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Charles I, King of England (1600-1649) and
Henrietta Maria, Queen of England (1609-1669)

King Charles I was the English king who signed the Charter of Maryland, making Maryland a colony. King Charles I reigned in England from 1625 to 1649. He was the second member of the Stuart family to rule England and Scotland jointly.

King Charles knew that George Calvert had been a wise secretary of state for the king's father, James I. Charles I signed the Charter of Maryland in 1635, making George Calvert and his heirs Proprietors of Maryland. But George Calvert died before the Charter was ready to be signed.

George's son, Cecil Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore, recieved the province of Maryland from King Charles I. During his reign, Charles I made certain that Cecil Calvert could maintain control of his colony. However, the English Civil Wars between Parliament and Charles I, left the possession of the Maryland Province in question.

To learn more about history during King Charles I's reign, see his page from History of the Monarchy, on the Official Website of the British Monarchy.

Maryland got its name from Henrietta Maria. She was the daughter of King Henry IV of France and Marie de Médici of Italy. In 1625, Henrietta Maria married King Charles I and became Queen of England. King Charles I's choice to make Henrietta Maria his wife was controversial because she and her family were Roman Catholics rather than members of the Church of England.

Queen Henrietta Maria was unpopular with many English people and members of Parliament because she assisted English Catholics like the Calverts. The Calverts chose to name their new province in North American, Mary-land, (“Terra Mariae”) in the queen's honor.

Henrietta Maria's life was difficult due to the English Civil Wars that occurred during her husband's reign. She had to flee England while her husband was on trial for treason against his nation. She went to the Netherlands to raise money and soldiers to support King Charles I.

In 1649, King Charles I was executed by Parliament. Henrietta Maria went home to France and entered a convent. She returned briefly to England in 1660, to see her eldest son crowned King Charles II. Another son, King James II ruled from 1685 to 1688. Henrietta Maria died in Paris at the age of 51 in 1669.

  • King Charles I's biography from a British perspective, in History of the Monarchy section, Official Website of the British Monarchy.

  • The Charter of Maryland, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Huntingfield Corporation Collection) "A Relation of the Successefull beginnings of the Lord Baltemore's Plantation in Mary-land: The Charter of Maryland, 1635." MSA SC 1399-526 also titled: "A Relation of Successfull beginnings of the Lord Baltimore's Plantation in Mary-land," (1635). Click here to view The Charter online at Museum Without Walls, online exhibit of the Maryland State Archives, October 23, 2002.

  • "Maryland named for Queen Henritta Maria," Maryland State Archives, May 29, 2002.

  • Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of England, oil painting by the Studio of Anthony Van Dyck, 1632. Courtesy of Commission on Artistic Property, Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 1545-1100.
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