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Maryland: Free State

CAPITAL: Annapolis
JOINED UNION: April 28, 1788
STATE BIRD: Baltimore Oriole
STATE FLOWER: Black-eyed Susan
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named to honor Henrietta Maria, wife of England's King  Charles I
1992 POPULATION: 4,908,453
LAND AREA: 9,775 square miles
ECONOMY: Oysters, crabs, clams, tourism, international shipping at Baltimore Harbor
HISTORY: The Delaware Indians probably enjoyed Maryland's fresh seafood before Captain John Smith explored the area in 1608 for England. A British trading post was established in Chesapeake Bay on Kent Island in 1631 and Lord Baltimore was granted land in Maryland in 1632, soon after which British Roman Catholics settled near there. In 1649, the Maryland Assembly passed a Toleration Act granting religious freedom to Christians; however, a Puritan assembly in 1654-58 ended that freedom. Francis Scott Key wrote America's national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," while watching fighting with the British at Fort McHenry in 1814. Today, Maryland is home to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Red Glare Courtesy of Congreve 1804 AD


When the British bombarded Ft. McHenry with rockets during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key watched "the rockets' red glare" and wrote a poem about the attack that became the American national anthem. The red glare was provided courtesy of British Colonel William Congreve.

Congreve, interested in reports of Indian rocket attacks on British troops in India in the late 1700s, set about experimenting with rockets and improving them. In 1804, he realized that rockets have a particular advantage over guns -- they don't have a recoil. This meant they could easily be fired from a lightweight platform, such as a ship. Congreve's rockets came in various sizes, but some could fly up to 2,000 meters (roughly 2,000 yards), twice as far as the Indian rockets that inspired him. His rockets were essentially pointed iron tubes filled with propellant and stabilized by a long stick trailing behind. Before long, most European countries developed rockets, and many were used during the 1800s. But as artillery became better, interest in rockets tapered off.

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