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History and Facts of Maryland Counties

Maryland Counties – The State of Maryland was founded as the 7th state on April 28, 1788. The State of Maryland is bordered by DelawareMarylandVirginiaWest Virginia and Washington, District of Columbia. Maryland has 23 Counties. 

Maryland has 23 counties and the City of Baltimore. The City of Baltimore generally possesses the same powers and responsibilities as the counties within the state.

It is an entity nearly surrounded by but separate from the County of Baltimore, which has its county seat in Towson.

Many of the counties in Maryland were named for relatives of the Barons Baltimore who were the proprietors of the Maryland colony from its founding in 1634 through 1771.

List of Maryland Counties

Maryland is divided into 23 counties and 1 Independent City.

List of Old Former / Extinct Maryland Counties

Maryland has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were set up by the Maryland provincial governing administration..

The below Maryland counties no longer exist:

Old Charles County, Maryland

Created on October  3, 1650 from from part of Saint Mary’s County . It was dissolved on September 28, 1653. Referred to as Old Charles County.

Part of the area was incorporated into Calvert County.

The new Charles County was re-created 13 April 1658 the area just west of Calvert County and at the time included the area that is now Prince George’s County.

Durham County

Durham County was formed in 1669 from part of Somerset County and nonorganized territory. Abolished in 1672 and incorporated in Worcester County.

Durham was created a new county on the previously neglected oceanside of the Maryland Colony on 22 October 1669.

Durham County, Maryland was in what is now southern half of Kent County, Delaware, and northern half of Sussex County, Delaware (claimed for a short while by New Netherland, and then by Maryland, and Pennsylvania).

47 new land grants for Maryland were granted in Durham County as late as 1682, although Durham County should have been incorporated into old Worcester County, Maryland in 1670.

In 1738 Maryland recognized the claim of Pennsylvania to the lower three counties on the Delaware River (now the State of Delaware) including what was once all of Durham County, or later part of old Worcester County, Maryland.

Patuxent County

Named in association of the Patuxent River.

Created 3 October 1650 from Colonial lands including the part of old Charles County.

Renamed Calvert County 22 October 1669

Old Worcester County

Worcester County was formed in 1672 from part of Durham County and nonorganized territory. Lost in 1685 when Delaware Colony was established.

Old Worcester county was created on the previously neglected ocean side of Maryland shortly after a 26 November 1669 surveyor report of Dutch encroachment at Cape Henlopen (see New Netherland).

Old Worcester County, Maryland extended along the entire Atlantic coast between Virginia (southern most branch of Rehobeth Bay) and Pennsylvania. This included all of the present day State of Delaware. It also seems to have included Durham County which had just been organized by the Maryland Council a month before in what is now southern Kent County, Delaware, and northern Sussex County, Delaware.

47 new land grants for Maryland were granted in Durham County as late as 1682, although Durham County should have been incorporated into old Worcester County, Maryland in 1670.

In 1674, at the end of an Anglo-Dutch war, the Duke of York assumed authority over the Delaware part of New Netherland which overlapped Lord Baltimore’s sparsely settled Maryland claim. In 1682 the Duke of York paid an old debt by giving his claim of Delaware’s lands to William Penn. Penn immediately declared an act of union between the Delaware counties and Pennsylvania.

In 1685 in order to settle the overlapping claims of Lord Baltimore (Maryland) and William Penn (Pennsylvania), the British Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations decided to split the Delmarva peninsula and decreed old Worcester County, Maryland reverted to the King. Although full provisions and acceptance of this decree were delayed until 1738, the decree resulted in the end of old Worcester County.

Map of Maryland County Boundary Changes from 1637 to 1997

This Interactive Map of Maryland Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Maryland in 1637-1997.

Fun Facts about Maryland Counties

County Names

Many of the counties in Maryland were named for relatives of the Barons Baltimore who were the proprietors of the Maryland colony from its founding in 1634 through 1771.

County Formations

  • Saint Mary’s County (1637) was the first county created in Maryland.
  • Garrett County (1872) is the last county created in Maryland.

County Size

  • Worcester County (695 sq mi) is the largest county in Maryland.
  • Howard County (254 sq mi) is the smallest county in Maryland.

County Population

  • Kent County (20,191) is the least populated county in Maryland.
  • Montgomery County (1,004,709) is the most populated county in Maryland.

Maryland Counties and Cities

Maryland ’s 10  largest cities are

  1. Baltimore is an Independent City
  2. Frederick is in Frederick County
  3. Rockville is in Montgomery County
  4. Gaithersburg is in Montgomery County
  5. Bowie is in Prince George’s County
  6. Hagerstown is in Washington County
  7. Annapolis is in Anne Arundel County
  8. College Park is in Prince George’s County
  9. Salisbury is in Wicomico County
  10. Laurel  is in Prince George’s County