School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic A. Individuals and Societies Change Over Time

Indicator 1. Analyze the chronology and significance of key historical events leading to early settlement in Maryland

Objective a. Explain how and why the Maryland colony was established, including political and economic motives for coming to the new world


The Maryland colony was established in 1634 for a mixture of economic, religious, and political reasons. George Calvert, titled Lord Baltimore, had been a loyal advisor to the King of England for about twelve years when, in 1625, he resigned his position as secretary of state after declaring to the Protestant king that he had converted to Catholicism. Catholics faced severe discrimination in England. Calvert's religious beliefs prevented him from taking the required oath recognizing the king as the ultimate authority in religious matters, and, consequently, he was barred from political life.

Calvert turned to his long-time interest, the colonization of the New World for profit. He first tried establishing a colony called Avalon in Newfoundland, but the cold climate and rocky soil led to its failure. He then asked the king to grant him land in the Chesapeake north of Virginia. Calvert hoped to make money from the rent of lands in the colony and from the furs and gold he hoped to find there. In addition, he planned to make the colony a place where Catholics, in addition to Protestants, could practice their religion and participate fully in political life.

Calvert's request for a colony was granted two months after his death, and his son, Cecil, assumed leadership for the venture. In March 1634, the colonists landed in what is now southern Maryland after a voyage of about 4 months. The groups consisted of seventeen Catholic gentlemen investors, over one hundred mostly Protestant indentured servants, and two Jesuit priests. While the gentlemen came primarily to get rich and to practice their Catholicism freely, the Protestant indentured servants came in search of more economic opportunity and a better life than they would have had in England. The colonists purchased land from the Yaocomico Indians with cloth, hatchets, and hoes and established a settlement named St. Mary's City under the governorship of Cecil's brother Leonard. The Yaocomico people helped the colonists by allowing them to live in their old houses, by providing them with food, and by showing them how to plant their own crops.

Resources for Objective 5.A.1.a: