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Enoch Pratt Free Library Digital Collections

About this collection

A selection of historic maps that provides snapshots of the growth and development of Maryland's counties and the City of Baltimore from 1650-1939.

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Collection Location: Maryland Department Map Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center

Map of Maryland, map of Baltimore, and map of Maryland and DelwareCollection Overview: On June 20, 1632, Charles I, King of England, granted the Charter of Maryland to Caecilius Calvert, second Baron of Baltimore. That auspicious day in the history of Maryland took place just two months after the death of Cecil's father, George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. After becoming the first Lord Baltimore in 1625 George Calvert had petitioned the King for a grant of land north of the Potomac River. King Charles had agreed but George died before he could see the fruits of that petition.

Due to land disputes with neighboring states the original boundaries of Maryland set forth in the charter are a bit different from her present day boundaries, particularly as pertains to the Eastern Shore area. The northernmost boundary started at the fortieth parallel, or forty degrees north of the equator. The southernmost boundary was primarily water bound by the Potomac River and crossed over the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore just south of Watkins Point, leaving the lower tip of the Shore in Virginia. The westernmost boundary of Maryland dropped in a perpendicular line from the fortieth parallel to the mouth of the Potomac River. The easternmost boundary dropped from the fortieth parallel along the tributary that feeds into the Delaware Bay and along the coast at the Atlantic Ocean including land that is now part of Delaware.

Like so many cells dividing, Maryland's seven original counties (St. Mary's, Kent, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Talbot, and Somerset), over the state's 370-year history, have evolved  into 23 counties and the City of Baltimore. The selection of maps in this collection provides snapshots of the growth and development of Maryland's counties and the City of Baltimore.

Quick facts about the counties:

County Year Established Notes
St. Mary's 1637 Original County
Kent 1642 Original County
Anne Arundel 1650 Original County
Calvert 1654 Original County
Charles 1658 Original County
Baltimore 1660 Erected from Anne Arundel County
Talbot 1662 Original County
Somerset 1666 Original County
Dorchester 1669 Erected from Somerset and Talbot Counties
Cecil 1674 Erected from Baltimore and Kent Counties
Prince George's 1695 Erected from Calvert and Charles Counties
Queen Anne's 1706 Erected from Dorchester, Kent, and Talbot Counties
Worcester 1742 Erected from Somerset County
Frederick 1748 Erected from Baltimore and Prince George's Counties
Caroline 1773 Erected from Dorchester and Queen Anne's Counties
Harford 1773 Erected from Baltimore County
Montgomery 1776 Erected from Frederick County
Washington 1776 Erected from Frederick County
Allegany 1789 Erected from Washington County
Carroll 1837 Erected from Baltimore and Frederick Counties
Howard 1851 Erected from Anne Arundel County
Baltimore City 1851 Erected from Baltimore County
Wicomico 1867 Erected from Somerset and Worcester Counties
Garrett 1872 Erected from Allegany County

 

Source: Maryland State Archives Reference & Research, http://guide.mdsa.net/viewer.cfm?page=counties.

Related Material:

Charles I, King of England. The Charter of Mary Landhttp://www.msa.md.gov/msa/educ/exhibits/founding/html/charter.html.

Maryland State Archives. "Historical Chronology." Maryland Manual On-Line: A Guide to Maryland Government. http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/chron/html/chron.html.

Papenfuse, Edward C. & Coale, Joseph M., III. The Maryland State Archives Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

 
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