Learn about the exploration and establishment of the colony of Maryland hundreds of years ago. There were many conflicts and battles before the colony came to exist, which eventually became one of our fifty great states.
Maryland was surrounded by the three colonies Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Maryland surrounds Chesapeake Bay, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1632, George Calvert, also know as Lord Baltimore, persuaded King Charles I to grant him a charter to own land north of the Potomac River, which was part of Virginia. He wanted to start a settlement where Catholics could worship freely. His two sons explored Maryland, and had started Saint Marys, located on Saint Clements Island, which they bought from the Native Americans.
First settlers landed in Chesapeake Bay on February 23, 1634 on the Dove and the Ark. They chose a healthful site on a bluff overlooking the bay.
While St Marys was prospering, there was dispute over the control of Kent Island. Both Maryland and Virginia claimed it was theirs. In 1635, a small warfare broke out between the two colonies. In 1638, the English Commissioners for Foreign Plantations ruled that it belonged to Maryland.
Highlights of Civil Affairs in Maryland
1640’s- The king was having trouble keeping power with the English legislature. There were split sides between this conflict in the colonies. Lord Baltimore sided with the king, while the Puritans were sympathetic with the Parliament.
1644- William Claiborne, a Virginian, had seized Governor Calvert, Lord Baltimore’s youngest son.
1646- Governor Calvert regained authority with troops supplied by the governor of Virginia.
June 1647- Governor Calvert died, and was replaced by William Stone, a Protestant.
1649- Legislature passed the Act Concerning Religion, which gave freedom of worship to anyone who believed in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
1692- Law repealed because of its limit to only Christians.
1654- The commission tried to replace the government and remove Lord Baltimore and Governor Stone’s authority, but failed.
1688- King James II, a Catholic, was succeeded by two Protestants, William and Mary.
1689- Colonists asked King William to have Maryland under royal control.
1692- The first royal governor arrived in Maryland.
1694- Catholic- powered Saint Marys City was replaced by Protestant- powered Anne Arundel Town.
Tobacco prices encouraged more planting in Maryland. Some settlers had large plantations, while most had small farms. They bartered with the local natives, which made few hardships on food supply than in Virginia. In the 1690’s, slave prices dropped, and the owning of slaves became more common. In 1729, Baltimore was established, which was the main outlet for Maryland’s farm produce.
The majority of the people were Church of England Protestants, known as Puritans. It also included Roman Catholics and slaves. In 1648, 400-600 more Puritans moved to Maryland because of persecution in Virginia.
Many people farmed tobacco and corn. There were few mills and no factories, but an abundance of horses. Unlike most colonies, Maryland had no major cities, and no schools.
In the 17th century, the death rate was high. In 1650, the population was 4500. In the 18th century, the population was rising. The population in 1700 was 25,000, and 130,000 by 1750.
One fifth of all slaves died on their way to America. The reason for this was because the slaves would get diseases, and they would be thrown off the ship. They did this to prevent diseases from spreading.
Before colonization, many soapstones and arrowheads were found.
It was more common to build farms by rivers. It was useful for growing crops.