What Was Maryland’s Colonial Government?

Maryland was the first colony to be founded on the proprietary system of government in which a private land owner or corporation was granted express power over all ruling aspects of the colony by the king. Maryland was the fourth of the American colonies founded. After Maryland, all colonies formally founded within the United States by a European entity were proprietary.

George Calvert, who is the man behind the founding of Maryland, was a former Secretary of State in England. After a failed attempt to colonize in Newfoundland, he moved south to Virginia. High levels of religious intolerance forced him to go back to England, where he obtained the charter for Maryland as part of the London Company. Part of Calvert’s motivation in attempting to obtain the charter for Maryland was to establish a territory where people who were persecuted for their religion could find refuge. The charter for Maryland was approved and granted to George Calvert’s son Cecilius after George Calvert passed away.

George Calvert was also known by his title, Lord Baltimore. His son also inherited the title when Calvert died. The city of Baltimore is named for him. The state of Maryland is named for the wife of King Charles I, Henrietta Maria.