In the late 1600s, Sir George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore, asked King James I for land on which to found a colony of New World Roman Catholics in response to general intolerance toward his faith. It was Calvert's son, however, Sir Cecil Calvert, the Second Lord Baltimore, who actually established the colony based on freedom of religion and the concept of separation of church and state.
King James I gave Sir George Calvert, his Secretary of State, a parcel of land in Newfoundland. However, the senior Calvert later asked James' son, King Charles I, for the title to the land located north of Virginia. According to the Maryland Historical Society, while Charles agreed, he did not sign over the land until Calvert died in 1632, giving it to his son Sir Cecil Calvert instead.
According to the History Channel, Charles granted land east of the Potomac River to Cecil Calvert in exchange for a portion of any income derived from it. Cecil Calvert called it Maryland in honor of Henrietta Maria, queen consort to Charles I. Maryland quickly became known as a refuge for Roman Catholics experiencing persecution in England.
The colony eventually became the State of Maryland, with Cecil Calvert's brother Leonard Calvert serving as the first governor.