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Baltimore is an independent city and the largest city in the state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal section of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore City in order to differentiate it from surrounding Baltimore County. It was founded in 1729 and is a major U.S. seaport and is situated closer to major Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. The harbor is now residence to the Harborplace, a shopping, entertainment, and tourist center,as well as the home of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital are the city's largest employers.
As of 2008, the population of Baltimore was 636,919. The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has roughly 2.7 million residents making it the 20th largest in the country. Baltimore is also the major city in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area of approximately 8.3 million people.
The city is named after Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore himself took his title from a place in Bornacoola parish, County Leitrim and County Longford, Ireland. Baltimore is an anglicized form of the Irish Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "Town of the Big House",not to be confused with Baltimore, County Cork, the Irish name of which is Dún na Séad.
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