Maryland was once a center of the slave trade: Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies that allowed slavery, and by the mid-18th century, it had become a major center of the domestic slave trade. Maryland slave traders sold enslaved people to plantation owners in other southern colonies and to the Caribbean.
Charles County, Maryland, has a rich and diverse history dating back to its founding in 1658. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people. It was one of the first counties established in the Province of Maryland and was named in honor of Charles Calvert, the third Baron Baltimore and the proprietor of the Maryland colony.

During the colonial period, Charles County played an active role in the growth of the colony. It was a major center for tobacco cultivation, which drove the economy and attracted settlers. The county was also known for its strategic location, situated along the Potomac River and providing access to important trade routes.

The region witnessed significant events during the American Revolutionary War. Many Charles County residents were Patriot sympathizers, with several local militias forming to defend against British forces. The Battle of Fort Washington in 1776, located in the southern part of the county, saw intense fighting and was a pivotal moment in the war.

In the 19th century, Charles County went through various social and economic changes. Slavery was widespread, and the county had a significant enslaved population. However, opposition to slavery gained momentum, leading to the gradual emancipation of enslaved individuals. Charles County also experienced economic shifts, moving away from tobacco cultivation to industries like canning and manufacturing.

Today, Charles County remains a diverse and vibrant community, known for its mix of rural charm and suburban development. It is a popular residential area for those working in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. The county continues to preserve its historical heritage, with numerous historical sites, museums, and events that showcase its past.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Charles County, Maryland.

  • 1658: Charles County is established by an act of the Maryland colonial legislature
  • 1683: The county courthouse is constructed in Port Tobacco
  • 1819: The county seat is moved from Port Tobacco to nearby La Plata
  • 1895: The Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland) opens a branch in Charles County
  • 1928: The Thomas Stone National Historic Site is established to preserve the home of one of Maryland's signers of the Declaration of Independence
  • 1940s: The construction of the Potomac River Naval Command Center begins in Indian Head
  • 1990: The College of Southern Maryland is founded with a campus in La Plata
  • 2002: Charles County Public Schools becomes the first school system in the state to provide laptops to all its students in grades 6-12