Province of Maryland

The Province of Maryland[1] was an English and later British colony in North America that existed from 1632[2] until 1778, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of Maryland. Its first settlement and capital was St. Mary's City, in the southern end of St. Mary's County, which is a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay and is also bordered by four tidal rivers.

Province of Maryland
Map of the Province of Maryland
StatusColony of England (1632–1707)
Colony of Great Britain (1707–1776)
CapitalSt. Mary's City (1632–1695)
Annapolis (from 1695)
Common languagesEnglish, Susquehannock, Nanticoke, Piscataway
Anglicanism (de jure), Roman Catholicism (de facto)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Royally Chartered Proprietor 
Lord Baltimore, 2nd
Lord Baltimore, 6th
Proprietary Governor 
Leonard Calvert
Robert Eden
LegislatureMaryland General Assembly
 Charter granted
July 4 1776
CurrencyMaryland pound
Succeeded by
Washington, D.C.
Today part ofUnited States

The province began as a proprietary colony of the English Lord Baltimore, who wished to create a haven for English Catholics in the new world at the time of the European wars of religion. Although Maryland was an early pioneer of religious toleration in the English 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 1689, the year following the Glorious Revolution, John Coode led a rebellion that removed Lord Baltimore, a Catholic, from power in Maryland. Power in the colony was restored to the Baltimore family in 1715 when Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, insisted in public that he was a Protestant.

Despite early competition with the colony of Virginia to its south, and the Dutch colony of New Netherland to its north, the Province of Maryland developed along very similar lines to Virginia. Its early settlements and population centers tended to cluster around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay and, like Virginia, Maryland's economy quickly became centered on the cultivation of tobacco, for sale in Europe. The need for cheap labor, and later with the mixed farming economy that developed when tobacco prices collapsed, led to a rapid expansion of indentured servitude, penal transportation, and forcible immigration and enslavement of Africans. Maryland received a larger felon quota than any other province.[3]

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. By 1776 the old order had been overthrown as Maryland citizens signed the Declaration of Independence, forcing the end of British colonial rule.