Although George Calvert died before the actual charter was conveyed, his son Cecilius Calvert, the Second Lord Baltimore, inherited the Barony and grant of lands. He organized the 3rd permanent settlement in the English Colonies by establishing St. Mary's City in 1634, just two years after the pilgrims landed in Massachussetts. The Roman Catholicism of the Calverts was controversial subject throughout the history of Maryland until the Protestant Revolution stripped the Calverts of control. Interestingly however, the citizens of Maryland were always predominantly Protestant from the very start. Only a quarter of the orginal settlers arriving in the Arc and the Dove at St. Mary's were Catholic. This is not surprising as the vast majority of the citizens of Endland were Protestant. But the significant numbers of Roman Catholics including the ruling family made for an unusually religously tolerant government as reflected in the Religous toleration law of 1649. This law spought to "provide severe strictures and fines for those who would openly criticize or slander any belief, Christian or non-Christian." This law was the first example of separation of church and state in the New World. It was repealed in 1692 and the concept would have to wait another 100 yearrs to become the law of the land once again.
Queen Henrietta Marie
Maryland State Archives
In 1632, Maryland was chartered as the only proprietary colony (not commanded directly by the crown, but the property of a titled family) in North America, due to the efforts of the First Lord of Baltimore, George Calvert. George had proved helpful in the transition from the Tudors, a family that had controlled the English throne for many generations, to the Stewarts. George converted to a Roman Catholic, a politically risky decision in the heavily anti-Catholic English power structure. Since his fortunes were not likely to fare well in such a climate, he decided to parlay his current good favor into a grant of lands in the New World. He took on a settlement in Newfoundland which he concluded would never amount to much more than a seasonal fishery. After sailing from Newfoundland to Virginia in 1629, he was able to persuade the crown to grant him 7.6 million acres in the region to the north of Virginia. This area was named Maryland after Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I who granted the charter to the Calverts.
The rule of Maryland by a titled family and the religious diversity within the state was not the only unique features of Maryland's early government. From the very beginning as specified in its charter, Maryland was to be governed "of and with the advise, assent, and approbation of the free-men of the said Province, or the greater part of them, or of their delegates or deputies." While legislative bodies in Virginia and New England were governed by a highly exclusive portion of the population, Maryland's legislators were "any adult male not bound by indenture or slavery." Later restrictions for ownership of property were the only requirements for voting until the early 1800's. Women were not permitted to vote until 1920. Citizenship irrespective of race was not specifically codified until the last half of the 20th century, although a black man, Mathias de Sousa, voted and served as a member of the General Assembly in the first years of settlement. The General Assembly met as an assembly of freemen until 1648 when so many attended the assembly that the meeting was unmanageable. From then on, representatives of the freemen were elected to meet in the general assembly. It was this first assembly of delegates that met in 1649 to considered and enact the religious tolerance law.
St. Mary's county is the first county mentioned in records of early Maryland in 1637. In 1642 Kent county was created. Anne Arundell was the wife of Cecilius Calvert, Second Lord of Baltimore. In 1650, Anne Arundell county was formed and named after her. In 1654 Patuxent County was formed, but it was renamed Calvert County after the Lord Baltimore in 1658, the same year Charles County was created and named after Charles Calvert, the third Lord of Baltimore. By 1660 Baltimore County had been created. Talbot County was established by 1661 and named after Lady Grace Talbot, sister of Cecilius Calvert. Somerset county was created in 1666 and named after Lady Mary Somerset, sister of Lady Anne Arrundell and sister-in-law of Cecilius Calvert. 1668 saw the creation of Dorchester county named after the Earl of Dorset, a friend of the Calverts. In 1674 Cecil county was created from Baltimore and Kent counties and named after Cecilius Calvert himself. All other counties in Maryland were chartered from parts of one or more of these counties.
Motto: Tuae Coronasti Nos Scuto Bonae Voluntatis - "Thou hast crowned us with the shield of Thy good will"
Fatti Mashi Parole Femine - manly deeds, womanly words