Maryland Colony: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Province of Maryland article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Province of Maryland
British colony
A map of the Province of Maryland.
Capital Annapolis
Language(s) English
Government Constitutional monarchy
Royally Chartered Proprietor
 - 1632-1675 Lord Baltimore, 2nd
 - 1751-1776 Lord Baltimore, 6th
Proprietary Governor
 - 1634-1647 Leonard Calvert
 - 1769-1776 Robert Eden
Legislature Maryland General Assembly
 - Charter granted 1632
 - Independence July 4, 1776
Currency Pound sterling

The Province of Maryland was an English colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of Maryland.

The province began as a proprietary colony of the British Lords Baltimore, who wished to create a haven for English Catholics in the new world. Although Maryland was an early pioneer of religious toleration in the British colonies, religious strife among Anglicans, Puritans, Catholics, and Quakers was common in the early years, and Puritan rebels briefly seized control of the province. In the year following the Glorious Revolution, John Coode led a Protestant rebellion that expelled Lord Baltimore from power in Maryland. Coode's government was unpopular and both William III and Coode himself wished to install a crown-appointed governor. This man ended up being Lionel Copley who governed Maryland until his death in 1694 and was replaced by Francis Nicholson.[1] It was restored to the family when Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, swore publicly that he was a Protestant.

Despite early competition with the colony of Virginia to its south, the Province of Maryland developed along very similar lines to Virginia. Its early settlements and populations centers tended to cluster around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. Like Virginia, Maryland's economy quickly became centered around the farming of tobacco for sale in Europe. The need for cheap labor to help with the growth of tobacco, and later with the mixed farming economy that developed when tobacco prices collapsed, led to a rapid expansion of indentured servitude and, later, forcible immigration and enslavement of Africans.

In the latter colonial period, the southern and eastern portions of the Province continued in their tobacco economy, but as the revolution approached, northern and central Maryland increasingly became centers of wheat production. This helped drive the expansion of interior farming towns like Frederick and Maryland's major port city of Baltimore. The Province of Maryland was an active participant in the events leading up to the American revolution, and echoed events in New England by establishing committees of correspondence and hosting its own tea party similar to the one that took place in Boston.



Charles I of England granted the charter for Maryland, a proprietary colony of about twelve million acres (49,000 km²), to Cæcilius Calvert (Cecil), 2nd Baron Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, on June 20, 1632. Some historians view this grant as a form of compensation for Calvert's father's having been stripped of his title of Secretary of State upon announcing his Roman Catholicism in 1625. The charter had originally been granted to Calvert's father, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, but the 1st Baron Baltimore died before it could be executed, so it was granted to his son in his place.[2] The new colony was named after Henrietta Maria, the Queen Consort.[3] Lords Baltimore were the only Catholics or members of the Irish House of Lords in the history of the British Empire to have or obtain a proprietary colony; all other such nobles were Protestant and were endowed with an English, Scottish, British or UK peerage title.

Colonial Maryland was larger than the present-day state of Maryland. The original charter granted the Calverts an imprecisely defined territory north of Virginia and south of the 40th parallel, comprising perhaps as much as 12 million acres (49,000 km²).[4] Maryland lost some of its putative original territory to Pennsylvania in the 1760s when, after Charles II granted that colony a tract that overlapped the Maryland grant, the Mason-Dixon Line was drawn to resolve the boundary dispute between the two colonies. Maryland also ceded some territory to create the new District of Columbia after the American Revolution.

Maryland's foundational charter created a state ruled by the Palatine lord, Lord Baltimore. As ruler, Lord Baltimore owned directly all of the land granted in the charter. He possessed absolute authority over his domain. Settlers were required to swear allegiance to him rather than to the King of England. The charter created an aristocracy of lords of the manor, who bought 6,000 acres (24 km²) from Baltimore and held greater legal and social privileges than the common settlers.

Early settlement

The Ark and the Dove, 1934 Issue

Colonial Maryland was a southern colony. Lord Baltimore (the younger) was a convert to Catholicism. This was a severe stigma for a nobleman in 17th century England, where Roman Catholics were considered enemies of the crown and traitors to their country. In Maryland, Baltimore sought to create a haven for British Catholics and to demonstrate that Catholics and Protestants could live together harmoniously, even issuing the Act Concerning Religion in matters of religion. Like other aristocratic proprietors, he also hoped to turn a profit on the new colony.

The Calvert family recruited Catholic aristocrats and Protestant settlers for Maryland, luring them with generous land grants and a policy of religious toleration. Of the 200 or so initial settlers who traveled to Maryland on the ships Ark and Dove, the majority were Protestant. In fact, Protestants remained in the majority throughout the history of colonial Maryland.[citation needed]

The Ark and the Dove landed at St. Clement's Island on March 25, 1634. The new settlers were led by Lord Baltimore's younger brother Leonard Calvert, whom Baltimore had delegated to serve as governor of the new colony. The 150 or so surviving immigrants purchased land from the Yaocomico Indians and founded St. Mary's City.

In 1642, Maryland declared war on the Susquehannocks. The Susquehannock with the help of New Sweden defeated Maryland in 1644. The Susquehannocks remained in an inactive state of war with Maryland until a peace treaty was concluded in 1652.[citation needed]

Maryland and the English Civil War

From 1644 to 1646, the "Plundering Time" was a period of civil unrest caused by the tensions of the English Civil War (1641–1651). Governor Leonard Calvert led colonial defenses against Parliamentary privateers such as Captain Richard Ingle and William Claiborne.


An experiment in religious tolerance

The Maryland Toleration Act, passed in 1649.

In 1649 Maryland passed the Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, a law mandating religious tolerance for trinitarian Christians. Passed on September 21, 1649 by the assembly of the Maryland colony, it was the first law requiring religious tolerance in the British North American colonies. The Calvert family, who had founded Maryland partly as a refuge for English Catholics, sought enactment of the law to protect Catholic settlers and those of other religions that did not conform to the dominant Anglicanism of Britain and her colonies.

Battle of the Severn

In 1654, after the Third English Civil War (1649-1651), Parliamentary (Puritan) forces assumed control of Maryland and Governor William Stone went into exile in the Colony of Virginia. Stone returned the following spring at the head of a Cavalier (Roman Catholic) force and marched on Annapolis. At this time there were about 4,500 colonists in Maryland.

In what is known as the Battle of the Severn (March 25, 1655), Stone was defeated and taken prisoner. Stone was replaced as Governor by Josias Fendall (ca. 1628-1687).

In 1672, Lord Baltimore declared Maryland included the settlement of Whorekills on the west shore of the Delaware Bay, an area under the jurisdiction of the Province of New York. A force was dispatched which attacked and captured this settlement. New York could not immediately respond because New York was soon recaptured by the Dutch. Maryland feared the Dutch would use their Iroquois allies to recapture the settlement.[citation needed] This settlement was restored to the Province of New York when New York was recaptured from the Dutch in November, 1674.

Protestant Revolution of 1689

Col. Henry Darnall, Deputy Governor of Maryland and a Roman Catholic.

In 1689, Maryland Puritans, by now a substantial majority in the colony, revolted against the proprietary government, in part because of the apparent preferment of Catholics like Colonel Henry Darnall to official positions of power. Led by Colonel John Coode, an army of 700 Puritans defeated a proprietorial army led by Colonel Darnall. [5] Darnall later wrote: "Wee being in this condition and no hope left of quieting the people thus enraged, to prevent effusion of blood, capitulated and surrendered." The victorious Coode and his Puritans set up a new government that outlawed Catholicism, and Darnall was deprived of all his official positions. [5]

After this "Protestant Revolution" in Maryland, Darnall was forced, like many other Catholics, to maintain a secret chapel in his home in order to celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass. In 1704 an Act was passed "to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province", preventing Catholics from holding political office. [5]Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the American Revolution, when Darnall's great-grandson Charles Carroll of Carrollton, arguably the wealthiest Catholic in Maryland, signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Later colonial period and the plantation economy

In the 17th century, most Marylanders lived in rough conditions on small family farms. While they raised a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and livestock, the cash crop was tobacco, which soon came to dominate the provincial economy. Tobacco was sometimes used as money, and the colonial legislature was obliged to pass a law requiring tobacco planters to raise a certain amount of corn as well, in order to ensure that the colonists would not go hungry.

Like its larger neighbor, Virginia, Maryland developed into a plantation colony by the 18th century. In 1700 there were about 25,000 people and by 1750 that had grown more than 5 times to 130,000. By 1755, about 40% of Maryland's population was black.[6] Maryland planters also made extensive use of indentured servants and penal labor. An extensive system of rivers facilitated the movement of produce from inland plantations to the Atlantic coast for export. Baltimore was the second-most important port in the eighteenth-century South, after Charleston, South Carolina.

Maryland and the Coming of the American Revolution

Maryland declared independence from Britain in 1776, with Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton signing the Declaration of Independence for the colony. In the 1776-77 debates over the Articles of Confederation, Maryland delegates led the party that insisted that states with western land claims cede them to the Confederation government, and in 1781, Maryland became the last state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. It accepted the United States Constitution more readily, ratifying it on April 28, 1788.

See also


  1. ^ Events that Changed America Through the Seventeenth Century By John E. Findling, Frank W. Thackeray, pp. 133-134.
  2. ^ Sparks, Jared (1846). The Library of American Biography: George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. pp. 16-.,M1. 
  3. ^ Maryland State Manual
  4. ^ Alan Taylor, American Colonies (New York: Viking, 2001), p.136; John Mack Faragher, ed., The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America (New York: Facts on File, 1990), p.254.
  5. ^ a b c Roark, Elisabeth Louise, p.78, Artists of colonial America Retrieved February 22 2010
  6. ^ John Mack Faragher, ed., The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America (New York: Facts on File, 1990), p.257

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address