George Calvert

George Calvert

First Lord Baltimore

(1579 -April 15, 1632)


The oldest son of an obscure Yorkshire gentleman, George Calvert gained wealth, status, and influence in the England of his time. Knighted in 1617 and a member of the Parliament in 1621, Calvert served as secretary of state for James I, at a time when conflict between Catholic Europe and Protestant England was serious. Calvert resigned from his government posts in 1625, when anti‑Catholic legislation was being debated in Parliament and converted—or returned—to Catholicism (he had been Catholic until the age of 12 when he was forced to become Anglican).  However, Calvert had served the crown so well that in 1625 King James I bestowed on him the title Baron of Baltimore and property in Ireland.


Calvert devoted the next seven years of his life to colonization projects in America. Long interested in colonization, Calvert was an early investor in the Virginia Company that founded Jamestown. In 1621, he established his own colony in at Ferryland in his Province of Avalon, Newfoundland.  Calvert moved there with his family in 1628.  After a severe winter on the island, Calvert began to look to the south as a region better suited to “human habitation.” He lobbied King Charles I for a grant of land near Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay.  That the Protestant king granted Catholic George Calvert’s second land grant petition was remarkable. Calvert was awarded a grant with unprecedented powers, but he died before the charter for Maryland was official on June 20, 1632.


Read about the Calvert vision here.