Who Helped Found Maryland as a Safe Place for Catholics?

Author Cory Hayashi

Posted Nov 8, 2022

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In 1619, an act of generosity from King Charles I of England made possible the founding of the province of Maryland as a refuge for the persecuted Catholic minority in England, who had faced harsh scrutiny and discrimination for their faith. This act was the result of a campaign by a few key individuals, most notably Leonard Calvert, the younger half-brother of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore.

George Calvert, a successful courtier and politician, became a Catholic later in life and foresaw the potential gravity of the religious divide in English society which was fast becoming more hostile to Catholic beliefs. Along with his son, Leonard Calvert, he developed a proposal for a new colony in America which was to create a safe haven for Catholics to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or persecution. They presented the case for such a colony to the King and his court, and, as a result of their hard work and persuasion, the King eventually issued a Royal Charter for the province of Maryland.

The new colony met much criticism from those in England who rejected the idea of allowing religious freedom for Catholics in the New World. Nevertheless, in 1634, Leonard Calvert and the Calverts' Catholic peers — the Rev. Andrew White, Thomas Copley, and John Lewger — arrived in what would become the Province of Maryland, with the mission of establishing a colony that would be devoted to religious toleration and provide a safe haven for all Catholics.

The Calverts, together with their contacts and staff, began developing the province and its government, a task under the jurisdiction of Leonard. He quickly set out to build an economy and the necessary steps would require alliances with the Indigenous tribes that resided in the area. Through a process of negotiation and diplomacy, Leonard managed to gain the support of the local tribes, who agreed to peacefully trade and even join forces in case of attack by enemy forces.

Leonard devoted much of his time to the entrenchment of religious freedom and Catholicism as the predominant faith in Maryland. He set up several Catholic churches and schools from which the Catholic faith could be spread, and welcomed persecuted Catholic refugees from elsewhere in the colonies.

Leonard's efforts and the many others who followed in the footsteps of George and Leonard Calvert yielded great fruits beyond the initial relief from religious persecution. Maryland soon became a thriving colony, with ties to England, and a leader in the growing country. By the dawn of the American Revolution

Who were the original founders of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics?

The original founders of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics were a group of English Catholics led by George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. George Calvert was born in 1580 in the north of England and was raised as a Protestant. He graduated from Oxford University, entered politics and eventually became a Minister for the King of England and Ireland.

In 1625, Calvert was sworn in as the first Lord Baltimore. As a growing power player, Calvert wanted to turn his attention to the American colonies that had just become available to the English. His vision was to create a Maryland colony that could be a safe haven for Catholics who were persecuted in England and other areas of Europe.

In 1629, Calvert applied for a charter with the English Monarch, Charles I, to create his Maryland colony and also requested concessions in the legal and religious arena for Catholics. Charles granted the charter and some of their requests, leading to Calvert’s ability to create a Maryland colony that included religious freedom and tolerance for Catholicism.

After securing a charter, Calvert began searching for the perfect location for his colony. He searched from Maine to Texas, but eventually settled on land between the Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers. This was perfect for them because it was sparsely populated by Europeans and, more importantly, it was close to the Catholic Church in Maryland, which was centered around St. Mary’s City.

The exact location of Fort Maryland was decided by Calvert and his associates, Leonard and Philip Calvert. The Calverts, who were George's sons, had secured financing from their father's contacts to fund the group's purchase of the territory. After procuring the land, they established Maryland as the first British colony in 1634.

The original founders of Maryland acted swiftly upon its creation to build a place of safety and refuge for persecuted Catholics. They did this through policies like the 1641 Maryland Toleration Act, which guaranteed religious freedom to all Christians, regardless of denomination. This was a revolutionary step forward, as it made Maryland the first British Colony to guarantee the rights and freedoms of different religious faiths.

The founding of the Maryland colony as a refuge for Catholics would remain a defining characteristic of the area for decades. Some of the most prominent figures of Colonial America, such as Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll, were Catholics and grew up in Maryland. In addition, Maryland was then and still is now

What year was Maryland founded as a safe haven for Catholics?

Maryland, a state located on the East Coast of the United States, was founded in 1634 as a safe haven for Catholics escaping religious persecution. At the time, England had outlawed the practice of Catholicism in an attempt to promote Protestantism. Many Catholics sought refuge in America, which offered them religious freedom.

In 1632, King Charles I of England granted the " Maryland Charter" to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, and his brother Leonard Calvert, who were English Catholics. The charter gave the Calverts the title of "lords proprietor", and gave them the authority to create and administer a colony in America. The charter also granted religious freedoms to the colony's inhabitants and explicitly permitted them to practice the Catholic faith.

The newly-created Maryland colony became a safe haven for Catholic refugees to practice their religion freely and without persecution. When the colony was founded, Leonard Calvert and a group of colonists sailed to the Chesapeake region, which would become Maryland. They landed at St. Clement's Island on March 25, 1634, and began to establish the Maryland colony.

As Maryland's population grew, so did the diversity of the faith practiced by its inhabitants. The majority of the settlers were Protestant, while a notable minority of the population remained Catholic. In order to ensure that everyone, from different faith backgrounds, could practice their religio freely, the Maryland Toleration Act, or Maryland Act of Religious Tolerance, was enacted in 1649. This act was one of the first laws of its kind, granting freedom of worship to Christians, regardless of their denomination.

Since its founding, Maryland has become a diverse and multicultural state, allowing for and even encouraging religious diversity. The state is home to many different religious organizations, including those from the Catholic faith, and it continues to serve as a safe haven for Catholics today. Throughout the centuries, Maryland has made a point of protecting religious liberties, affirming the values on which it was founded and giving its inhabitants the freedom to practice their own faith.

What were the religious beliefs of the original founders of Maryland?

The original founders of Maryland embraced the religious beliefs of Roman Catholicism. The founders, Lord Baltimore and his father, Sir George Calvert, initially began their search for a place of religious freedom and refuge for Roman Catholics in the Chesapeake Bay area of North America after various setbacks and attempts to establish a colony in Newfoundland in the early 17th century. The Calverts were ardent Catholics and remained so through much of the 17th century, even with the onslaught of unpopular Catholic beliefs and practices at the time. The Catholic Church in England was seen as hostile and counter-revolutionary by a majority of Protestants.

Consequently, Lord Baltimore and Sir George Calvert sought also to create a province with some degree of religious tolerance, and knowing the general distrust of Catholics, they sought to create a province that upheld religious liberty for individuals of all faiths. Upon colonization in Maryland, the Calverts sought to ensure religious tolerance by instituting the Act Concerning Religion of 1649, also known as the Toleration Act, which provided protections for people to express their religious beliefs without fear of persecution or punishment.

This Act allowed for people of all religious backgrounds to freely practice their beliefs, as long as they kept their worship private and publicly supported the Anglican Church. From the very beginning of its establishment as a Crown Colony, Maryland required all citizens to adhere to the established Church of England but allowed freedom of conscience in private beliefs and practices. This policy protected both Catholic believers and Protestant dissenters.

The Toleration Act put the Calverts’ beliefs and commitment to Roman Catholicism into practice. Under their influence, the colony became known for its numerous Catholic churches and religious societies. Throughout his reign, Lord Baltimore donated land and encouraged the construction of religious buildings. Catholic churches were founded by priests from France, Belgium, and Italy, and many orders of priests and nuns from Europe came to the Maryland colony to establish schools and churches.

In addition, the Roman Catholic Church in Maryland and the wider region was strongly supported by the Calvert family. Sir George Calvert’s son, Cecilius, as the second Lord Baltimore, did much to promote the Roman Catholic faith in the colony. Under his rule, priests educated and ministered to the colonists, and founded many Catholic schools, churches and religious orders. In addition, Protestant dissenters who had fled from England and arrived in Maryland were welcomed and given some freedoms to practice their own faiths.


What were the motivations of the original founders of Maryland for creating a safe haven for Catholics?

The motivations of the original founders of Maryland for creating a safe haven for Catholics are complex, but the main idea behind the founding of the province was to create a safe space for those who followed the Catholic faith. Maryland was established in the zeal to have a refuge from the rising tide of persecution of Catholics throughout Europe and England in the seventeenth century. It was envisioned as a haven where Catholics were free to practice their faith without fear of repercussions and religious persecution.

At the time, Catholicism was the largest Christian denomination in England, but the persecuted population of Catholics had steadily grown in recent years due to religious intolerance, culminating in the ascension of Protestant King James I in 1603. James I was a staunch proponent of the Protestant faith, and his policies of religious conformity did not bode well for the nation’s Catholic population. English law at the time required that everyone follow the doctrines established by the Anglican Church, which meant that those who adhered to another faith could face extreme repercussions and persecution.

In order to escape from this climate of intolerance, several Catholics decided to establish a colony in the New World, specifically in the area of what is now Maryland. They sought to create a safe haven for those who practiced their religion and to ensure that their faith could be practiced without fear of persecution. This goal was furthered by the issuance of the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, which granted "toleration" to those of different religions, especially Catholics. The act was an attempt to create a zone of religious freedoms, protecting the rights of all faiths from government interference.

The originalfounders of Maryland sought to create a safe haven for Catholics because they recognized the need for a place where Catholics could practice their faith freely. They wanted to create an environment in which Catholics could live and worship without fear of retribution. The founders also wanted to create a community in which people of different religious beliefs could interact and live together in peace and understanding.

The efforts of the original founders of Maryland are a testament to their commitment to the values of religious freedom and tolerance. Their desire to create a safe haven for Catholics succeed and their legacy lives on today in Maryland’s laws, which continue to protect religious minorities from persecution. Thanks to their efforts, Maryland stands as an example of religious freedom and a haven for those who seek to escape from religious oppression.

What were the political and social conditions in England that led to the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics?

The religious tensions and instability in England during the 17th century created a political, social, and religious climate that prompted the founding of Maryland as a haven for Catholics seeking religious freedom. The period from 1603 to 1660–during which the Stuart dynasty ruled England–witnessed significant upheaval between Catholic and Protestant forces, resulting in the passing of the Act of Supremacy in 1604. This Act removed all legal recognition of the Roman Catholic Church in England and instead placed the Church of England as the official religion in the country. In addition, it outlawed celebrations of Catholic Mass and sacraments, enforcing heavy fines and jail time for anyone still practicing or promoting their faith. This legislation, combined with increased persecution of Catholic priests and lay members as well as the forcing of Protestantism on children under the age of 16, created a disquieting situation for Catholics throughout England.

In view of this climate, Catholics began to seek other places of refuge where they could freely and openly practice their faith. Lord Baltimore was among those who sought a refuge away from the religious and political persecution rampant in England. Baltimore approached King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria to receive a charter granting him a large tract of land in the present-day United States of America, particularly in what is now the state of Maryland. The charter, known as the Maryland Charter of 1632, allowed Lord Baltimore and his family wide-reaching authority over the colony and enabled their creation of a "safe haven" for their own Roman Catholic faith, as well as other denominations.

In order to ensure Catholics a peaceful place of refuge, the Charter of Maryland guaranteed religious liberty to those of all faiths who chose to immigrate there, writing, “No Person or Persons, shall within the said Province, profess any other religion than the Christian religion, or the Jewish religion; nor shall any person within the said Province, at any time hereafter, profess or be allowed to profess the Roman Catholic or Popish religion”. Although the Maryland Charter offered religious freedom to all Christians and Jews, it was notably the first of its kind to grant religious liberty to all religions, regardless of origin. In addition, the charter put a great emphasis on liberty of conscience, and freedom of religion, by allowing the freedom to practice any faith without fear of persecution or danger.

The political and social conditions in England that led to the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics mirrored the discord and persecution occurring

What were the economic benefits of founding Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics?

In 1634, the British colony of Maryland was founded in North America as an English haven for those of the Roman Catholic faith. This was a significant move in the course of European colonization in North America, particularly in the wake of the Protestant Reformation that had impacted the increasing divisions between Catholics and Protestants in England. At the time, the Roman Catholic Church was distrusted by the British establishment which feared it could provide a “power base” for Catholic conspiracies against the Protestant crown. As a result, Maryland offered a much-needed safe haven for English Roman Catholics fleeing persecution in their homeland. In addition to providing them with a safe haven from Protestant zealots, the founding of Maryland had far-reaching economic benefits for both the colonists and the British Empire.

One of the most important economic benefits of Maryland’s founding was the increased opportunity for economic development. This was particularly notable since Maryland’s founders wished to create a prosperous, stable home for Catholics surrounded by Protestant Protestantism. As part of this goal, the Maryland land grants were specifically designed to create economic opportunities for the colonists. Many of these grants offered vast amounts of fertile farmland to individual settlers for exclusive use and encouraged large-scale investment in commercial enterprises such as shipping, trading and manufacturing. This availability of land, combined with their strong religious convictions, gave the settlers a strong incentive to settle in the colony, thus providing them with a greater opportunity to succeed economically, particularly when compared to those on the European continent.

The availability of Maryland land also provided many economic benefits to the British monopolists who sought to exploit the region’s resources. Maryland’s location advantageous to both the Caribbean and Europe, made it an attractive prospect for traders seeking to capitalize on the lucrative global trade networks. The Maryland area also provided a rich source of untapped natural resources including timber, tobacco, and fur. These resources, combined with the economic opportunities offered by the Maryland land grants, were a boon for British merchants who established trade networks and engaged in business activities in the region. In turn, the profits from these ventures provided much-needed revenue to the British empire.

The founding of Maryland also benefited those who remained in England. By providing a safe haven for Catholics, Maryland helped to reduce political tensions and religious divisions in England. This allowed the English to focus their attention on other matters and to benefit from the economic growth and improved diplomatic relations that came with the peaceful settlement of

What were the legal rights and privileges granted to Catholics in Maryland?

In the early American colonies, tensions between Anglicans and Catholics were high and a great source of cultural and religious differences. As one of the original colonies, Maryland became known for its religious tolerance and welcoming attitude towards Catholics, especially in the face of religious strife in the colonies. As a result, the legal rights and privileges granted to Catholics in Maryland during the colonial period varied greatly from those of other colonies.

Prior to the 1649 Act of Toleration, Catholics in Maryland were subjected to legalized persecution through the 1632 Maryland Sunday Law and the 1649 Public Religious Law that mandated Church attendance. These laws sought to force conformity and dissidence was punishable. However, the 1649 Act of Toleration ended this period of religious persecution and provided Catholics with the right to freely practice their faith and enjoy legal protections. These protections included the right to elect Catholic leaders, freedom of worship, and the right to hold office; the right to own firearms and build fortifications; access to public lands and the right to vote; and authorization to conduct trade and commerce exempt from certain taxes. In addition, the Catholic Church was extended legal recognition and given the ability to issue marriages and other sacraments in order to better contribute to the lives of the citizens of Maryland.

Moreover, the permission for Catholics to own land was particularly beneficial for those of the faith. A law passed in 1649 enabled Catholics to purchase land and property, further validating the importance of the Catholic Church in society and providing Catholics with a place to practice their faith; this was a right that many other colonies denied. In addition, Catholics in Maryland could seek justice in court with full protections guaranteed by the laws of the colony. In 1692, Maryland lawmakers even passed a law that forbade the denial of civil rights to any “person professing of the Catholic faith”. This law was significant because it gave legal protection to Catholics and safeguarded their civil liberties.

Finally, another significant privilege afforded to Catholics in Maryland was the permission to establish private denominational schools for their children. The 1696 law granting this right to Catholic families provided a safe and nurturing learning environment for families of the faith, further illustrating Maryland’s commitment to religious tolerance and the importance of education within colonial culture.

Overall, the legal rights and privileges granted to Catholics in Maryland during the colonial period were unprecedented. By preserving religious liberty and providing protections, the Maryland colonists transformed the Maryland colony into a

How did the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics affect the relationship between England and the colonies?

At the beginning of the 1600s, religious tensions and intolerance were rampant in England under the Church of England, led by King James I. Though official church doctrine prevented participation by Catholics and other non-Anglican religions, an influx of European settlers with different religious affiliations threatened to change this ultimately rigid program. To combat this perceived threat to the status quo, King Charles I chartered and granted Maryland to Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore in 1632, with the condition that it be established as a safe haven for Catholics. To create and maintain his new colony, Lord Baltimore imported both Catholic and Protestant settlers to Maryland, restarting the cycle of religious tension and establishing a complex relationship between the Crown and the colonies that would develop over the course of the colonial period.

The founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics quickly led to decades of bitter and conflict-ridden power struggles between English Catholics and the English Crown. Starting with an initial wave of Catholic settlers in 1634, Maryland served as a respite for English Catholics fleeing religious persecution in the Old World, creating an environment of tolerance and acceptance for their faith. Many of these settlers were from the English county of Devon, which had historically been highly supportive of English Catholics. Lord Baltimore had controversially granted full religious liberty to all believers in his province, posing a direct threat to the Church of England’s control over religious practice and beliefs. These actions incensed the English government and ignited a tumultuous period of colonial-Crown tension which lasted for much of the colonial period.

Although the English Crown attempted to gain control of Maryland, they were met with steadfast refusal from Lord Baltimore, as well as the large Catholic population in the colony. After a series of legal battles, Archbishop William Laud in 1641 issued an injunction forbidding any further Catholics from settling in Maryland. Though he intended to expel the Catholic population of Maryland, Laud’s injunction was ultimately unsuccessful and sparked a wave of just outrage and indignation from the Catholics in the colony. After this ruling, the Protestants in Maryland began heavily scrutinizing their Catholic neighbors and the ruling class in Maryland, which ultimately led to a series of periodic religious and political purges known as the Puritan Revolution of 1655. This event seems to have been a turning point in the English-colony relationship as religious tensions continued to mount.

The founding of Maryland and its identity as a safe haven for English Catholics fundamentally changed

What were the long-term effects of the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics?

The founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics was a landmark event in the history of the United States. Despite being founded as a success story for religious freedom, the long-term effects of the decision continue to influence the American religious and political landscape today, with implications both positive and negative.

First, the decision to grant religious freedom in Maryland was a major step forward in religious freedom in America. The founders of Maryland established a policy allowing freedom of conscience, letting everyone practice their religion without fear of persecution. This policy was adopted into the Maryland Constitution of 1649, making Maryland the first colony with a written guarantee of religious freedom. This legal guarantee encouraged other newly formed colonies to also guarantee religious freedom, making religious liberty a cornerstone of the American values system.

The colonization of Maryland also served as a protective haven for Catholics from other regions who sought refuge from religious persecution. Catholics from England, France, and other parts of the United States flooded into Maryland and quickly created a vibrant and powerful Catholic community. In the following decades, Catholic institutions such as churches, convents, and schools were built throughout the state, marking the introduction of a new religion into American society. This, in turn, encouraged other Catholic immigrants to look to America as a place where they could feel safe, leading to a surge of Catholic immigration across the United States.

Moreover, the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics also played an important role in American identity formation. The notion of America as a place of religious freedom is a founding principle of the country, and many of the values put forward by the Founding Fathers of the United States can be attributed to their experience of colonial Maryland. The Maryland founders not only granted religious freedom but also sought a balance between Church and State, imploring both sides to resist immoderate power. This idea of balance became essential to the American ethos, helping to foster a culture of religious tolerance and mutual respect.

Despite these positive effects, the founding of Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics also had some more contentious consequences. It inadvertently caused tension between different religious groups, as Protestants began to fear the growing power of Catholics in the country. This fear was intensified by the Catholic Church's views on slavery, as the Church had come out in opposition to the enslavement of Africans. This caused a backlash from some Protestant denominations who sought to halt the spread of Catholic beliefs, leading to laws that disadvantaged Catholics financially, socially, and

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to the Catholics in Maryland?

After Charles Carroll the Settler arrived in Maryland and founded a thriving Catholic colony in 1749, religious tolerance was supposed to be a hallmark of the new land. Unfortunately, officials in England refused to recognize Carroll as an official representative of the Maryland Catholics. This led to discrimination and economic ruin for Carroll’s followers. persecution also intensified during the early days of the Republic when many Catholics were falsely accused of being sympathetic to Spain. Dispersed throughout the state, most Catholics eventually gave up their beliefs and assimilated into the general population.

How did Baltimore become so anti-Catholic?

Some historians believe that Baltimore's anti-Catholic sentiment arose from the Catholic Civil War of 1871-1872, in which Baltimore Catholics sided with the Union Army. After the war, many anticlerical laws were enacted in Maryland and other states. This hostility toward Catholicism persisted up until the mid-1900s, when some Catholic immigrants began settling in Baltimore and helped to enact laws protecting their free practice of religion.

Why did the first settlers come to Maryland?

The first settlers came to Maryland because it was a haven for Roman Catholics persecuted in England.

Is Maryland named after Mary Stuart or Our Lady?

Mary Stuart is not the namesake of Maryland, nor is she even mentioned in documents that founded the state. The colony was actually named after Lady Baltimore, Charles' wife.

What happened to the Catholics in Maryland colony?

Catholics, in 1634, were a tiny minority of the population of Maryland. By 1658, however, they had been outlawed in the colony and many had fled to Pennsylvania.

Cory Hayashi

Cory Hayashi

Writer at Go2Share

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Cory Hayashi is a writer with a passion for technology and innovation. He started his career as a software developer and quickly became interested in the intersection of tech and society. His writing explores how emerging technologies impact our lives, from the way we work to the way we communicate.

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