In the 1600s Maryland was known for its production of tobacco and this crop had significant impacts on the state's agriculture, social, and political history according to the University of Maryland Special Collections. Maryland began to provide food for troops during the War of Independence and gained a reputation as the "Breadbasket of the Revolution." From the end of the revolution to the 1800s the farmers faced a decline from soil depletion and the wheat-infesting Hessian fly.
The founding of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the 1820s facilitated Maryland's ability to distribute agriculture products, Baltimore was established in 1729 as a port for shipping tobacco. Milling and exportation of grain grew in popularity in Baltimore according to University of Maryland Special Libraries Collections. The introduction of a railroad system on Maryland's Eastern Shore opened markets to Philadelphia to lead to extensive agriculture activity.
There was a westward movement of agriculture which reduced Maryland's importance to the nation. In the early twentieth century fruit and vegetable production became more prevalent in Maryland's Eastern Shore. Dairy industry occupied central Maryland and tobacco continued production in southern Maryland.
Special Collections at the University of Maryland