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Revised 27 December 2010


Maryland came about in the form of a land grant given to Lord Baltimore (George Calvert), a member of Parliament and Secretary of State under James 1 from 1609 to 1625.  Lord Baltimore was upset by the constant persecution of the Roman Catholic Church members of which he had become affiliated and thus he set out to find a place where they could live in religious freedom.  Maryland became that place.  He sought to establish colonies in America for the persecution religionists of his homeland.  He first attempted to build a colony in Newfoundland about 1620, which colony failed, and finally persuaded the King of England to grant him land for a colony further south along the Atlantic Coast.  After the grant was made, but before he could obtain his signed Charter, Lord Baltimore died.  Charles I then transferred the grant to Lord Baltimore's son, Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore.

The grant consisted of all of the lands between the fortieth parallel and the southern bank of the Potomac River.  The first group of emigrants to be shipped over to the new colony in 1634 included twenty Catholic gentlemen and about two hundred Protestants.  This establishment was located about nine miles up the St. George river, which empties into the north side of the Potomac river, near its mouth.

Just opposite of the current site of Annapolis, a man by the name of William Claiborne, a planter from Virginia, and a large group of fellow settlers from Virginia had already set up a settlement on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.  Claiborne refused to adhere to the orders of the British King which granted the lands to Lord Baltimore and hence hostilities broke out between the two factions and continued until Claiborne's death in 1677.

One of the greatest factors in aiding Maryland's growth was the pronouncement of its founder that religious toleration and protection would be extended to all Christians of whatever religious belief who showed a willingness to settle into Maryland and establish their homes.  A special "Act Concerning Religion" passed by the colony in 1649, declared that "no person professing to believe in Jesus Christ shall henceforth be troubled or molested on account of religion."  Maryland was one of the foremost states in granting religious freedom.

The open-minded religious views of the people of Maryland attracted a large group of Puritans who had become disenchanted by the control the Church of England continued to extend over the settlers of Virginia and so they came north and settled into the area of Anne Arundel.  By 1660, another migration occurred bringing settlers to what was the Eastern Short, of the land east of Chesapeake Bay.  So large was this group that another county had to be established, and thus Talbot county was created.  By 1865, migration had continued in a steady stream and Somerset county came into existence.

Initially, the settlements clung to the land along the water courses and the rivers.  The reason for this, like that of Maine, was that they needed to use the waterways for travel as there were few passable roads in the area at that time.  By 1740, the Appalachian section of Maryland was claimed by settlers from the counties of St. Mary's Charles and Prince George.  These would be a people from England, Scotland and the Scotch Irish.  Shortly after their arrival, large groups of Germans coming south from Pennsylvania joined the growing throng and by 1748, Frederick County was organized.

In 1755, a large group of Acadians, who had been driven from Nova Scotia, arrived.  By 1759, they were joined by another group of French settlers.  The race riots of Santo Domingo in 1793 also contributed to the settlers and from 1817 to 1847, thousands of Irish immigrants came as canal diggers and later established themselves as the farmers and miners in the Appalachian section.  After the 1848 Revolution in Germany, thousands of German refugees were given shelter in Baltimore.  On 28 April, 1788, Maryland signed the articles and joined the Union as our seventh state.

For further historical information on Maryland, visit the . Use your back arrow to return to this page.

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Allegany 1789 Washington Cumberland
Anne Arundel 1650 Original County Annapolis
Baltimore 1659 Original County Fullerton & Towson
Baltimore City 1729 Baltimore Baltimore
Calvert 1650 Original county Prince Frederick
Caroline 1773 Dorchester, Queen Annes Denton
Carroll 1836 Baltimore, Frederick Westminster
Cecil 1674 Kent Elkton
Charles 1658 Original County La Plata
Dorchester 1669 Original County Cambridge
Garrett 1872 Allegany Oakland
Hartford 1773 Baltimore Bel Air
Howard 1851 Baltimore, Anne Arundel Ellicott City
Kent 1642 Original County Chestertown
Montgomery 1776 Frederick Rockville
Prince Georges 1695 Charles, Calvert Upper Marlboro
Queen Annes 1706 Talbot Centreville
Saint Mary's 1637 Original County Leonardtown
Somerset 1666 Original County Princess Anne
Talbot 1662 Kent Easton
Washington 1776 Frederick Hagerstown
Wicomico 1867 Somerset, Worcester Salisbury
Worcester 1742 Somerset Snow Hill