The first inhabitants arrive in the geographic area now known as Maryland.
Maryland has more than 8,000 Native Americans from about 40 tribes.
Permanent Native American villages are established.
1498–1634 EARLY EUROPEAN EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT
John Cabot sails along the eastern coastline off present-day Worcester County.
Sailing for France, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, passes the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the Spanish governor of Florida, explores the Chesapeake Bay.
Captain John Smith explores the Chesapeake Bay.
George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, sails from Newfoundland to Baltimore.
The Maryland Charter is granted to Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, by Charles I, the King of Great Britain. The colony is named after Queen Henrietta Maria.
(November 22) Led by Leonard Calvert, Cecil Calvert's younger brother, the first English settlers bound for Maryland leave Cowes, England.
(March 25) Settlers land at St. Clement’s on what is now known as Maryland Day. The Calvert party celebrates the Feast of Annunciation, purchases land from the Native Americans, and then builds the Fort at St. Mary’s City. The first group of colonists includes 17 men and their wives, and about two hundred others (mostly indentured servants who would work off their passage). Maryland becomes one of the few predominantly Catholic regions among the English colonies.
1634–1739 MARYLAND COLONY
The first General Assembly, a law-making assembly of freemen, meets at St. Mary’s City.
Margaret Brent, the niece of Lord Baltimore, obtains the first recorded land grant in St. Mary's. She establishes the "Sister's Freehold." Brent is also the first practicing female attorney in the colonies.
Brent is ejected from the Maryland Assembly after demanding a place and vote.
Governor William Stone invites Puritans to settle in Maryland.
The Maryland Assembly passes the Maryland Toleration Act, providing freedom of worship for all Christians regardless of denomination. It is one of the first laws to do so.
Colonel Norwood is shipwrecked with 19 other men near Ocean City. He and his shipmates are hosted for a month and nursed back to health by the hospitable "Berlin" Native Americans.
Puritans jail Governor Stone after a military victory over the colony of Maryland in the Battle of the Severn. They subsequently outlaw Catholicism and Anglicanism.
The Calvert family regains control of Maryland and reinstates the Toleration Act.
Maryland passes the first anti-amalgamation law, making it illegal for an English woman to marry a man of African descent. It is first state to implement such a law.
Slavery is sanctioned by law in Maryland for the first time.
The capital city, St. Mary’s City, is incorporated. The design of the city is a literal separation of church and state, with the Catholic Church at one end and the State House and jail at the other end. This reinforces the importance of religious freedom for the colonists.
Voting is restricted to property owners with land worth at least 40 pounds.
Maryland colonists run out of food and survive by eating only oysters.
Maryland becomes a royal colony rather than a proprietary province. It will remain so until 1715 when the 4th Lord Baltimore restores proprietary rights.
Annapolis is made the state capital.
Maryland passes a law allowing divorce, but only if the husband's selection of wife displeases a clergyman or preacher.
The city of Baltimore is founded. The state's modern capital, Baltimore is now also its most populous city. By 2007 more than 2.6 million reside in its metro area.
1740–1775 PRE-REVOLUTIONARY MARYLAND
Native American chiefs of the Six Nations relinquish all land claims in the Maryland colony. The General Assembly subsequently purchases all remaining Native American land.
The Ohio Company establishes trading posts at Will’s Creek on the Potomac River.
John Stevenson ships the first cargo shipment of flour to Ireland. Flour export will significantly increase the development of Baltimore in subsequent years.
General Edward Braddock leads an expedition through Maryland to the west. French and Native American forces defeat Braddock’s troops near Fort Duquesne.
The first French-speaking settlers arrive in Baltimore from Nova Scotia.
Annapolis' Daniel Dulany, Jr. denounces the Stamp Act with his pamphlet Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in British Colonies. Despite his opposition to the act, Dulany remains a loyalist. As a result, his property is confiscated after the Revolutionary War.
The secret patriot organization Sons of Liberty is formed in Baltimore County. Leaders include Paul Revere, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, and John and Samuel Adams. The group will stage such revolutionary acts as the Boston Tea Party and the burning of HMS Gaspée in 1772, as well as coin the slogan "No taxation without representation."
The land survey by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon reaches the western boundary between Maryland and Virginia. The resulting Mason-Dixon line later becomes the dividing line between free states and slave states.
Maryland merchants begin refusing to import British goods.
The John Evans House, the first Methodist house of worship in the colonies, is built in Frederick County.
Cargo from a British East India Company tea ship is burned at Annapolis.
1776–1799 REVOLUTIONARY MARYLAND
(July 6) Maryland declares independence from Great Britain.
(November 3) Maryland adopts its own Bill of Rights.
Hoffman’s Mill is established, becoming the first paper mill in the United States. It supplies most of the paper for the currency authorized by the Continental Congress.
Maryland becomes the deciding state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. It previously refused to ratify the document until Virginia and New York agreed to rescind their claims to lands in the Northwest Territory.
Annapolis becomes the U.S. capital. It remains so until June 1784.
The Continental Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris in Annapolis, ending the Revolutionary War.
Maryland grants General Lafayette and his descendants citizenship for Lafayette's contributions to winning the American Revolution.
The Mount Vernon Compact, an agreement regarding navigation and fishing in the tidewaters of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, is ratified by Maryland. The document declares the Potomac River under Maryland's sole jurisdiction, although Virginia has access to it as a common waterway. It also provides for reciprocal fishing rights.
(September 17) Maryland ratifies the U.S. Constitution.
(April 28) Maryland becomes the 7th state to join the Union, but only on the condition that a Bill of Rights is added to the U.S. Constitution.
(December 19) Maryland ratifies the Bill of Rights.
Serving the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Father John Carroll is elected the United States' first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.
Maryland cedes a 100-square mile area of land for the creation of the seat of a federal government, the District of Columbia.
Maryland law now forbids the import of slaves for sale.
The Baltimore Monitor becomes the country's first Sunday newspaper.
1800–1859 POST-REVOLUTIONARY MARYLAND
Alex Brown establishes the first investment bank in the United States at 135 East Baltimore Street.
Maryland extends the vote to all white adult males by removing property qualifications for voting in local and state elections.
Thomas Moore of Brookville invents the refrigerator, revolutionizing food preservation.
Voting is extended to all white adult males for presidential and congressional elections.
(August 13) The War of 1812. Having been warned of a British attack, in the early morning residents of Saint Michaels hoist lanterns to the masts of ships and the tops of trees and extinguish all other lights. The height of the lights causes the British cannons to direct their fire too high and overshoot the town. Only one town building is struck in this first known "blackout"; it is now known as the "Cannonball House."
Peale Museum occupies the first building in the Western Hemisphere designed and built to be used as a public museum.
Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key writes the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. The poem eventually becomes "The Star-Spangled Banner," which is made the national anthem in 1931.
Maryland's Samuel Kirk and Son, the country's first silverware manufacturer, is founded.
Construction of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal begins. When completed in 1829, it links the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River.
Jews are granted the vote and the religious qualification to hold a civil office position is removed.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad creates the first public carrier railway in the United States. The first railroad station is built in Baltimore in 1830.
Riots earn the city of Baltimore the nickname "Mobtown."
(September 3) Disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery in Maryland and reaches New York about 24 hours later. Douglas becomes a famous orator and author and one of the most renowned figures of the U.S. Civil Rights movement, arguing for the abolition of slavery and for women’s suffrage.
Samuel F.B Morse receives the world's first telegraph message in Bladensburg. He soon creates the first telegraph line, which travels between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
(May 24) Morse taps out the telegraph message, "What hath God wrought?" to his partner Alfred Vail in Baltimore before a crowd of dignitaries at the Supreme Court.
Eastern High School and Western High School become the first publicly supported high schools for girls in the country.
(October 10) The United States Naval Academy is founded in Annapolis.
The Know-Nothing Riots rock Baltimore. Local gangs dominate the city's political landscape to the point where it earns the nickname "Mobtown." The anti-immigration Know-Nothing Party and the Democrats engage in various skirmishes in the fall leading up to the election, and several deaths occur in the fighting.
The country's first YMCA is opened at Pierce and Schroeder Streets in Baltimore.
1860–1899 THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION ERAS
(April 19) The Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment is attacked in Baltimore by a mob bearing Confederate flags. Four soldiers and 9 civilians are killed.
(April 22) Federal troops occupy Annapolis.
(April 29) The Maryland House of Delegates votes against secession from the Union on April 29. During the Civil War, about 60,000 Maryland men fight for the Union. Roughly 25,000 fight for the Confederacy despite the fact that the state remains in the Union.
The U.S. Naval Academy is relocated from Annapolis to Newport, Rhode Island.
(September 17) The Battle of Antietam becomes the bloodiest in U.S. history, resulting in 4,800 dead and 18,000 wounded on both sides. The next day, Confederate General Robert E. Lee began his retreat back over the Potomac River.
(November 1) The Maryland State Constitution of 1864 Maryland frees the state's slaves.
Frederick Douglass dedicates the Douglass Institute in Baltimore. Named in honor of the abolitionist and former slave,
The State Oyster Police is formed to enforce oyster laws on the Chesapeake Bay in response to Maryland’s diminishing oyster resources.
(February 22) Johns Hopkins University is founded in Baltimore. Baltimore entrepreneur and abolitionist Johns Hopkins wills $7 million for the project; at the time, it the largest philanthropic donation in U.S. history.
The B&O passenger-car roundhouse, the largest circular industrial building in the world, is built in Baltimore.
When oyster fishermen accuse each other of trespassing across state lines, Oyster Wars between Maryland and Virginia are waged on Chesapeake Bay, leading to violent and often fatal conflicts.
Steel production begins at Sparrows Point. By the mid-20th century, the site features the largest steel mill in the world. During the 1970s and 1980s, Maryland's once-robust steel industry experiences a steep decline.
1900–1949 EARLY TO MID-20TH CENTURY
A law making labor from children under the age of 12 illegal is passed, as well as a mandatory school attendance law.
Maryland becomes the first state to enact workers' compensation laws.
(February 7–8) The Great Baltimore Fire destroys over 1,500 buildings and causes $80 million in damages.
Maryland bans Christian Scientists from practicing medicine without a medical diploma.
(February 24) Maryland rejects the 19th Amendment, which gives women the right to vote.
The Ku Klux Klan leads rallies in Frederick and Baltimore.
Maryland courts order equal pay for African-American teachers across the state.
The U.S. enters World War II. During the war, the Glenn L. Martin Company (now part of Lockheed Martin) airplane factory near Essex employs some 40,000 people.
Maryland becomes the 40th state to ratify the 19th amendment, 21 years after its passage.
Maryland institutes the first state sales tax in the country.
1950–PRESENT MODERN MARYLAND
(September 7–8) Public school integration begins in Baltimore.
The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a provision in Maryland’s constitution that requires state officeholders to profess a belief in God.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge opens. At 4.3 miles (7 km), at the time it is the world's longest continuous over-water steel structure.
Race riots take place in Cambridge. The Maryland National Guard occupies the city for almost a year in order to quell the violence.
(May 15) Arthur Bremer shoots Alabama governor George Wallace in Laurel, Maryland, while Wallace campaigns during the Democratic presidential primary. Wallace is left paralyzed and Bremer is sentenced to 63 years in prison. He is released on parole in 2007.
Maryland ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment, which grant equal rights regardless of sex. It fails to gain ratification before the June 30, 1982, deadline but is reintroduced in 2009.
Maryland declares that only marriage between a man and woman is valid in the state.
Samuel Byck attempts to hijack a plane out of Baltimore-Washington Airport with the intent to crash it into the White House and kill President Richard Nixon. Byck kills the pilot and an aviation officer before he is wounded by gunfire. He then commits suicide.
The U.S. Naval Academy admits women for the first time with the induction of 81 female midshipmen.
Kurt Schmoke becomes the first African-American mayor in Maryland when he is elected mayor of Baltimore.
Nearly one million fish die in the tributaries of the Pocomoke River due to depleted oxygen from drought conditions.
The Maryland state legislature approves same-sex marriage, the eighth state in the country to do so.
Click to enlarge an image
1498: John Cabot
1572: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
1608: Captain John Smith
1629: George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore
1632: Henrietta Maria of France
1633: Leonard Calvert
1639: Speculative painting of Margaret Brent
1649: A large broadside reprint of the Maryland Toleration Act
1655: Governor William Stone
1692: Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Lord Baltimore
1755: General Edward Braddock
1766: John Hancock
1766: Samuel Adams
1766: Burning of the Gaspée
1784: Marquis de La Fayette
1789: John Carroll
1814: Francis Scott Key
1838: Frederick Douglass
1844: Original Samuel Morse telegraph
1845: United States Naval Academy seal
1904: The aftermath of the Great Baltimore Fire
1941: The B-26 Marauder, a bomber produced by the Glenn L. Martin Company
1974: Richard Nixon, 37th president of the United States