Maryland was different from the other English colonies because it was founded on behalf of Roman Catholic colonists.


In 1631, George Calvert, a British nobleman, asked the British Crown for the right to own and govern the Chesapeake Bay region. Calvert was a Catholic and wanted a colony in America where the British of that religion, discriminated against in their country (mostly Protestant), could practice their worship. His request was accepted by King Charles I of England in 1632. However, Calvert would die in April of the same year. Charles I then ceded to Calvert’s son, Cecilius, Maryland (“Lands of Mary”), in homage to Queen Henrietta Marie of France, wife of Charles I. Cecilius was also a Catholic, and sent the first settlers, who landed in 1634 in the promotory that is directly north of the Potomac River. ¬†

Cecilius was obliged to obey the customs of the Anglican Church. He appointed his brother Leonard governor of the colony, and at the same time encouraged the settlers to request laws and help him in the administration. In 1649, the Colonial Assembly passed a law guaranteeing the free exercise of cults that accepted the dogma of the Trinity. This attracted numerous Catholics from other American colonies, especially from Virginia, but it constituted a barrier for members of other Religions, like the Jews.