Maryland State History:
The Story Begins…


Early in the 17th century, the Calverts were granted a charter to what is now the state of Maryland.  A group of adventurers set off for the Chesapeake on the Ark and the Dove to establish the first settlement and new capital of the colony, which they called St. Mary’s City.  The Calverts instituted a progressive policy of liberty of conscience, allowing people of varied faiths to freely worship in Maryland.  The second half of the century was St. Mary’s heyday, marked by a strong tobacco economy and growth in population. Late in the century there was a revolution, and the city was abandoned and sank back into the soil from which it had arisen.


St. Mary’s City is one of the most historic locations in the United States. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark since 1969, it is the best preserved founding site of a 17th-century English colony in North America. St. Mary’s was the scene of many notable events in America’s early history.


Learn more about Maryland’s founding and you will discover a story ripe with drama–replete with heroes and villains, philosophers and entrepreneurs, grand plans and heartbreaking disappointments. Discover the people and events that shaped Maryland’s first years and the ways scholars reveal the past by exploring material on these pages and visiting the museum at Historic St. Mary’s City.


What’s so important about St. Mary’s City?

St. Mary’s was the home of many First’s in the New World.


Notable People

Read about the adventurers who made it happen.


…Once the Metropolis of Maryland

The History and Archaeology of Maryland’s First Capital


All of Us Would Walk Together

An Exhibit on the Transition from Slavery to Freedom at St. Mary’s City


Dr. Lois Green Carr’s Biographical Files 

Link to the Maryland State Archives, and the Career Files of Dr. Lois Green Carr


Discover Lord Baltimore’s First Colony

Maryland wasn’t Lord Baltimore’s first venture in the Americas, read about his Canadian home.



DigDeeperDig deeper into the history of Historic St Mary’s City.