Crisfield ( /krɪsfiːld/) is a city in Somerset County, Maryland, United States, located on the Tangier Sound, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The population was 2,723 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Salisbury, Maryland Metropolitan Statistical Area. Crisfield has the distinction of being the southernmost incorporated city in Maryland.
The city now known as Crisfield began as Annemessex Neck, a small fishing village. Its name was changed to Somers Cove, after Benjamin Summers, during European colonization. Only after the business potential for seafood was discovered did the quiet fishing town grow into a large city, due to the efforts of John W. Crisfield in bringing the Pennsylvania Railroad to the town. Crisfield briefly became the second most populous city in the entire state of Maryland, known as the "Seafood Capital of the World"; indeed, its success was so great that the train soot and oyster shells prompted the extension of the city's land into the marshes, so that the downtown area is literally built atop oyster shells, a common claim by those from the city.
Crisfield began to slip into decline as the declining health of the Chesapeake Bay began to reduce the watermen's catches. A "strategic revitalization plan" is underway to address the city's future growing needs, however. Currently, Crisfield is largely a destination for tourism. It hosts many annual events and festivals, the most prominent of which is the National Hard Crab Derby.