Population (2013 Estimate) 622,000
Baltimore Metropolitan Area: 2.7 million
Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland, and the 26th-most populous city in the country. It is the largest independent city in the United States. Baltimore has more public monuments than any other city per capita in the country and is home to some of the earliest National Register historic districts in the nation, including Fell's Point, Federal Hill and Mount Vernon Place. Roughly one in three buildings in the city, are listed on the National Register, more than any other city in the nation.
Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufacturing, industrialization and rail transportation, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy, with the Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889), and Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876), now the city's top two employers
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Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxes, and merchants signed agreements to not trade with Britain. The Second Continental Congress met in the Henry Fite House from December 1776 to February 1777, effectively making the city the capital of the United States during this period.
The city was the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. After burning Washington, D.C., the British attacked Baltimore outside the eastern outskirts of town on the "Patapsco Neck" on September 12, at the Battle of North Point, then on the night of September 13–14, 1814. United States forces from Fort McHenry successfully defended the city's harbor from the British. Francis Scott Key, (1779–1843), a Maryland lawyer from Georgetown and Frederick, was aboard a British ship where he had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes.
Key witnessed the bombardment from this ship and after seeing the huge American flag on the morning of September 14, 1814, he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", a poem recounting the attack. Key's poem was set to a 1780 tune by British composer John Stafford Smith, and "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States in 1931.
Maryland remained part of the Union during the American Civil War despite being a slave state, in addition to popular support for secession in its southern and eastern regions, along with Baltimore, all of which benefited greatly from both the tobacco and slave trades. When Union soldiers from the Sixth Massachusetts state militia and some unarmed Pennsylvania state militia known as the "Washington Brigade" from Philadelphia with their band marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers attacked the troops, which led to the first bloodshed in the Civil War during the Baltimore riot of 1861.