On Sept. 12, 1814, more than 4,000 British troops landed at end of the North Point Peninsula, in what is today Edgemere and Dundalk, planning a march towards Baltimore to capture the city and port as the shelling of Fort McHenry began.
The British had already burned Washington D. C. to the ground several weeks before, threatening to sink the states and our burgeoning democracy.
Although Gen. John Stricker's Maryland militia didn't quite stop the overwhelming British forces, they did kill British Maj. Gen. Robert Ross and delay his troops long enough for the successful defense of the city.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The flag Baltimore widowed seamstress Mary Pickersgill sewed held up under the bombardment and Francis Scott Key, a local lawyer by trade and occasional poet, chronicled the ensuing Battle of Baltimore in verse.
Fort McHenry hosts a slew of Defenders' Day events—today is an official state holiday— this weekend, including living history encampments, boat tours, and fireworks. More information can be found here.