The Colony of Maryland

The colony of Maryland is a very unique colony in many different ways. The colony was formed in 1634 by two hundred emigrants, mostly Roman Catholics. With the founding of Maryland came the first permanent proprietary government of America, that is, a government by a lord proprietor, who, holding his authority by virtue of a royal charter, nevertheless exercised that authority almost as an independent sovereign. Maryland is surrounded by the three colonies Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and it surrounds Chesapeake Bay, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

The climate of colonial Maryland varied; it had four distinct seasons, with relatively hot, humid summers and cool or cold winters. Some of the occupations of Maryland were blacksmiths, weavers, farmers, butchers, wheelwrights, carpenters, and several others. In the year 1639, a representative government was established in Maryland. It was crude in form, but possessed the prolific seeds of a sturdy republicanism. The freemen chose as many representatives as they pleased.

So did the proprietor. These, with the governor appointed by the proprietor, and a secretary, composed the government of Maryland. The ethnic groups in the colony were mostly English and Dutchman. There were several social customs in colonial Maryland. For example, family life in Maryland was different from a modern family. Children were employed as apprentices at age 7, and each member of the family has a specific role in the home’s finances and maintenance.

Most of the people in Maryland were Catholic, in which made the colony one of the few predominantly Catholic regions among the English colonies in North America. Maryland was also one of the key destinations where the government sent tens of thousands of English convicts punished by sentences of transportation. The colony had no difficulties with the native population, actually it was the opposite. Archihu, chief of the Potomac Indians, welcomed the colonists with open arms in 1634.

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The natives taught the settlers how to build wigwams and palisade fences for their villages. Inside their villages, the settlers learned how to establish gardens and grow such vegetables as maize, beans, squash, potatoes, and pumpkins — foods which they had never seen in England. The settlers were taught many more things from the Native Americans, but the populations of the Native American tribes decreased significantly due to the settler’s diseases that the natives had no cures for.

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