In 1797 Baltimore town, together with areas known as Jonestown and Fells Point, were incorporated as the City of Baltimore and remained part of Baltimore County until 1851 at which time it became the largest independent city in the U.S.
The city (and county) are named for Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Baron Baltimore who was the first proprietor of Maryland. It was originally meant that the land grant be made to George Calvert, father of Cecilius and the 1st Lord Baltimore. George died before the grant was official, therefore, title passed to his son. George had petitioned for the grant to be made into a colony for English Catholics seeking refuge. Cecilius, who governed for more than 40 years, perpetuated his father's ideals of religious freedom and separation of church and state.
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Baltimore is located along the Patapsco River which is part of the Chesapeake Bay.
Inner Harbor 
The Inner Harbor, located at the heart of Baltimore, provided the foundation for the city's maritime economy in the late 18th and early 19th century. In 1730 the original 60 acre town of Baltimore was platted above the harbor, which was originally located at Water Street, approximately 2 blocks north of the present harbor. Baltimore developed slowly after the American Revolution but by 1800 it had become the largest city in Maryland and a major port for Chesapeake Bay and eastern seaboard trade.
While Baltimore's location at the head of the Chesapeake Bay spurred its early growth as a center of regional commerce, political and technological factors enabled it to emerge as a major port. Beginning in the mid-18th century, mills fueled by the falls around Baltimore transformed the port into a major point for flour export. The blockade of Annapolis during the American Revolution, coupled with the decline of Annapolis after the Revolution, further fueled Baltimore's growth, an expansion accelerated by the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The schooner-rigged Baltimore Clippers, which could sail within five points of the wind, were among the fastest ships afloat, ideal for the hazardous wartime contraband trade. The relationship Baltimore established as a transfer point between Europe and Latin America and the West Indies during this period continued through the early 19th century. Local trade gained renewed emphasis when Baltimore was blockaded during the War of 1812.