What we (now) know about Maryland

We passed the ‘Mason-Dixie line’ between Pennsylvania and Maryland on Monday so our now in the fifth and final state on this trip – so here are a few things you may or may not know about Maryland.

Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, but it remains one of the most populous as well as one of the most densely populated states of the United States. The state’s largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Although the state is officially claimed to be named after Queen Henrietta Maria many historians believe Maryland was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus by George Calvert, prior to his death in 1632. The original intent may never be known. Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation – you can certainly tell this when you cycle here, the roads in Maryland are very well maintained.

Ethnically, Marylanders are chiefly of German, Irish or African-American ancestry. Maryland has a large Korean American population. In fact, 1.7 percent are Korean, while as a whole, almost 6.0 percent are Asian.

The two counties of Western Maryland, Allegany and Garrett, are mountainous and sparsely populated, resembling West Virginia more than they do the rest of Maryland. Guess which two counties we cycled through yesterday? Yep, you guessed it – the hilly ones.

Maryland’s economic activity is strongly concentrated in the tertiary service sector, and this sector, in turn, is strongly influenced by location. One major service activity is transportation, centred on the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access. You get a sense of this when you see the improbably long freight trains carrying metal cargo boxes stretching for miles.

Since before the Civil War, Maryland’s elections have been largely controlled by the Democrats. Maryland has supported the Democratic nominee in each of the last five presidential elections, by an average margin of 15.4 percent. The Governor of Maryland is a Democrat, both of Maryland’s U.S. Senators and seven of its eight Representatives in Congress are Democrats.

Famous Marylanders include Cass Elliot, singer of pop band The Mamas & the Papas, Philip Glass, composer, Billie Holiday, singer and Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer.

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