|Leonard Calvert was born about 1606, the second son of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. In 1628 he accompanied his father to the new Calvert colony at Ferryland in Newfoundland, Canada. While there, the Calverts engaged in a naval war with the French over control of the Newfoundland fishery. Lord Baltimore’s forces captured a French ship which was claimed as a prize of war. Leonard, at the young age of 22, was given command of this ship to sail it back to England to officially claim it.
Newfoundland’s cold winters proved too much for the Calverts, and they decided to seek a colony elsewhere.
He led the initial expedition from England to the new colony, established good relations with the local Indians, selected the site of the capital at St. Mary’s City, and attempted to execute the orders and designs of his brother amidst the almost constant hostility of the Virginians.
Leonard’s father died in 1632, just as the King of England was going to give Lord Baltimore a charter for a new colony in the Chesapeake. Leonard’s brother Cecil became the next Lord Baltimore and in 1633, he sent Leonard as governor to found the new colony of Maryland.
Leonard served as the first Governor of Maryland, from 1633-1647, during the hectic early years of founding and defending the colony. While governor, he traveled to Virginia to meet with the government of that colony, returned briefly to England, and then came back to Maryland just shortly before a rebellion led by Richard Ingle in 1645. Leonard fled to Virginia to organize resistance and retook the colony from the rebels. He was out of the colony for almost two years following Richard Ingle’s invasion of Maryland, but finally restored proprietary authority. He made Margaret Brent his legal representative. Shortly after, Leonard Calvert died of an unknown illness.
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