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Howard County is a county located in the central part of the state of Maryland. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 287,085. Its
county seat is Ellicott City.
Howard County is included in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area. However, recent development in the south of the county has led to some realignment towards the Washington, DC media and employment markets.
The name of the county honors Colonel John Eager Howard, an officer in the "Maryland Line" of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, commander notably at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina in 1781, among others. He was the fifth governor of Maryland from 1788 to 1791. His home was the mansion "Belvedere", located at the present-day intersection of East Chase and North Calvert streets, north of Baltimore Town in an area also called "Howard's Woods", where Baltimore's Washington Monument was later erected and the neighborhood of Mount Vernon was developed in the 1820s
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
The lands of prehistoric Howard County were populated by Native Americans. The Maryland Historical Trust has
documented sites along the Patapsco, Patuxent, Middle and Little Patuxent River valleys. In 1652, the Susquehannock tribes signed a peace
treaty with Maryland, giving up their provenance over the territory that is now Howard County. In 1800, the mean center of US population as
calculated by the US Census Bureau was found in what is now Howard County.
In 1838, Dr. William Watkins of Richland Manor proposed the "Howard District" of Anne Arundel County. After several adjournments, the area of western Anne Arundel County was designated the Howard District in 1839. The district had the same status as a county except that it was not separately represented in the Maryland General Assembly. In 1841, the county built its first courthouse in Ellicott City. At the January 1851 constitutional convention, Thomas Beale Dorsey submitted a petition led by James Sykes. A committee was formed with Dorsey, Bowie, Smith, Harbine and Ricaud. After several postponements, the district was erected officially as Howard County on March 7, 1851
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (660 km2), of which 251 square miles (650 km2) is land
and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (1.0%) is water. It is the second-smallest county in Maryland by land area and smallest by total area.
Howard County is located in the Piedmont Plateau region of Maryland, with rolling hills making up most of the landscape. It is bounded on the north and northeast by the Patapsco River, on the southwest by the Patuxent River, and on the southeast by a land border with Anne Arundel County. Both the Patapsco and Patuxent run largely through publicly accessible parkland along the county borders. The Patuxent border includes the Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs.
Bordering counties are as follows:
The Howard County Public School System manages 71 schools and serves approximately 49,000 students. The graduation rate from this school district is an above-average 92%, and the county's schools are ranked among the best in the state. Student test scores consistently top the list for all Maryland school districts. Howard High School is currently the largest school in the county with over 1,700 students.