Baltimore, with an estimated population of 631,366 residents (2006), is an independent city in the state of Maryland. The city is also part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area of approximately eight million people. Named after Lord Baltimore, a founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony, the city has a rich and lively history centered around its importance as an inland port city and strategic military location even before its official designation as a city in 1851. Preservation of this history can be found at numerous locations, some of which include The Baltimore Maritime Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Baltimore Public Works Museum, American Dime Museum, Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum.
Revitalization of downtown Baltimore began with the Inner Harbor area and the building of the Baltimore Convention Center, Harborplace retail and restaurant complex, and the National Aquarium. The move by the major league baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and six years later by the professional football team, the Baltimore Ravens with the building of the PSINet Stadium next door continued the forward progress. The city continues to expand and improve the tourist appeal of the area with a new Hilton Hotel next to the convention center and several downtown 60-plus story high-rise buildings designed for residential, retail, and business offices.
Despite its working-class background and all the development, Baltimore retains a distinctive local culture and social flavor. Neighborhoods like Little Italy, the Italian-American community; Fells Point, which was transformed from a favorite hangout of sailors to upscale restaurants and clubs; and Mt. Vernon, a traditional center of art and culture make Baltimore an exciting place to live and work.
The city is home to Constellation Energy, Black & Decker, T. Rowe Price, FTI Consulting, Vertis, Thomson Prometric, Performax, Sylvan Learning/Laureate Education, Under Armour, Old Mutual Financial Network, and Advertising.com. Spice giant McCormick & Company was founded in Baltimore, and is currently headquartered in suburban Hunt Valley. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the most prestigious research and teaching hospitals in the world, calls the city home. The hospital will also be the anchor facility at a new biotechnology park.
Baltimore is the home of several public and private institutions of higher learning that include University of Baltimore, Coppin State University, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Loyola College, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore International College, Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Peabody Institute.