Who settled Maryland and why?
The original colonists of Maryland first arrived on the state’s western shore at St. Clement’s Island. It was there that they founded the settlement of St. Mary’s. King Charles I of England granted a charter to George Calvert in 1632. George Calvert was the first Lord Baltimore, this gave him the rights to an area that lies east of the Potomac River in exchange for a portion of the profits the land yielded. This territory was named Maryland to honor the Queen Consort of Charles I, Henrietta Maria. Sadly before the settlement of Maryland began George Calvert died and his son Cecilius inherited the charter for the land. Cecilius wanted to set up Maryland as a place Roman Catholics could worship without persecution.
In March 1634, a carefully chosen group of English Protestants and Catholics became the first settlers of Maryland. The ships they arrived on were called the Ark and the Dove; these ships landed at St. Clement’s Island. In the next several years religious conflict grew because the amount of Puritans in the colony was increasing and these Puritans were supported by those in England. They desired to revoke the religious freedoms that were guaranteed when the colony was founded. Maryland Governor William Stone passed an act in 1649 that protected religious liberty for all those who believed in Jesus Christ. However in 1654 the Toleration Act was repealed by Puritans who had got control of the colony. This led to a short civil war that ended with Lord Baltimore losing control over Maryland in March 1655. Later the Calverts took back control of Maryland but the anti-Catholic attitude lasted until the 19th century when there was an influx of Catholic immigrants who chose Baltimore as their new home.