About Baltimore City

           Baltimore city, north-central Maryland, U.S. It lies at the head of the Patapsco River estuary, 15 miles (24 km) above Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is Maryland's largest city and economic hub and covers a land area of 81 square miles (209 square km). The city, separated from Baltimore county in 1851, is the only city in Maryland not located within a county.
           Baltimore was established in 1729 and named for the Irish barony of Baltimore (seat of the Calvert family, proprietors of the colony of Maryland). The founders intended the settlement to be merely an outlet for locally grown tobacco, but by 1760 Baltimore was exporting considerable amounts of flour as well as tobacco. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, it was a bustling seaport and shipbuilding centre. Baltimore clippers plied the seas, and trade extended to the Caribbean. The U.S. Navy's first ship, Constellation, was launched in Baltimore in 1797, and its namesake, the last all-sail warship built (1854) for the navy, has been moored in the city's harbour since 1968; in the late 1990s the ship underwent extensive restoration. After the British occupation of Philadelphia during the U.S. War of Independence, the Continental Congress met in Baltimore (December 1776-March 1777). During the War of 1812 the British tried to capture Baltimore; U.S. forces' successful defense (Sept. 13-14, 1814) of nearby Fort McHenry (now a national monument and historic shrine) was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner." In 1827 the nation's first railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, started from the city's Mount Clare Station (preserved; now the site of a railroad museum). During the American Civil War (1861-65), though Maryland did not secede from the Union, many of its citizens had Southern sympathies. Union troops occupied Baltimore throughout the war, and the city recovered only gradually from that period of severe disruption.
           A fire on Feb. 7, 1904, razed most of the business district, but recovery was rapid. At the beginning of World War I, Baltimore began to develop industrially with the construction of steelworks, oil refineries, and related war industries. It is now a major seaport with extensive ship-repair facilities and a highly diversified economy. The headquarters of the Federal Social Security Administration is in the city, and industrial parks dot the surrounding area. The port, which is relatively free of shipping hazards, opens to the sea through Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. A period of urban decay in the city centre after World War II was followed by a major renovation of the downtown and waterfront areas.
           In the 1920s and early '30s Baltimore acquired an intellectual aura from the work of H.L. Mencken, essayist and editor, and his circle, including journalists on The Sun newspaper. Educational institutions in the Baltimore area include the renowned Johns Hopkins University (1876); Coppin State College (1900), Towson University (1866), the University of Maryland, Baltimore (1807), and the University of Baltimore (1925), all part of the University of Maryland system; and Loyola College (1852), the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (1873), Morgan State University (1867), the Maryland Institute College of Art (1826), and the Peabody Conservatory of Music (1857). The city's cultural facilities include the Enoch Pratt Free Library (1884), the Peale Museum (1814), the Baltimore Museum of Art (1914), the Walters Art Gallery (1934), and a symphony orchestra, civic opera, and stage theatre. The city's Inner Harbor area was revitalized in the 1980s and includes the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
           In 1789 Baltimore became the first Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1806-20) was the nation's first Roman Catholic cathedral; St. Mary's Seminary and University was founded in 1791. The Shot Tower (1828) is a 234-foot (71-metre) shaft that was used to manufacture round shot. The Washington Monument (1829), a 178-foot (54-metre) Doric column, is located north of the city centre. Hampton National Historic Site, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and Pimlico Race Course (home of the Preakness Stakes) are nearby.
           The city's representatives in professional sports are the Orioles (baseball) and the Ravens (football). The birthplace of the baseball player Babe Ruth is preserved as a shrine and museum. The Lacrosse Hall of Fame Museum at Johns Hopkins University attests to the popularity of the old Indian game in Baltimore.
           The Baltimore-Washington International Airport also serves Washington, D.C. The Harbor Tunnel Thruway (1957) and Francis Scott Key Bridge (1977) cross the Patapsco River. Inc. town, 1745; city, 1796. Pop. (1990) city, 736,014; Baltimore PMSA, 2,382,172; Washington-Baltimore CMSA, 6,726,395; (1996 est.) city, 675,401; (1995 est.) Baltimore PMSA, 2,469,985; Washington-Baltimore CMSA, 7,107,116.