Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Maryland was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans – mostly by the Algonquin, and, to a lesser degree, by the Iroquois and Siouian. As one of the original Thirteen Colonies of England, Maryland was founded by George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, a Catholic convert who sought to provide a religious haven for Catholics persecuted in England. In 1632, Charles I of England granted Lord Baltimore a colonial charter, naming the colony after his wife, Henrietta Maria. Unlike the Pilgrims and Puritans, who rejected Catholicism in their settlements, Lord Baltimore envisioned a colony where people of different religious sects would coexist under the principle of toleration. Accordingly, in 1649 the Maryland General Assembly passed an Act Concerning Religion, which enshrined this principle by penalizing anyone who "reproached" a fellow Marylander based on religious affiliation. Nevertheless, religious strife was common in the early years, and Catholics remained a minority, albeit in greater numbers than in any other English colony.
Maryland's early settlements and population centers clustered around rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. Its economy was heavily plantation-based and centered mostly on the cultivation of tobacco. Great Britain's need for cheap labor led to a rapid expansion of indentured servants, penal labor, and African slaves. In 1760, Maryland's current boundaries took form following the settlement of a long-running border dispute with Pennsylvania. Maryland was an active participant in the events leading up to the American Revolution, and by 1776, its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence. Many of its citizens subsequently played key political and military roles in the war. In 1790, the state ceded land for the establishment of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. (Full article...)
Image 3Ellicott City Station, on the original B&O Railroad line, is the oldest remaining passenger station in the United States. The rail line is still used by CSX Transportation for freight trains, and the station is now a museum. (from Maryland)
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Born in rural Prince George's County, Maryland, Williams spent his childhood on Springfield Farm near present-day Williamsport. He was orphaned at age thirteen and was put in the care of his father's brother-in-law, Mr. Ross. Williams took an apprenticeship under Mr. Ross and studied his profession in the Clerk's office of Frederick, eventually taking charge of the office. At age eighteen, Williams moved to Baltimore and undertook a similar trade. Williams returned to Frederick in 1774 and entered into a commercial life. (Full article...)