George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Sir George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore.
(Painting by Stewart Montgomerie, 1997)

Sir George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (c. 158015 April, 1632) was an English politician and coloniser.

He was born in Kiplin Hall, Yorkshire and educated at Trinity College, Oxford. In 1606 he was made a clerk of the crown in Connaught province, Ireland and was made a clerk of the Privy Council in 1608. In 1609 he became a Member of Parliament and was knighted in 1617 for service to King James I of England in matters foreign and domestic. Calvert became Secretary of State in 1619.

In 1620, Calvert purchased a tract of land in Newfoundland between Fermeuse and Aquaforte on what is now the Avalon Peninsula. In 1621, Calvert sent Edward Wynne and a group of Welsh colonists to found a settlement at Ferryland. The new colony grew and became the first successful permanent British settlement on the island. Calvert was granted a royal charter in 1623 and his land grant was extended from Ferryland to Petty Harbour and from Conception Bay to west of Placentia Bay and was given the name Province of Avalon.

Calvert converted to Catholicism in 1625 and, shockingly, announced it publicly. Since Catholics could not hold civil office, Calvert resigned as Secretary of State. His service in that post was a failure, as he had failed in the attempt to negotiate a marriage between the heir to the thorne (the future Charles I of England) and Maria, daughter of Philip III of Spain. However, in 1625 Calvert was given the title of Baron Baltimore as a reward for his loyalty to the king and moved to his Irish estates.

Baltimore travelled to the colony in 1627 and 1628 took over as Proprietary Governor of Avalon from his agent. He brought two Catholic priests with him with the intent of making the colony a haven for persecuted Catholics. One of the priests founded at Ferryland the first Catholic mission on British North American soil. In 1628 Baltimore brought his wife and eldest son, Cecil Calvert, with him to settle but Baltimore became disenchanchanted due to a harsh winter which killed ten settlers and afflicted many others with scurvy as well as constant harassment of the colony by French pirates and criticism by Puritans for his covertly establishing a Catholic colony.

Lord Baltimore applied for a new royal charter for what was to become the Province of Maryland and set out for the territory in 1629 leaving his son in charge of Avalon. He landed in Virginia but the English colonists rejected him and he went back to Ireland.

In 1632 Baltimore sent Leonard Calvert and 300 settlers back to America. However, he died in April 1632, two months before his royal charter was officially granted and his son established Maryland the following year.

See also: British colonization of the Americas

External links

Preceded by:
New Creation
Baron Baltimore
Succeeded by:
Cęcilius Calvert

Template:End boxde:George Calvert, 1. Baron Baltimore


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