The county was predominately agricultural in character until 1966, when construction began on the new town of Columbia. Columbia was planned and developed by The Rouse Company, led by its founder James Rouse. Beginning with an idea and the purchase of more than 14,000 acres in the mid-1960s, it has reached its original population projection and in almost every other way has met the goals put forth in its original proposal and advertising.
The county’s population has grown approximately 500 percent since then, and it is now one of the wealthiest in the nation. Under a home rule charter since 1968, Howard County is governed by an elected County Executive and five member County Council.
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