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Lord Baltimore Biography

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  • 0:05 The Title of Lord Baltimore
  • 0:40 George Calvert, The First Lord
  • 2:40 Cecilius Calvert, The…
  • 3:46 Maryland Toleration Act
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Carroll

Erin has taught English and History. She has a bachelor's degree in History, and a master's degree in International Relations

In this lesson, you will learn about Lord Baltimore. Lord Baltimore is actually a title, and this lesson will discuss the first two Lords Baltimore who founded and settled Maryland.

The Title of Lord Baltimore

You may know Baltimore, Maryland, as the home of the Orioles and the Ravens, but do you know where the city got its name? Baltimore is named for Lord Baltimore - but here's where it gets tricky. When we talk about Lord Baltimore, we're actually talking about a couple of different men. That's because Lord Baltimore is really a title, kind of like Queen of England is a title. In today's lesson, we're talking about two different men who were given the title 'Lord Baltimore'. These men were George Calvert and his son, Cecil Calvert. We can think of George Calvert as the founder of Maryland, and Cecil Calvert as the settler of Maryland.

George Calvert, the 1st Lord Baltimore

George Calvert was born in England in 1579. He was a major supporter of King James and was knighted in 1617. King James viewed George Calvert as a trusted advisor and named him secretary of state. However, George faced criticism from members of Parliament who distrusted his close ties to the Spanish throne and Catholics. During this time, the protestant Church of England was the official state church, and Catholicism was essentially illegal in England. Nevertheless, King James wanted to reward George for his loyalty and service, so he granted George an estate in County Longford in Ireland.

It was at this point in 1625 that George Calvert officially became the Baron of Baltimore, making him the first Lord Baltimore. However, after this, Calvert's standing in English politics fell even further, and he was forced to resign as secretary of state. Immediately after his resignation, George Calvert converted to Catholicism. However, as a Catholic, Lord Baltimore could no longer hold public office in England, and with that being the case, George Calvert turned his attention to the North American colonies.

George Calvert
George Calvert

Since Calvert had long been interested in colonization, the shift to the North American colonies made sense. He already had shares in the British East India Company, a joint stock business, and the London Company, an English joint stock business which settled Virginia and other settlements. Then, in 1620, he bought a tract of land in Newfoundland, which he called Avalon. The Calverts visited the colony in 1627, but soon left as a result of the bitter cold climate and disease. With the failure of Avalon, Lord Baltimore looked to the warmer climate of Chesapeake Bay. As Catholics, the Calverts were not allowed to settle in Virginia, so Calvert petitioned King Charles I, who had succeeded King James, to grant him a charter for land just north of Virginia. George Calvert hoped that this new colony could be a haven for British Catholics in the New World. In 1632, George Calvert died just weeks before the Maryland charter was approved. With his death, the title of Lord Baltimore then passed down to George's son, Cecil.

Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore

Cecilius - or Cecil Calvert, as we'll refer to him in this lesson - became the second Lord Baltimore, and five weeks later the Maryland charter passed. Cecil immediately began finishing his father's work, sending out the first settlers, and appointed his younger brother Leonard to go and govern the colony in person. The second Lord Baltimore remained involved in the affairs of the colony, but Cecil never actually went to Maryland. Instead, he organized the settlement and defended the colony's charter in England.

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