Baltimore is located 45 miles northeast of Washington D.C., along I-95. It is the largest city in Maryland and one of the great port cities of the world. Ships bring cargo from many countries up Chesapeake Bay and into Baltimore's harbor on the Patapsco River.
Baltimore was founded in 1729 on a protected harbor on the northwest branch of the Patapsco River at the edge of the Piedmont region, about 14 miles west of Chesapeake Bay. Downtown Baltimore grew up around the intersection of its first two streets, Baltimore and Charles, just north of the harbor.
Baltimore was an important factor in the development of railroads in the United States. The Baltimore & Ohio was one of the first railroads in America, chartered in 1827. Mount Clare Station, built in 1830, was the first passenger and freight station in the country.