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BALTIMORE

Quickfacts

City Population: 642,000
Size: 350 km2 (135 square miles)
Country: United States
State: Maryland
Language: English
Time difference:
6 hours earlier than Rotterdam
Distance from Rotterdam:
6135 km (3812 miles)

flags of United States and Baltimore City

Located on the eastern coast of the United States, the port city of Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland and serves as its cultural center. Baltimore is near the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an hour from Washington, D.C., the United States capital.

The city’s population size is similar to Rotterdam: about 642,000. The greater Baltimore metropolitan region is about 2.6 million. About 32% is white; 64% African American; 1.7% Latino. The greater Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region is about 8 million.

 

History

Founded in 1729, the city was named after the first governor of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, and soon became a major commercial port for shipments of tobacco and grain. Later, it grew to be a center for shipbuilding, seafood canneries, steel, and other industries. Railroads provided access to other parts of the United States. Baltimore was the largest port of entry for immigrants during the 1800s, after New York.

In the War of 1812 with Britain, Baltimore was under attack by British forces. Inspired by the American victory, Francis Scott Key wrote the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

before the Civil War, Maryland was a southern slave-holding state. During the Civil War in the 1860’s between the Union north and the Confederate south, Maryland was officially part of the Union, but many Baltimore citizens were sympathetic to the Confederacy.

Baltimore’s downtown was destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. In just a few years, the city rebuilt its center.

In the 20th century, Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue was a major national center for jazz music.

Until recently, Baltimore was one of the 10 largest cities in the United States; now it is in the top 20. After the loss of its industrial economic base in the mid-20th century, the city’s population declined, but in recent years has enjoyed an influx of new residents interested in city living. There is an ever-growing ecosystem of technology startups in the area. Nicknamed “Charm City,” Baltimore’s industrial past has given this city a strong working-class character.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor (Photo: Jay L. Baker, © Baltimore City Government)

Port of Baltimore

Baltimore’s seaport is closer to major Midwestern markets than other major ports on the east coast. More than 30 million tons of cargo pass through the port of Baltimore every year. Baltimore became a model for revitalization in the late 1970’s when the inner harbor area was redeveloped as a major tourist attraction and convention center.

Located at the Inner Harbor, the tall World Trade Center (designed by I.M. Pei) houses the Maryland Port Administration and works to promote international trade and stimulate the regional economy.

Attractions

Baltimore rowhomes
Baltimore neighborhoods are famous for their rowhomes. (Photo:
© George Hagegeorge)

The Inner Harbor boasts many attractions, like the Aquarium, a shopping and restaurant complex, a science museum, Orioles baseball stadium, and Ravens football stadium. The Visionary Art Museum and Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture are recent additions.

Further north, the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Lyric Opera House, and Baltimore Symphony contribute to the cultural life of the city. The city is a popular location for the filming of movies and television shows. In part because of the art institute, relatively low rents, and proximity to New York and Washington, Baltimore enjoys a large population of artists, a quirky character, and experimental cultural events like the annual High Zero Festival and Kinetic Sculpture Race. Every summer, it hosts Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the United States.

Baltimore is also famous for its horse racing at Pimlico Race Course.

The Baltimore region boast many colleges, universities and medical centers — including The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland system, Peabody Conservatory, and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The region is becoming a center for the biotech industry and IT start-ups.

Famous Baltimoreans include:

  • Edgar Allen Poe, writer
  • Frederick Douglass, worked to abolish slavery
  • Eubie Blake, composer of ragtime, jazz and popular music
  • Billie Holiday, jazz singer
  • Filmmaker John Waters, famous for his cult classic Pink Flamingos

Climate

Baltimore’s coastal temperate climate generates cool, moist winters and hot, very humid summers. January is usually 29-44° F (-2 to 7° C); July is usually 73-91° F (23-33° C).