Sunday, October 6, 2019

How Maryland was Named

Charles I and Henrietta Maria
Just as Marie-Antoinette is unjustly blamed for bankrupting France, Queen Henrietta Maria is unfairly accused of bankrupting England, even in an otherwise accurate article.  Both France in the 1780's and England in the 1640's were bankrupted by wars and by decades of mismanagement that had little to do with the spending habits of the queens. Each queen had a limited budget for their household, and although they sometimes had debts, they did not have open access to the royal treasury as some people imagine. From Aleteia:
Being the Catholic wife of an English monarch was officially impossible then (this prohibition was not revoked until 2015). The price she paid was never being crowned as Queen Henrietta Maria, as she would not endure a Protestant coronation service. Nor was she even called by her correct name very often. The English preferred to call her Mary, and it is through this Anglicization that one of America’s earliest colonies was created.

Mary Land, as it was then known, was founded by a charter from King Charles in 1632. His name had already been used so often that he decided to use his wife’s instead. The most prominent tribute to himself is what later became North and South Carolina (from the Latin for Charles). Charleston, West Virginia, honored a different Charles.

Henrietta Maria was at least allowed to keep part of her original name in the Latin version of Maryland: Terra Mariae. The Charter of Mary Land is a useful reminder of the territorial priorities of English monarchs: “Charles by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland” tells us that the king was still claiming the French throne. The New World was a sideshow.
The land was given to Lord Baltimore, as well as the “fish, whales, sturgeons and all other royal fishes.” Immediately after the clause on fishing and mining rights comes the right to “build and found Churches, Chapells and Oratories.” It was this provision that gave most hope to the persecuted Catholics of 17th-century Great Britain and Ireland. Lord Baltimore was a well-known Catholic whose family’s services to two kings had given him room for religious maneuvering. His intentions for Mary Land were more than commercial. He had selected it as a refuge, and it couldn’t have had a better name. Not only did the new province pay indirect tribute to the Mother of God, who was disapproved of in Protestant England, it was also a reference to a very Catholic queen. (Read more.)
 I always find it hilarious the when the Stuart Kings and Queens of England claimed to be sovereigns of "England, Scotland, France, and Ireland" they had the temerity not only to claim France but mention it after Scotland. Too funny.
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