In 1632 Lord Baltimore, sent his son George Calvert, and 300 settlers to America. The following year Calvert established a new colony, Maryland, at the mouth of the Potomac River. The area concentrated on producing tobacco and in 1729 the community established the port, Baltimore, at the head of the Patapsco River. It became a city in 1796.
By the end of the 18th century Baltimore was a busy seaport and shipbuilding centre. During the American War of Independence the Continental Congress met in Baltimore (December, 1776-March, 1777). In 1797 the United States Navy launched its first ship, Constellation, from Baltimore.
In the 19th century Baltimore became the home of an increasing number of European immigrants. In 1890 over 69,000 people living in the city had been born in Europe. This was 46 per cent of the 434,000 population and included large numbers from Germany (41,000) and Ireland (13,000).
On 7th February, 1904 a fire destroyed most of the business district. It was quickly rebuilt and during the First World War steelworks and oil refineries were established in the area.
The city of Baltimore covers an area of 81 square miles (209 square km) and has a population of around 736,000.