Bowie ( /buːi/) is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the state of Maryland.
The city of Bowie owes its existence to the railway. In 1853, Col. William Duckett Bowie obtained a charter from the Maryland legislature to construct a rail line into Southern Maryland. In 1869 the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company began the construction of a railroad from Baltimore to Southern Maryland. The area had already been dotted with small farms and large tobacco plantations in an economy based on agriculture and slavery. In 1870 Ben Plumb, a land speculator and developer, sold building lots around the railroad junction and named the settlement Huntington City. By 1872, the line was completed, together with a spur to Washington DC. The remainder of the railroad through Southern Maryland and Pope's Creek was completed in 1873.
Huntington City was re-named in honor of the son of William Duckett Bowie, Oden Bowie, who was President of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad at the time, and previously Governor of Maryland. The town was subsequently rechartered as Bowie in 1880. In the early days the land was subdivided by developers into more than 500 residential building lots, to create a large town site at a junction of the Baltimore and Potomac's main line to southern Maryland, and the branch line to Washington, DC.