Religious Conflict and Economic Development

Religious conflict was strong in ensuing years as the Puritans, growing more numerous in the colony and supported by Puritans in England, set out to destroy the religious freedom guaranteed with the founding of the colony. A toleration act (1649) was passed in an attempt to save the Catholic settlers from persecution, but it was repealed (1654) after the Puritans seized control. A brief civil war ensued (1655), from which the Puritans emerged triumphant. Anti-Catholic activity persisted until the 19th cent., when in an unusual reversal of the prevailing pattern many Catholic immigrants came to Baltimore.

In 1694, when the capital was moved from St. Mary’s to Annapolis, those were the only towns in the province, but the next century saw the emergence of commercially oriented Baltimore, which by 1800 had a population of more than 30,000 and a flourishing coastal trade. Tobacco became the basis of the economy by 1730. In 1767 the demarcation of the Mason-Dixon Line ended a long-standing boundary dispute with Pennsylvania.

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