Chesapeake Bay - Colonial Period - The Mariners' Museum
The Mariners' MuseumChesapeake Bay - Our History and Our Future
Native AmericansColonial PeriodOyster Wars20th CenturyEconomyLighthousesWatermenResourcesCreditsSponsorsHome

Ajacan, The Spanish Jesuit Mission

Roanoke Colony

Jamestown Colony

St. Mary's City

The French

Exploration of the Chesapeake Bay

Gabriel Archer

John Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1612

The accidents that happened in the Discoverie of the bay

What happened the second voyage to discover the Bay

Chesapeake Bay -
Our History and Our Future
has been made possible
in part by:
Bank of America
St. Mary's City
Portrait of John Smith
Portrait of John Smith
In 1608, Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay, including the area of modern- day Maryland. He began to trade with the local tribes, many who were loyal to Powhatan. In 1631, William Claiborne, representing the London trading company, began a trading post at Kent Island.

Map of Ould Virginia by John Smith
Map of Ould Virginia by John Smith
The first Lord Baltimore wanted to establish a settlement in America. He convinced the King to grant him the land from the Potomac River north to modern-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. He planned to be peaceful with the Indians and to treat them fairly. His son, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, sent his brother Leonard Calvert on the ships Ark and Dove in 1633.

The two ships had over one hundred settlers (men, women, and children), both Catholic and Protestant. The settlers bought part of the town of Yowaccomoco from the local Indian tribes. They traded axes, hoes, cloth, and hatchets. The tribes eventually abandoned their territory through trade, treaty, and force.

In 1634, Yowaccomoco was renamed St. Mary's City. It became the first English colony in the area now known as Maryland. The settlers built a fort like the ones at Roanoke Island and Jamestown.

Most of the houses and communities were located on the water. Before the streets and roads where laid out, the colonists used Indian paths or boats to get to places. St. Mary's City was the capital of the colony. Just like in Jamestown, it was on a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides.

Catholic and Protestant settlers lived together in harmony. In England they would have been fighting and killing each other. In 1638, the Catholic colonists built a chapel. They allowed the Protestants to hold services there until they built their own church in 1642. In 1649, the Act Concerning Religion was signed giving official tolerance to all religious groups.

In 1694 the capital was moved from St. Mary's City to Ann Arundel Town and renamed Annapolis. This place was chosen because it was a healthier climate and the harbor could hold up to five hundred ships. After the move to Annapolis, St. Mary's City fell into ruin.

A Relation of Maryland, 1635
"...and without boasting it may be said, that this Colony hath arrived to more in sixe months, than Virginia dod in as
many yeeres."


Continue to: The French

 

 

Native Americans | Colonial Period | Oyster Wars | 20th Century | Economy
Lighthouses | Watermen | Resources | Credits | Home


Navigation Bar