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Maryland, state in the mid-Atlantic region of the eastern United States; bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Virginia and the District of Columbia to the south, and West Virginia to the south and west.

Land and climate

Chesapeake Bay, a jagged arm of the Atlantic Ocean, almost cuts the state in two from north to south. Maryland's 3,190 mi (5,134 km) of coastline—only 31 mi (49 km) of which are on the Atlantic—include many fine harbors. Maryland can be divided into 3 major regions. The Atlantic Coastal Plain (often called Tidewater Maryland) includes land south and east of the fall line, which runs between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. The part of the plain east of Chesapeake Bay (called the Eastern Shore) is very flat. The part west of the bay (the Western Shore) is fairly flat, but includes some hills. The central Piedmont-Blue Ridge region is an area of foothills and plateaus. The Appalachian-Allegheny area, which stretches from Hagerstown to the western border, is the state's highest region. Maryland's major rivers all flow into Chesapeake Bay. They include the Potomac, Patapsco, and Susquehanna. All Maryland's lakes are artificial. Forest covers approximately 40% of the state. Maryland has hot summers and mild winters. Principal cities are Baltimore, Silver Spring, and Dundalk.


Maryland's economy is based on service industries. Many federal office buildings and support services are here, due to Maryland's proximity to the U.S. capital. Manufacturing and tourism are the principal industries. Manufactured products include electrical equipment, processed foods, chemicals, printed materials, and transportation equipment. Tourist attractions include horse- and yacht-racing events, shore resorts, and historic Fort McHenry. Maryland's fishing industry is another major source of income. Its production of clams and oysters is one of the nation's highest, and it is known for its crabs and other seafood. About 35% of the state's area is farmland. Broilers (chickens), beef cattle, and milk are the leading livestock products; greenhouse and nursery plants, cotton, soybeans, and rice are the major crops. Mineral products include construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and coal.


Maryland's present constitution was adopted in 1867. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state legislature, called the General Assembly, consists of 47 senators and 141 delegates; all serve 4-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, Maryland is represented by 2 senators and 8 representatives.


Maryland was home to several Native American tribes before Spanish explorers, the first Europeans, arrived in the 1500s. One of the original 13 colonies, Maryland played an active part in the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, a battle at Baltimore's Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which later became the U.S. national anthem. Maryland officially supported the Union in the Civil War, but its people were sharply divided. Afterward, its economy grew and became more diverse, booming after World War I, crashing in the Great Depression, and rising again after World War II. Today, Maryland is a center of research and development for the U.S. space program.



Additional topics

21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Manuelito to Medical Association, American