Baltimore - History

History

The Maryland colonial General Assembly created the Port of Baltimore at Locust Point in 1706 for the tobacco trade. The Town of Baltimore was founded on July 30, 1729, and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert), who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Cecilius Calvert was a son of George Calvert, who became the First Lord Baltimore of County Longford, Ireland in 1625. Baltimore grew swiftly in the 18th century as a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the cultivation of cane and the importation of food.

Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxes and merchants signed agreements to not trade with Britain. The Second Continental Congress met in the Henry Fite House from December 1776 to February 1777, effectively making the city the capital of the United States during this period. After the war, the Town of Baltimore, nearby Jonestown, and an area known as Fells Point were incorporated as the City of Baltimore in 1796. The city remained a part of Baltimore County until 1851 when it was made an independent city.

The city was the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. After burning Washington, D.C., the British attacked Baltimore on the night of September 13, 1814. United States forces from Fort McHenry successfully defended the city's harbor from the British. Francis Scott Key, a Maryland lawyer, was aboard a British ship where he had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes.

Key witnessed the bombardment from this ship and after seeing the huge American flag on the morning of September 14, 1814, he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", a poem recounting the attack. Key's poem was set to a 1780 tune by British composer John Stafford Smith, and the Star-Spangled Banner became the official National Anthem of the United States in 1931.

Following the Battle of Baltimore, the city's population grew rapidly. The construction of the Federally funded National Road (which later became part of U.S. Route 40) and the private Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) made Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center by linking the city with major markets in the Midwest. A distinctive local culture started to take shape, and a unique skyline peppered with churches and monuments developed. Baltimore acquired its moniker, "The Monumental City" after an 1827 visit to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams. At an evening function Adams gave the following toast: "Baltimore: the Monumental City- May the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy, as the days of her dangers have been trying and triumphant." Baltimore suffered one of the worst riots of the antebellum south in 1835, when bad investments led to the Baltimore bank riot.

Maryland, a slave state, did not secede from the Union during the American Civil War; however, when Union soldiers marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers attacked the troops, which led to the Baltimore riot of 1861. Four soldiers and 12 civilians were killed during the riot, which caused Union troops to occupy Baltimore. Maryland came under direct federal administration—in part, to prevent the state from seceding—until the end of the war in April 1865.

Following an economic depression known as the Panic of 1873, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company attempted to lower its workers' wages, leading to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. On July 20, 1877, Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll called up the 5th and 6th Regiments of the National Guard to end the strikes, which had disrupted train service at Cumberland in western Maryland. Citizens sympathetic to the railroad workers attacked the national guard troops as they marched from their armories in Baltimore to Camden Station. Soldiers from the 6th Regiment fired on the crowd, killing 10 and wounding 25. Rioters then damaged B&O trains and burned portions of the rail station. Order was restored in the city on July 21–22 when federal troops arrived to protect railroad property and end the strike.

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