Top 10 Most Important Historical Facts About Baltimore, Maryland
History is defined as nothing but the register of crimes and follies. But it would be unwise to trace and interpret the History of Baltimore, Maryland with this narrow outlook. The history of Baltimore from its early colonial days to the present day has always been turbulent. Baltimore had been in the forefront in the freedom struggle of the early thirteen American colonies and its pioneering role is laudable. However, Baltimore also had many ups and downs in its spectacular history. Hence, it is quite a tough task to choose the top ten most important historical facts of Baltimore.
1. Baltimore established in 1729 and grew into a leading sugar manufacturer:
Baltimore, being the largest city of Maryland was established in the year 1729.It was named after the first proprietary Governor of Maryland, Lord Baltimore. As the leading manufacturer of sugar for the Caribbean colonies, Baltimore had a rapid growth in the 18th century. The short distance between Baltimore and the Caribbean colonies and the cultivation of more sugar cane facilitated Baltimore to develop as the leading manufacturer of sugar.
2. Baltimore’s leading role in the American Revolution: Second Continental Congress in 1776 and 1777
Having been a seaport and located in a strategic position in Maryland and among the early thirteen colonies, Baltimore played a leading and significant role in the American Revolution. Baltimore under the leadership of Jonathan Plowman and others joined other colonies to oppose the taxes imposed by England and refused to have trade contacts with her. The leaders of the early thirteen colonies even convened the second continental congress at Baltimore between December 1776 and February, 1777 virtually making it the then capital of the early thirteen colonies
3. Expansion of the City of Baltimore with the additional territories (1796):
Carving out and incorporating additional territories such as Jonestown and Fells Point from the nearby area, an expanded city of Baltimore was created in the year 1796 and the city remained the part of the county of Baltimore
4. Role of the City of Baltimore in the war of 1812:
When the war broke out between England and the independent America in the year 1812, the English troops having attacked Washington, invaded into the city of Baltimore. The battle of Baltimore was a fierce naval battle between the English ships and the Americans. The Baltimore troops successfully defended the port of Baltimore winning the naval battle decisively against the English navy.
It sparked the imagination of Francis Scott Key, a Maryland Lawyer to write the national anthem of US, “ the Star Spangled Banner”. Thus the battle of Baltimore while enforcing a decisive win against the English in the war of 1812, also gave the National Anthem to US. The Battle of Baltimore also significantly increased her population, besides providing a fillip to her manufacturing activities.
5. Baltimore was nicknamed as ‘Monument City”(1827):
Following her significant role in the war of 1812, President John Quincy Adams paid a visit to the historic city Baltimore and in recognition of her pioneering role in the war of 1812, gave her the nickname ‘the Monument City.” Besides, Baltimore built the first architectural monument in honor of George Washington. Battle Monument was another monument erected in memory of the battle of Baltimore in the war of 1812.Till date Baltimore city is also known as the Monument City.
6. The Baltimore Bank riot (1834):
The Bank of Maryland, one of the oldest charter banks in the state of Maryland was closed on March 24, 1834, due to the fraud committed by the directors of the bank.The fraud was published in the Baltimore Republican that arose the investors and the public opinion against the bank that led to the Baltimore Bank riot during the month of August, 1834.
Though the riot was violent, a conspicuous feature of the riot was that the rioters targeted only the immovable properties such as houses of the directors who had committed the mindless frauds, but they specifically spared the properties of the honest people undisturbed. When the riot ended, it led to quite interesting post-riot analyses. The Baltimore press put the blame on ‘bank’s failure to partisan exchanges about the social, political and economic conditions that had laid the foundation for the riots’ The Whigs blamed it on ‘ the Populist Jacksonianism that run amok’ The democrats blamed it ‘on the inherent dislocation of the market system and the popular dissatisfaction with the market as arbiter’
7. World’s First Dental school was founded in Baltimore (1840):
Baltimore was lucky to have the world’s First Dental School. A National Museum on dentistry has also been established here with a mission to spread awareness about the oral health by creating and sharing learning opportunities about dentistry.
8. Baltimore during the Civil War (1861 to 1865):
Baltimore, Maryland, a state that depended heavily on slavery for her sugar manufacturing units backed by sugar cane agriculture, sided with the predominantly agricultural southern states during the civil war. Hence, though Maryland did not secede from the Union, the latter viewed her with suspicion that it might secede from it any time. Hence, when the Union government decided to send her troops to Baltimore, it was violently opposed by the people of Baltimore.
Hence, the Union government took control of Baltimore from 1861 to 1865.When the city was under the occupation of the Union, the city’s business ties with the south gradually came to an end. In the result Baltimore lost the pre-eminence as an economy based on manufacturing business. Consequent to the emancipation of slavery, more and more black people settled in Baltimore making it virtually an African-American city.
9. The Great Baltimore Fire (1904):
A major fire that broke out in Baltimore on 7, February, 1904, destroyed almost half of the central Baltimore covering an area of 140 acres, accounting for as many as 1500 buildings that cost an estimated loss of $ 150 millions to its economy. The great fire could be extinguished only by using as many as 1231 fire fighters, apart from engaging services of nearby states, shows the enormity of the task involved. Above all, the fire accident drove the American government to take radical steps in making fire fighting equipments and administration. Despite sustaining heavy damages in the great fire, Baltimore recovered quickly by rapidly constructing houses and other buildings. However during the great fire, Baltimore Mayor bluntly refused to accept monetary help from the neighboring states.
10. The riots of Baltimore (1968):
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was short dead in the year 1968, the city of Baltimore was devastated by a terrible violence killing 6 people, injuring 12 and damaging hundreds of properties that cost nearly $10 million. Consequent to the riots, Baltimore had also suffered a decline in her population. However, by the year 2003-2004, Baltimore had recovered from her population decline.
Thus the city of Baltimore had undergone many ups and downs in its history in particular suffering extreme losses in its economy. Baltimore flourished as a manufacturing economy during the 18th and 19th centuries. But it completely lost its way during the civil war and her economy was shattered. Now, Baltimore is essentially a service-oriented economy, whose people are mostly employed in service sectors, in particular, John Hopkins University and Hospitals in Baltimore.