Baltimore is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the 30th most populous city in the United States, with a recorded population of 585,708 in 2020. Baltimore was designated an independent city by the Constitution of Maryland in 1851, and today is the largest independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington–Baltimore combined statistical area, the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.
Prior to European colonization, the Baltimore region was used as hunting grounds by the Susquehannock Native Americans, who were primarily settled further north than where the city was later built. Colonists from the Province of Maryland established the Port of Baltimore in 1706 to support the tobacco trade with Europe, and established the Town of Baltimore in 1729.