

Both Maryland Senators and six of its eight Representatives in Congress are Democrats, and Democrats hold super-majorities in the state Senate and House of Delegates. John Kerry easily won the state's 10 electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 13 percentage points with 55.9% of the vote. However, presidential election years are not deeply contested as national party resources are spent mostly in swing , and turnout and interest is frequently relatively low.

The 2006 election cycle will be an exception in Maryland politics as there are two highly contested races shaping up. It has a high chance of also garnering national attention. Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes is retiring, leaving an open seat for the U.S. Senate. Congressman Benjamin Cardin is the Democratic party's nominee, while current Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele is to be the Republican party's nominee. Race may play an issue in the election, as Michael Steele is one of few black G.O.P. members running on statewide tickets. The governorship is also a point of interest, as Republican incumbent Robert Ehrlich will be his party's nominee facing Democratic party challenger Martin O'Malley, the Mayor of Baltimore. Doug Duncan, another leading candidate for the Democratic slot, pulled out of the highly anticipated primary, announcing his withdrawal on June 22, 2006, citing clinical depression.

Important cities and towns
Main article: List of cities in Maryland
See also: List of census-designated places in Maryland and Maryland locations by per capita income
Aberdeen – home to Aberdeen Proving Grounds and hometown of baseball great Cal Ripken
Annapolis – state capital, home of United Naval Academy
Baltimore – most populous city; commercial and cultural hub
Bethesda – Suburb of D.C; Home to National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) and Bethesda Naval Hospital; best-educated city in the U.S with a population of 50,000 or more.
Bowie – largest city in Prince George's County; site of Bowie State University
College Park – D.C. suburb, home to the University of Maryland, College Park and College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operated airport in the United
Columbia – large unincorporated planned community managed by the Columbia Association
Cumberland – county seat of Allegany County; regional business and commercial center for Western Maryland
Ellicott City – county seat of Howard County and original terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Frederick – western gateway to Appalachian Mountains, suburban center, county seat of Frederick County
Germantown – home to the Department of Energy; fastest growing community in Montgomery County
Gaithersburg – home to National Institute of Standards and Technology; 2nd most populous city.
Hagerstown – largest community in 3 county Western Maryland region
Laurel – home of Laurel Park Pharmacy racecourse and scene of assassination attempt on George Wallace in 1972
Ocean City – very popular beach resort on Atlantic coastline; 2nd most populous city in numbers of residents during the summer months
Rockville – county seat and business center of Montgomery County northwest of Washington; 3rd largest city
Salisbury – largest city and business center of Delmarva peninsula
Silver Spring – Suburb of D.C.; home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the headquarters of the Discovery Channel
Towson – county seat of suburban Baltimore County
Waldorf – largest town in Southern Maryland
Westminster – County seat of Carroll County, Maryland and host of the annual Maryland Wine Festival.


Colleges and universities
Allegany College of Maryland
Anne Arundel Community College
Baltimore City Community College
Baltimore Hebrew University
Baltimore International College
Carroll Community College
Capitol College
Cecil Community College
Chesapeake College
College of Notre Dame of Maryland
College of Southern Maryland
Columbia Union College
Community College of Baltimore County
Frederick Community College
Frostburg State University
Garrett College
Goucher College
Hagerstown Community College
Harford Community College
Hood College
Howard Community College
Johns Hopkins University
Loyola College in Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art
McDaniel College
Montgomery College
Morgan State University
Mount St. Mary's University
Prince George's Community College
St. John's College, Annapolis
St. Mary's College of Maryland
St. Mary's Seminary and University
Sojourner-Douglass College
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
United Naval Academy
University System of Maryland
Bowie State University
Coppin State University
Frostburg State University
Salisbury University
Towson University
University of Baltimore
University of Maryland, Baltimore
University of Maryland Baltimore County
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
University of Maryland University College
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
Universities at Shady Grove
Washington Bible College
Washington College
Wor-Wic Community College
Villa Julie College

Professional sports

Oriole Park at Camden YardsBaltimore Ravens, NFL Football
Baltimore Bayhawks, Major League Lacrosse
Baltimore Blast, Major Indoor Soccer League
Baltimore Orioles, Major League Baseball
Baltimore Pearls, American Basketball Association
Maryland Nighthawks, American Basketball Association
Minor League baseball teams
Hagerstown Suns
Bowie Baysox
Frederick Keys
Aberdeen IronBirds
Delmarva Shorebirds

Maryland Championship Wrestling

Miscellaneous topics

State symbols
State bird: Baltimore Oriole
State boat: skipjack
State cat: calico cat
State crustacean: blue crab
State dinosaur: Astrodon johnstoni
State dog: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
State drink: milk
State fish: rockfish (striped bass)
State flower: Black-eyed Susan
State folk dance: square dance
State fossil: Ecphora gardnerae gardnerae
State gem: Patuxent River Stone
State Pharmacy: thoroughbred Pharmacy
State insect: Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly
State nicknames: "The Old Line State" and "The Free State."
State reptile: diamondback terrapin
State song: "Maryland, My Maryland"
State sport: jousting, lacrosse (state team sport)
State theatres: Center Stage and Olney Theatre
State tree: white oak

The State of Maryland has eight sister , as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

Anhui Province, China
State of Jalisco, Mexico
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Gyeongsangnam-do Province, South Korea
Łódź Voivodship, Poland
State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Wallonia, Belgium
Région Nord-Pas de Calais, France
Maryland also has one sister city:

Saint Petersburg, Russia

See also
Maryland Portal
List of people from Maryland
List of parks in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area
Scouting in Maryland