In November 1633, two ships called, Ark
set sail from England. After a voyage of four months, they arrived in Maryland.
Lord Baltimore, the founder and proprietor of Maryland, was a Catholic who hoped to increase his wealth by making the colony profitable. He attracted settlers partly through a policy that enabled Catholics and other religious dissenters to worship freely and to enjoy legal rights that were denied to them in England. Seventeen of the 140 passengers on the Ark
were Catholic gentlemen who invested money in the colony.
However, most colonists were not Catholics, nor were they prosperous. A large number came here as servants, promising to work for about four years under a contract called an indenture in exchange for free passage to the New World. After their term of labor, indentured servants could apply for a right to 50 acres of land. It was a mutually satisfactory arrangement. In England, poor people rarely were able to acquire land. Here in Maryland, land was abundant, but labor was scarce.
Lord Baltimore was granted the proprietorship of Maryland by King Charles I who sought to extend English influence in the New World.
Ark and Dove left in November 1633 from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England.
They arrived in Maryland in March of 1634.
"...the benefit and honour of such an action [the planting of the colony] was readily apprehended by divers Gentlemen, of good birth and qualities, who thereupon resolved to adventure their Persons, and a good part of their fortunes with his Lordship, in the pursuite of so noble and (in all likelihood) so advantageous an enterprise."
A Relation of Maryland, 1635
Two ships made the original voyage to Maryland. The larger ship was called Ark. It carried 140 people who became Lord Baltimore's first settlers. The smaller was called Dove. It carried supplies for establishing the colony.
Most indentured servants arriving in Maryland faced four years of very hard labor. Tobacco was a labor-intensive crop that required tending from February-October.
Maryland's first colonists arrived hoping for opportunities that eluded them at home. For some, it was the opportunity to own land, others to practice their religion, and still others to make their fortunes in the abundance of New World resources.
1632 Maryland Charter Granted
1633 Colonists Set Sail
1634 Colonists Arrive in Maryland
1642 Maryland Population Nears 400
1668 St. Mary's City Incorporated
1689 Protestant Rebellion in Maryland
1695 Capital Moves to Annapolis
"I have sent a hopeful Colony to Maryland with a fair and probable Expectation of good Success."
Cecil Calvert, January 1634
Lord Baltimore's colony was called Terra Maria, or Maryland, after Queen Henrietta Maria, the Catholic wife of King Charles I.