Category: Province of Maryland

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succeeded by Maryland

The Province of Maryland was an English palatinate in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776. It was sometimes referred to as Proprietary Maryland. The Province of Maryland and the Colony of Virginia are sometimes referred to as the Chesapeake Colonies.

George Calvert, First Baron of Baltimore in County Longford, Ireland, sought a royal charter to settle the region north of the Potomac River, on either side of Chesapeake Bay, which would become the Province of Maryland. His intention was to found a haven for Roman Catholics in the new world. He died before it could be executed and on June 20, 1632, Charles I of England granted a charter to George's son, Cæcilius Calvert (Cecil), 2nd Baron Baltimore, for the palatinate of Maryland, an area of about twelve million acres (49,000 km²).

As it was a palatinate, it gave Lord Baltimore and his descendants rights nearly equal to those of an independent state, including the rights to wage war, collect taxes, and establish a colonial nobility. Cecil Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, First Lord Proprietary, Earl Palatine of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon in America, promoted religious tolerance in the colony. Under the rule of the Lords Baltimore, thousands of British Catholics emigrated to Maryland.

The Ark and the Dove sailed from Gravesend in Kent with 128 settlers on board. They were forced to return by the British Royal Navy so that the settlers would take an oath of allegiance to the King. The Ark and the Dove set sail again in October 1632, picking up from the Isle of Wight almost 200 more settlers among whom were two Jesuit priests. Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore's younger brother and the first governor of the Maryland colony, was among the colonists. St. Mary's City, their first settlement, was founded on 27 March 1634, on land purchased from the native Yaocomico tribe.

The Province of Maryland declared war on the Susquehannock Indian nation in 1642 and was defeated by the Susquehannock allied with the colony of New Sweden in 1644. A peace treaty ended this conflict in 1652.

In 1649, the Province of Maryland passed the Maryland Toleration Act, the first law establishing religious tolerance for Christians in the British North American colonies. This was done as part of Maryland's welcome of Puritan refugees from Anglican Virginia while seeking to preserve the rights of the Catholics in St. Mary's County. The Puritans settled in Providence, later the city of Annapolis in Anne Arundel County. Reflecting parallel tensions in England under the Commonwealth government of Oliver Cromwell, tensions between the Puritans of Providence and the Catholics of St. Mary's erupted into civil war in Maryland, culminating in the Battle of the Severn in 1655.

Tobacco dominated the provincial economy in the 17th and early 18th century. It was used as currency. In the early years, Maryland planters made extensive use of indentured servants and penal labour, and Africans and mulattos were treated as indentured servants who could work towards their freedom. In 1664, the institution of slavery was codified into the laws of Maryland Province when a law was passed making blacks and their children servants for life. By 1755, about 40% of the Province's population was African or of African descent. By 1860 49.1% of the total of African Americans in the state of Maryland were not slaves.

In 1674 an Act was passed to erect a State House in Saint Mary's City which was completed in October, 1676. The contract for the building of the State House and a jail was awarded to Captain John Quigley at a cost 330,000 lbs. of tobacco.

In 1689, a Protestant rebellion expelled Lord Baltimore from power.

In 1715, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, swore publicly that he was a Protestant and was restored to power.

In the 1760s the Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to settle the 80 year-old dispute over the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland caused by King Charles II granted overlapping territory to the Penn family.

In 1776, Maryland declared independence from Great Britain and signed the Declaration of Independence, becoming the state of Maryland in the United States of America.

Subcategory Descriptions

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County Subcategories The following Maryland Counties existed before 1773. Maryland residents who lived before 1776 should be categorized by one of these counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, and Worcester.

Settlement Subcategories

Subcategories by Period

Immigrants to the Province of Maryland


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