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Maryland

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state’s largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. The state is named after Henrietta Maria of France, the wife of Charles I of England.
One of the original Thirteen Colonies, Maryland is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, when it was formed by George Calvert in the early 17th century as an intended refuge for persecuted Catholics from England. George Calvert was the first Lord of Baltimore and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and played a pivotal role in the founding of Washington, D.C., which was established on land donated by the state.
Maryland is one of the smallest U.S. states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated, with around six million residents. As of 2009, Maryland had the highest median household income of any state, owing in large part to its close proximity to the nation’s capital and a highly diversified economy spanning manufacturing, services, and biotechnology.
Maryland has an area of 12,406.68 square miles (32,133.2 km2) and is comparable in overall area with Belgium (11,787 square miles (30,530 km2)). It is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii (10,930.98 square miles (28,311.1 km2)), the next smallest state. The next largest state, its neighbor West Virginia, is almost twice the size of Maryland (24,229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km2)).
Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature. It ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the Chesapeake Bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forests in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the Maryland mountains to the west.
Most of the state’s waterways are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the exceptions of a tiny portion of extreme western Garrett County (drained by the Youghiogheny River as part of the watershed of the Mississippi River), the eastern half of Worcester County (which drains into Maryland’s Atlantic coastal bays), and a small portion of the state’s northeast corner (which drains into the Delaware River watershed). So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland’s geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state’s official nickname to the “Bay State”, a nickname that has been used by Massachusetts for decades.
The highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 3,360 feet (1,020 m), is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia, and near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac River. Close to the small town of Hancock, in western Maryland, about two-thirds of the way across the state, there are 1.83 miles (2.95 km) between its borders. This geographical curiosity makes Maryland the narrowest state, bordered by the Mason–Dixon line to the north, and the northwards-arching Potomac River to the south.
Portions of Maryland are included in various official and unofficial geographic regions. For example, the Delmarva Peninsula is composed of the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland, the entire state of Delaware, and the two counties that make up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, whereas the westernmost counties of Maryland are considered part of Appalachia. Much of the Baltimore–Washington corridor lies just south of the Piedmont in the Coastal Plain, though it straddles the border between the two regions.

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