The first European person to explore Maryland was John Cabot in 1498. At the time he found only Native American tribes within the area.
Maryland was not settled by Europeans until the 1600s. At that time the main tribes included the Nanticoke on the Eastern Shore and the Shawnee inland. People of the Cherokee Tribe were also known to come into the mountainous regions of Maryland.
George Calvert became 1st Baron Baltimore in 1625, when he resigned from English politics, announced his Catholicism publicly, and left for the new world to seek some religious freedom. His intent was to form a colony of political freedom for English Catholics.
Calvert first settled on the island of Newfoundland but found the climate and the settlements there disagreeable. Looking for a better climate, he found the area that is today the state of Maryland and applied for a royal charter. This was granted to him, but unfortunately he had died just prior to receiving the royal seal. His sons took over establishing a colony in Maryland and Leonard Calvert became the first colonial governor of Maryland. However, his father was given the credit as being the founder of Maryland.
The colony was named for the Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, and did become a haven for Catholics. Under the leadership of John Calvert’s sons, Cæcilius and Leonard, thousands of British Catholics were able to emigrate to Maryland creating some of the oldest Catholic communities in the country.
Tobacco growing flourished in Maryland and became a major crop with many large tobacco plantations evolving, creating a colony of wealthy land owners.
Although Catholic rule in Maryland was eventually nullified by the re-assertion of royal control over the colony, only a few decades later Maryland joined twelve other British colonies along the Atlantic coast in declaring their independence from British rule and the right to freedom of religion for all citizens in the new Unites States.
Maryland is the 7 th state to join the Union of the United States of America on Monday, April 28, 1788.