Maryland Counties Page
HistoryIn 1629, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, fresh from his failure further north with Newfoundland's Avalon colony, applied for a new royal charter for what was to become the Province of Maryland. Calvert's interest in creating a colony derived from his Catholicism and his desire for the creation of a haven for Catholics in the new world. George Calvert died in April 1632, but a charter for "Maryland Colony" (in Latin, "Terra Maria") was granted to his son, Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632. The new colony was named in honor of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Charles I of England.
To try to gain settlers, Maryland used what is known as the headright system, which originated in Jamestown. On March 25, 1634, Lord Baltimore sent the first settlers into this area. Most of the English colonists arrived in Maryland as indentured servants, hiring themselves out as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage.
On February 2, 1781, Maryland became the 13th state to approve the ratification of the Articles of Confederation which brought into being the United States as a united, sovereign and national state. It also became the seventh state admitted to the U.S. after ratifying the new Constitution.