Baltimore is a the largest city in Maryland, United States and a major port on Chesapeake Bay. Explore Inner Harbor, a development encompassing more than 150 shops, restaurants, and lounges that provides a sparkling backdrop for the frigate U.S.S. Constellation, the oldest ship in the U.S. Navy. Places of interest include Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the home and grave of the writer Edgar Allan Poe, the house where journalist H. L. Mencken spent most of his life and the birthplace of the famous baseball player Babe Ruth. There are many historic structures - such as the Basilica of the Assumption, the first Roman Catholic cathedral built (from 1806 to 1821) in the United States and the first monuments in the nation dedicated to Christopher Columbus and George Washington.
From here you can also visit Washington DC or the best-known battleground of the Civil War - GettysburgGettysburg. From July 1 through July 3, 1863, Confederate troops led by General Robert E. Lee faced off against Union forces commanded by General Gordon Meade. After heavy fighting, the Confederates were driven back, weakened and demoralized. Four months later, President Abraham Lincoln came to the battleground to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery, delivering his famous and moving Gettysburg Address.
Before European settlement, the site of Baltimore was inhabited by Native Americans of the Susquehannock tribe. The area was explored by John Smith in 1608 and was settled in 1661. In 1729 the town was founded and named after the Baltimore barons, British founders of the Maryland Colony. Established as a tobacco port, the town rapidly developed into a flour milling and shipbuilding centre. In 1777, while Philadelphia was occupied by the British, the Continental Congress met in Baltimore. During the War of 1812 the British made an attempt to eliminate privateers operating out of Baltimore. The ensuing battle in 1814, centred around Fort McHenry, inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner". More industrial growth began in 1827, with the building of railways and in 1897 with the opening of steel mills.
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