10 Facts About the Maryland Colony

In the year 1634, an Englishman named Cecil Calvert, who was also known as Lord Baltimore, established the colony of Maryland.

Calvert was given a land grant by King Charles I of England to create the colony, which he named Henrietta Maria in honor of the king’s wife, Henrietta Maria. Calvert was also given permission to trade with Native Americans.

The colony was founded to provide a safe haven for English Catholics who, at the time, were subject to persecution in their own country of England.

The state of Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies that came together to establish the United States, and it was vital in the fight for independence during the American Revolution.

Agriculture, notably the growing of tobacco, was a significant contributor to the economy of the colony. On April 28, 1788, the state of Maryland ratified the Constitution of the United States, making it the seventh state to do so.

Maryland Colony Facts

1. The Capital was Relocated to Annapolis

St. Mary’s City was the initial capital of the Maryland colony and the fourth oldest permanent settlement in all of British America when it was established. It later became the capital of the state of Maryland.

Also Read: Facts About the Georgia Colony

After that, the capital was relocated to Annapolis. In 1694, Annapolis was officially declared as the capital of Maryland, and it has continued to serve in that capacity up until the present day.

The oldest state capitol that is still in use for legislative purposes is located in Annapolis and is known as the State House.

2. Maryland was a Proprietary Colony

Proprietary colonies were those that were governed by a single person or family. In the case of Maryland, this was the Calvert family, and more specifically, Lord Baltimore (Cecil Calvert) and his heirs. Maryland was a proprietary colony.

Also Read: North Carolina Colony Facts

The Calvert family was granted the ability to manage the colony in its capacity as a proprietary colony and exercised a large amount of influence over the political and economic development of the territory.

They were also able to give land and enact laws, both of which contributed to the fact that they were one of the most influential families in the colonies at the time.

3. The Maryland Toleration Act of 1649 granted religious freedom to all Christians

The Maryland Assembly passed a law in 1649 called the Maryland Toleration Act, which was also referred to as the Act Concerning Religion. This law offered religious tolerance to all Christians living in the province, regardless of the religion they adhered to.

On the other hand, it did not make all Christians free to practice their religion, and it just safeguarded the right of all Christians to worship without interference. Those who disputed that Jesus was divine were subject to harsh punishments under the Act, which included monetary fines, jail time, and possibly the death penalty.

Non-Christians did not receive freedom of religion under this document either. As was the case in the majority of the British colonies at the time, Maryland had an official state religion and did not guarantee its citizens the right to practice their religion of choice.

4. The Drawing of the Mason–Dixon Line

The Mason-Dixon line, which outlines Maryland’s northern and eastern borders, was drawn in 1767 as a consequence of a border dispute between Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

The battle originated as a result of competing land claims in the region, with Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware each claiming various pieces of the property.

The Mason-Dixon line was constructed to resolve the disagreement and determine the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as the boundary between Delaware and Maryland. It was surveyed and marked by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

Before the American Civil War, the line became the unofficial boundary between the North and South in the United States, and it was used to determine the boundary between free and slave states.

5. Maryland played a significant role in the American Revolution

Maryland was a key player in the American Revolution, with many engagements taking place on its soil. Because of its location between the northern and southern colonies, as well as its closeness to the nation’s capital, Philadelphia, Maryland was a strategically vital colony during the war.

The Battle of North Point, the Battle of Baltimore, and the Battle of Cowpens were among the pivotal conflicts fought in Maryland during the Revolutionary War.

Furthermore, Maryland was home to several Revolutionary War figures, including Declaration of Independence signers Charles Carroll, William Paca, and Samuel Chase. The state also contributed substantial assistance to the Continental Army in the form of troops, supplies, and funding.

6. Maryland’s economy relied heavily on agriculture, specifically tobacco cultivation.

Maryland’s economy was highly reliant on agriculture, particularly tobacco growing, during the colonial and early post-revolutionary periods.

Tobacco was the most important cash crop in Maryland, providing a living for many farmers throughout the colony. The pleasant climate and fertile soil of Maryland made it perfect for cultivating tobacco, which was in high demand in Europe and the American colonies.

The crop was labor-intensive, requiring a significant amount of manual labor to plant, tend, and harvest. As a result, many farmers relied on enslaved African labor in their tobacco crops.

The tobacco economy shaped Maryland’s society and economy, and it remained an essential element of the state’s economy until the late nineteenth century, when it was supplanted by other crops such as wheat, corn, and hay.

7. Maryland was the 7th state to Ratify the United States Constitution

On April 28, 1788, Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution. The ratification of the Constitution by the states was an important milestone in the development of the United States of America as a federal union of states.

Maryland was the first state to ratify the treaty, followed by Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and was followed by South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, and North Carolina, with Rhode Island being the last.

The ratification of the Constitution by Maryland, along with the other states, established the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and set the structure for the federal government of the United States.

8. Maryland was one of Thirteen Colonies that Signed the Declaration of Independence

In 1776, Maryland was one of thirteen colonies that signed the Declaration of Independence. Samuel Chase, William Paca, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Thomas Stone were among the Maryland signers.

At the time, all four men were major figures in Maryland politics and were elected to represent the colony in the Continental Congress.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the Declaration of Independence’s sole Catholic signer, and he also lived the longest, dying in 1832 at the age of 95.

On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies declared themselves independent and no longer subject to British rule in the Declaration of Independence.

9. Chesapeake Bay was of Vital Importance

Population hubs and early settlements in Maryland were concentrated near the state’s many waterways that eventually fed into the Chesapeake Bay. For commercial and transportation purposes, the Chesapeake Bay’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean was crucial.

Rivers and streams running inland from the bay supplied both freshwater and a method of transportation. The bay’s shore and the rivers’ abundant soil made it an excellent location for agriculture, especially tobacco farming.

Maryland’s population and economy owe a great deal to the Chesapeake Bay, a valuable resource that influenced colonial development. Cities like Baltimore, Annapolis, and Chesapeake City, among others, were founded amid the state’s fertile bayside soil.

10. In Conflict with the Susquehannock Nation

In the 17th century, the Susquehannock Indian Nation and the Province of Maryland were involved in an unrecognized battle that did not get to the level of war.

For centuries, the Susquehannock Nation was the dominant indigenous authority in the area spanning modern-day Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The Susquehannock and the English colonists in Maryland clashed in the early 1600s when the latter attempted to expand into Susquehannock territory.

The Susquehannock were able to thwart several English invasions of their country because of their reputation for ferocity in battle. The Susquehannock attacked the English colonies in Maryland in 1644, murdering and torching many people and their dwellings.

Despite this major loss, the colony did not go to war with the Susquehannock Nation.