Who was Lord Baltimore? Part One.

The city of Baltimore was named after the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert, son of the first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert. Writing for the Maryland State Archives, Maria Day discusses the life of George Calvert:

“George Calvert was the first person to dream of a colony in America where Catholics and Protestants could prosper together. He was born in Yorkshire, England and studied at Trinity College at Oxford. Sir Robert Cecil, King James I’s Secretary of State, hired Calvert to be his secretary. Sir Robert trusted Calvert as a good advisor. King James I then rewarded him with the title of “Knight” for good service in 1617. Calvert became Sir George Calvert, Secretary of State for King James I.

By the time that King James I died and his son Charles I ruled England, Calvert had distinguished himself as a statesman and loyal subject. He served several terms as a Member of Parliament. King James I, and later his son King Charles I, gave Calvert lands in Ireland and grants of money. Yet George had a problem: he had become a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics were not permitted to hold high offices for the King of England or to be Members of Parliament. In 1625, Calvert announced to James I that he had become a Catholic, and so had to resign his job. But King James I liked Calvert so much that he decided to give him another title. Sir George Calvert then became the First Baron of Baltimore, a town on the southern coast of Ireland.”

George Calvert was given a charter for land in Newfoundland (now a part of Canada) prior to his Maryland land charter. According to the Colony of Avalon historical website,

“In 1620, George Calvert (1579/80-1632) purchased a parcel of land in Newfoundland from Sir William Vaughan. The land extended from just south of Aquaforte to Caplin Bay (now Calvert). The following year, Calvert’s colonists set off for Ferryland under the leadership of governor Captain Edward Wynne. After the colony had been established, Calvert obtained a larger land grant from King James I of England, who awarded him “the Province of Avalon“.”

Day explains that George briefly lived in the Newfoundland Avalon colony, but died before obtaining the Maryland charter. It would be up to his sons to bring the Maryland colony to fruition:

“George Calvert died in 1632, before Charles I had time to approve the charter for his new colony, named Maryland (“Terra Mariae”).  Calvert’s eldest son, Cecil, the Second Lord Baltimore helped to bring his father’s dream colony to life. Another son, Leonard, became Maryland’s First Governor.”

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