Maryland History Timeline
1608 – Captain John Smith explores the Chesapeake Bay
1631 – English trading post established on Kent Island
1632 – Maryland Charter granted to Cecilius Calvert by King Charles I
1633 – Ark and Dove sail from the Isle of Wight, England
1634 – Ark and Dove arrive at St. Clements Island; St. Mary's City founded
1649 – "An Act Concerning Religion" passed; Puritans founded Providence (now Annapolis)
1664 – Slavery allowed by law in Maryland
1695 – Annapolis becomes the capital of Maryland
1708 – England’s Queen Anne grants Annapolis its City Charter
1727 – Maryland Gazette founded - the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States
1729 – Baltimore founded
1767 – Mason-Dixon Line established as Maryland's northern boundary
1776 – Four Marylanders sign the Declaration of Independence
1783 – Annapolis became the nation's capital from November 1783 until August 1784
1784 – George Washington resigned his commission in the State House
1784 – Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris in the State House, officially recognizing the United States as an independent and sovereign nation.
1786 – Annapolis Convention called for meeting to discuss new form of government
1788 – Maryland becomes the seventh state to ratify the U. S. Constitution
1791 – Maryland donates land for the new capital, Washington D.C.
1806 – The Historic National Road, which will stretch from Maryland to the Ohio River, is commissioned as America’s first federally funded highway. Construction begins in Cumberland five years later.
1813 – British raid Havre de Grace during the War of 1812
1814 – British burn Washington and bomb Fort McHenry; Francis Scott Key writes the "Star- Spangled Banner"
1826 – Public schools established by law; Jews given right to vote and to hold public office
1828 – Building begun on the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad
1829 – C&O Canal opened
1830 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s first 13 miles of track connect Baltimore to Ellicott City, where America’s first railroad terminal opens in 1831
1833 – The seven-arch Monocacy Aqueduct is completed, becoming the largest structure on the C&O Canal. Measuring more than 500 feet in length, it has survived both hurricanes and Confederate attacks
1837 – Baltimore Sun newspaper begins publication
1838 – Disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass boards a train to Havre de Grace and finds freedom from slavery. The Eastern Shore native later gains international fame as an orator and statesman.
1844 – World's first telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington established
1845 – The school that would become the U.S. Naval Academy is established at Fort Severn, Annapolis, with seven professors and 40 midshipmen.
1849 – Destined to write nevermore, Edgar Allan Poe dies while traveling in Baltimore. He is laid to rest at a memorial grave in the Westminster Burying Ground in Baltimore.
1850 – One year after escaping slavery in the Cambridge area, Harriett Tubman becomes a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad and rescues numerous family members and friends.
1850 – C&O Canal completed from Georgetown to Cumberland
1861 – First bloodshed of Civil War occurs in Baltimore
1862 – Confederate forces defeated at Antietam. Remembered as the “Single Bloodiest Day of the Civil War,” the Battle of Antietam takes place in Sharpsburg, with casualties numbering more than 23,000
1864 – Maryland abolishes slavery
1865 – Dr. Samuel Mudd, a Waldorf-based physician, treats John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg after Booth assassinates President Abraham Lincoln and flees into Southern Maryland
1867 – Present Maryland Constitution adopted
1875 – The present-day Thomas Point Shoal Light, one of the most recognizable symbols of Maryland, is completed. It is the Chesapeake Bay’s only screwpile light still in its original location
1876 – Johns Hopkins University founded
1886 – Enoch Pratt Free Library opens in Baltimore
1895 – Baseball slugger George Herman “Babe” Ruth is born in Baltimore, near the present site of Oriole Park at Camden Yards
1900 – The first passenger train from Washington, D.C., arrives at Chesapeake Beach, a new resort town with a casino and race track. Today, Chesapeake Beach and its sister city, North Beach, are known more for boutiques, eateries and quiet beach fun
1904 – Downtown Baltimore destroyed by "The Great Baltimore Fire"
1909 – Wilbur Wright conducts flight training for military aviators at a new airfield and hangar in College Park, recognized today as the world’s oldest continually operating airport
1930 – Baltimore jazz singer Cab Calloway first records “Minnie the Moocher,” with the song becoming a hit one year later and turning “hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho” into a world-famous catch phrase
1933 – A four-day storm in Ocean City cuts an inlet that becomes a permanent link between the ocean and bay, signaling the dawn of the town’s prominence as a sportfishing center
1936 – University of Maryland School of Law admits first African-American
1945 – Baltimore Sun journalist Philip Wagner opens Boordy Vineyards, the first of more than 65 wineries now operating in the state
1947 – "Misty of Chincoteague", a critically acclaimed children’s book written by Marguerite Henry, brings national attention to the free-roaming ponies of Assateague Island
1950 – American “diva” Rosa Ponselle becomes Artistic Director of the fledgling Baltimore Civic Opera Company, eventually coaching such artists as Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo
1952 – The 4.3-mile-long William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge (Chesapeake Bay Bridge) opens with dual spans that link the western and eastern shores of the bay. It is among the world’s longest over-water structures
1967 – Thurgood Marshall becomes first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court
1967 – Alex Haley, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots, pays an emotional visit to the Annapolis City Dock to stand where his ancestor, Kunta Kinte, arrived 200 years earlier on board an African slave ship. A statue of Haley now marks the site.
1978 – James Michener’s epic novel, "Chesapeake", begins its 18-week run on top of the Publisher’s Weekly best-seller list. For two years, Michener lived on the Eastern Shore and feasted on crab cakes while working on his book.
1980 – Baltimore celebrates the grand opening of Harborplace, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex central to the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment
1985 – Maryland begins an environmental program to clean up the Chesapeake Bay
1988 – “Hairspray,” a film written and directed by Baltimorean John Waters, enjoys critical and popular success upon its release, and is adapted more than a decade later as a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical
1992 – Oriole Park at Camden Yards officially opened
1995 – Baseball’s “Iron Man,” Cal Ripken, Jr., takes the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and plays in his record-setting 2,131st straight game. The streak reaches 2,632 games before he takes a day off
1995 – Annapolis celebrates its 300-year anniversary as the capital of Maryland
2001 – The Baltimore Ravens defeat the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV. It is one of many national championships won by Baltimore sports teams in football, baseball, indoor soccer and lacrosse
2004 – “Opening Night at the Hippodrome,” highlighted by the Baltimore premier of “The Producers,” marks the rebirth of the 90-year-old theater/performing arts center.
2004 – Swimmer Michael Phelps of Towson becomes the first American to win eight medals (six of which are gold) in a single Olympic Games.
2004 – Maryland celebrates its Flag Centennial (100 years)
2005 – Annika Sorenstam claims victory in the first McDonald’s LPGA championship to be held at Bulle Rock, a public golf course in Havre de Grace
2006 – Kimmie Meissner, a Harford County high school student, becomes the 2006 World Figure Skating Champion in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2007 – Paying homage to Capt. John Smith’s Chesapeake Bay expeditions of 1608, “modern explorers” on board a 28-foot shallop complete a four-month voyage that also celebrates the creation of America’s first all-water National Historic Trail
2008 – Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps took the record for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. Five of those victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record.
2012 – Michael Phelps competes in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, winning four gold and two silver medals, making him the most successful athlete of the Games for the third Olympics in a row.
2013 – The Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII.