Baltimore History

Baltimore history started in the 1600s with the granting of land in the area to George Calvert, otherwise known as Lord Baltimore. King Charles I of England had the power to grant land as such in colonial America, and it was in 1632 that he awarded Lord Baltimore with his sizable plot along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

The area that is today Baltimore County first took on its county name in 1659, and by the 1660s, the Maryland General Assembly started granting land patents to colonists. The thriving tobacco trade on the eastern seaboard sustained the early colonists, as did the water-driven mills that popped up along the tributaries of the Patapsco River. A port was established in 1706, mainly to support the tobacco trade, and not long after that, the city of Baltimore itself was founded.

One of the most important years in the history of Baltimore Maryland is 1729. On July 30 of this year, Baltimore was officially founded as a town. Thanks to the tobacco trade and the growing mill industry, it didn't take long for Baltimore to grow into a major trading hub on the east coast. In terms of Baltimore Inner Harbor history, the harbor saw ships full of tobacco leaving for Europe on a regular basis starting in the 1740s. The river mills churned out both flour and grain that was especially valuable to the sugar-producing colonies that were found throughout the Caribbean. During this period in Baltimore history, things were good. The oncoming Revolutionary War, however, eventually put a damper on the good times, at least for a while.

The late 1700s and early 1800s was a rather tumultuous period in the history of Baltimore Maryland. The city played a significant role in the various events that led to the Revolutionary War, with the refusal to trade with Britain in the late 1700s being a major instigator. After the U.S. defeated the British in the Revolutionary War, Baltimore essentially picked up where it left off in terms of commercial pursuits. The growing shipbuilding industry, which is a large part of Baltimore Inner Harbor history, helped the city prosper, and in 1797, official city status was granted.

The British didn't exactly go away once the Revolutionary War was over. In 1812, a new war broke out between the United States and the British Empire. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry, which was designed in 1798, successfully defended the Baltimore Harbor. This is one of the most significant moments in Baltimore Inner Harbor history, as well as the larger history of the city. As the British bombarded the fort and the Inner Harbor on the whole during the War of 1812, one Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner. This poem was eventually set to music and became the U.S. national anthem. Fort McHenry can still be found at its original site on Locust Point and is one of the best attractions relating to the history of Baltimore Maryland.

After the War of 1812 ended, Baltimore started to grow in rapid fashion. This had a lot to do with the establishment of the privately owned Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1830. This railroad linked Baltimore to the Midwest's major markets, which in turn saw Baltimore become a major manufacturing center. A number of churches, one of which is the famous Baltimore Basilica, sprung up around town as Baltimore continued to prosper, and until the Civil War started, things were going great. During the war, the entire state of Maryland fell under federal control due mostly to its location, though things returned to "normal" once the war was over. In 1904, however, another major moment in Baltimore history once again put a damper on things. This was the year that the Great Baltimore Fire destroyed most of the city. Baltimore was quickly rebuilt, however, and became a rather prosperous place to be in the early twentieth century.

As is true of many cities across the U.S., Baltimore began to decline in the 1960s and 70s. The downtown area and the Inner Harbor were largely neglected after many city dwellers made an exodus to the suburbs, and this area was mostly filled with abandoned warehouses. A revitalization effort was sparked in the 1970s, however, and this effort lasted well into the 1990s. The Baltimore Convention Center, National Aquarium, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards are just some of the fantastic attractions that were built during the city's revitalization period.

When it comes to the more specific Baltimore Inner Harbor history, it is important to note that this harbor was the second leading port of entry for European immigrants after New York City's Ellis Island. You can take a tour of Baltimore's Inner Harbor if you want to learn more about its history on a visit to the city, and as far as learning more about the city on the whole, there are various museums and historical landmarks of interest that are not to be overlooked. The museums include the Maryland Historical Society and the B&O Railroad Museum, while Fort McHenry and the Battle Monument are among the most significant historical landmarks. The latter is the official symbol of the city and commemorates the Battle of Baltimore. It can be found on Calvert Street about five blocks north of the Inner Harbor waterfront.

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