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.
Collection Location: Maryland Department Map Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center
Collection 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:
|St. Mary's||1637||Original County|
|Anne Arundel||1650||Original County|
|Baltimore||1660||Erected from Anne Arundel 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.
Charles I, King of England. The Charter of Mary Land. http://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.