Maryland’s founding represented an early example of a shift in English colonial policy. While joint-stock companies had established colonies such as Virginia and Massachusetts Bay, England’s King Charles I granted Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a proprietary charter for the colony of Maryland. The Calvert family remained proprietors of the colony until the American Revolution, except for a period from 1691 until 1715, when the British Crown administered Maryland as a royal colony.
Throughout its existence, the colony witnessed a power struggle between the elected colonial legislature and proprietary officials. Although there was some ebb and flow in this contest, in general, the proprietor maintained a strong hold on the colony until the 1770s.
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