40 Funny Facts About Maryland: Curious Things You Might Not Know About The Free State

Amy Lines
Dec 12, 2023 By Amy Lines
Originally Published on Dec 01, 2020
Maryland has many beautiful landscapes.

Have you ever wondered where the oldest continuously published newspaper comes from?

Well perhaps not, but that and other interesting facts about Maryland can all be found here! Maryland is a state famous for its blue crabs, its many seasons and its feral ponies.

There are so many cool facts about Maryland, as well as some surprisingly creepy ones. Did you know that Ouija Boards and spooky authors of Gothic fiction also had their start in this state?

Many famous historical names, who have really shaped modern day America were either born or lived in Maryland.

Activist and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and conductor of the Underground Railroad (not to mention spy, guerrilla soldier and nurse) Harriet Tubman were both born in Maryland and worked their entire lives to create change there. Francis Scott Key, who wrote the American national anthem, and Edgar Allan Poe, author of terrifying tales and poems, are also both Marylanders.

There are plenty of cool historical facts about this seaboard state, and we have found the most interesting ones for you to peruse.

So if you are interested in exploring some Maryland facts and history, or perhaps just curious to discover some hidden trivia all about Maryland, this is the list for you! Once you have had your fill of Maryland fun facts, why not take a look at these Vermont facts, or Michigan facts too?

Historical Facts About Maryland

As with all US states, Maryland was previously home to Indigenous Americans. John Smith was the first European to arrive in Chesapeake Bay and "discover" it. Since this time, through trials and tribulations, Maryland has been able to develop a tradition of political and religious freedom. Check out these Maryland history facts to learn more important facts about Maryland.

1. Maryland as we know it today was named after Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I of England.

2. In 1632 this colony of Maryland was founded by Sir George Calvert, also known as Lord Baltimore.

3. The state seal of Maryland was taken from Lord Baltimore’s family crest. It includes their family motto; 'Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine'.  The translation: "manly deeds, womanly words", is generally quite unpopular now that beliefs are much more modern.

4.Tourism information in Maryland often rephrases their motto as "strong deeds, gentle words".

5. Maryland is technically considered part of the Southern states. The Mason-Dixon line goes right between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Up until the Civil War broke out in 1861, this hadn't been a problem but in Maryland, loyalties were divided. Most of the population supported the Union but some decided to fight for the Confederacy.

6. Slavery in Maryland lasted for approximately 200 years, beginning in 1642, and ending after the Civil War.

7. Prominent activist, author and public speaker Frederick Douglass was born in Talbot County, Maryland and escaped from slavery as a young man. Douglass was a leader of the abolitionist movement and he campaigned tirelessly for the end of slavery.

8. Harriet Tubman is another iconic figure who was also born into slavery in Maryland. She escaped in 1849, but returned to Maryland, using the Underground Railroad to make 13 separate secret missions which helped 70 enslaved people to make their way to freedom.

9. In 1864, during the Civil War at the Raid at Combahee Ferry, Harriet Tubman, by then working with the Union Army, was able to help over 700 enslaved men, women and children escape.

10. Maryland has been given many nicknames over the years. 'The Old Line State', from the Revolutionary War, was given by General George Washington when 400 soldiers in the First Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000 and helped his army to escape.

11. 'The Free State' is another nickname, given in 1919 when a law was passed by Congress to prohibit the sale and use of alcohol. Marylanders opposed the prohibition as a violation of freedom.

12. The American national anthem, 'Star Spangled Banner'  was written by Francis Scott Key in Maryland in 1814.

13. The United States Naval Academy, is based in Annapolis, Maryland. This is the second oldest of the five United States service academies.  

Geography Of Maryland

Maryland is literally a state of ups and downs, with a varied natural environment. From it's wild ponies to the abundant fresh and salt water sea life, Maryland has a little bit of everything all rolled into one rather small state. These Maryland facts will teach you more.

14. Maryland is sometimes called 'Little America' due to the fact it has terrain common found all over the United States, but not usually all in the same place! Maryland has mountains, farmland, sand dunes, forests and beaches.

15. Despite being a small state, Maryland has the climate for ski resorts and beach resorts!

16. The capital of Maryland state is a city called Annapolis, many assume the capital is Baltimore as it is a more famous city. Annapolis even became the temporary capital of the United States in 1783.

17. Maryland is home to some unusual town names, 'Boring' has a population of just 280 people, while nearby town 'Accident' is home to a population of 325!

18. Maryland is home to the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. This semi-enclosed coastal body of water has a free connection to the open sea, and is a mix of both salt water and freshwater.

19. The Chesapeake Bay is the perfect tourist location, it is popular for activities such as fishing, crabbing, swimming, boating, kayaking and sailing.

20. More than 500 million pounds of seafood is harvested from the Chesapeake Bay every year, including the Blue Crab that Maryland is so famous for.

21. The area of land that drains into the bay, known as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, is 64,000 square miles and included parts of five other states. Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, and Washington DC (capital of the United States) are all encompassed by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

22. Due to it's changeable climate, Maryland can be at risk from a variety of natural disasters! For example, heat waves, hurricanes, ice storms and nor’easters.

23. Assateague Island in Maryland is home to the famous wild Chincoteague ponies. Around 300 of these feral ponies currently live on the island.

24. People from Maryland have a variety of accents, between Western Maryland, Baltimore and the Eastern Shore, you will hear a variety of dialects.

25. Baltimore natives are known for having  very distinctive accent. The key feature is a sound change called 'fronting back vowels'. So words with vowels that would usually be pronounced with the tongue in the back of the mouth, are pronounced instead with the tongue at the front.

Fun Facts About Maryland

As well as a varied terrain and a rich history, Maryland is also the birthplace of many household names and inventions. Check out this list of things Maryland is famous for, including one cool invention, and the first dental school, these wonderful and weird facts about Maryland are sure to be things you haven't seen before!

26. The Maryland Gazetteis the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States, it has been in print since 1727 .

27. In 1784 first ever hot air balloon ascension in the United States happened in Baltimore.

28. The first female professor of medicine is from Maryland. Dr Florence Rena Sabin graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1901.

29. Did you know the refrigerator is one of the things invented in Maryland? In 1803 a cabinetmaker, engineer, and farmer named Thomas Moore found he needed a way to transport butter from Georgetown to his home in Montgomery County, Maryland, and so the humble ice box was created.

30. The first dental school in the United States was established in Baltimore in 1828 and named St Francis Academy. This later became the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1839.

31. Once named the greatest baseball player of all time, Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore Maryland on 6 February, 1895.

32. The first Ouija board was invented in Baltimore. This ghostly game was created by Elijah Bond and Helen Peters, a medium.

33. Although he wasn't actually born in Baltimore (as he sometimes claimed!), Edgar Allan Poe, the writer and poet has strong ties to Maryland and spent most of his life there.

34. The people of Baltimore are proud of their link to the dark and macabre author, and have paid homage to him in a few fun ways! The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is an immortalized showcase of where and how he lived. The Baltimore Ravens also have three mascots, named Edgar, Allan and Poe!

Maryland Facts About Food

Maryland is a state full of foodies, and for good reason. Maryland is known for its seafood but most of all for its crabs! But it's not just about the crabs, check out this Maryland trivia all about the delicious seafood and deserts that make this state a foodie tourist hot spot.

35. Maryland designated the blue crab as the official state crustacean in 1989.

36. Crab cakes are something of a delicacy in Maryland! Tourists travel to Maryland purely to try the famous crab cakes. Over lunchtime at Chesapeake Bay, more crab cakes are sold than hot dogs and hamburgers combined.

37. As well as the hearty crab cakes, you'll also find steamed crabs, soft shell crabs, or cream of crab soup on the menu.

38. Old Bay Seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices in a distinctive yellow, blue and red box that was originally created in Baltimore, Maryland. The seasoning is a mix of celery salt, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper and paprika. Old Bay seasoning is easily as common as salt and pepper in Maryland!

39. Smith Island Cake is the Official State Dessert of Maryland, this decadent cake has been a staple of The Eastern Shore since the 1800s.  The traditional Smith Island cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and there should be between eight and 12 very thin layers.

40. If you are a popcorn fan, you need to head to Fisher's Popcorn in Maryland. Opened in 1937, Everett Fisher used high quality ingredients to come up with his secret caramel recipe. This family run business still use copper kettles to make the popcorn, and Fisher's original secret recipe.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our interesting facts about the state of Maryland, then check out these facts about Nevada and facts about Maine.

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Written by Amy Lines

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Fashion/Apparel Design

Amy Lines picture

Amy LinesBachelor of Arts specializing in Fashion/Apparel Design

With a degree in Fashion Design from Falmouth University, Amy has a passion for textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants which she enjoys filling her beautiful home in Hampshire with. She also has a keen interest in infant and child sleep patterns and mindfulness for adults and children, inspired by her energetic and chatty three-year-old daughter. When not exploring the outdoors, Amy can be found painting, knitting, and dancing at home.

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