Maryland was inhabited by Indians centuries before European settlement. The major tribes were the Piscataway in the west and the Nanticoke in the east, both of the Algonquian language family. They were generally peaceful peoples and engaged mainly in agriculture. There were also some Susquehanna Indians, of the Iroquoian language family, in the north. The Indians in Maryland were gradually displaced by the European settlers, and most had left the colony by the end of the 18th century.

Important dates in Maryland
1572 Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the Spanish governor of Florida, explored Chesapeake Bay.
1608 Captain John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay.
1631 William Claiborne established a trading post on Kent Island.
1632 King Charles I of England granted the Maryland charter to Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore.
1634 The first European settlers arrived in Maryland.
1649 Maryland passed a religious toleration act.
1654 William Claiborne seized control of the colony.
1658 Cecilius Calvert regained control.
1691 England assumed direct rule of the colony and sent a royal governor, who arrived in 1692.
1715 The Calvert family regained proprietorship of the colony.
1767 Mason and Dixon completed their survey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary, begun in 1763.
1774 Marylanders burned the Peggy Stewart and its cargo of tea in protest against the Boston Port Act.
1776 Maryland declared its independence.
1776-1777 The Continental Congress met in Baltimore.
1783-1784 The Continental Congress met in Annapolis.
1786 The Annapolis Convention met.
1788 Maryland became the seventh state on April 28.
1791 Maryland gave land for the District of Columbia.
1814 Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry.
1828 Building of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began.
1845 The U.S. Naval Academy was founded at Annapolis.
1850 The National (Cumberland) Road, west from Cumberland, was completed.
1862 Federal forces drove back the Confederates from Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg.
1864 A constitution abolishing slavery was adopted.
1904 The Great Fire destroyed Baltimore's downtown area.
1919-1933 Maryland resisted the nation's prohibition laws and became known as the Free State.
1952 The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (now the William P. Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge) was opened to traffic.
1985 Maryland, in cooperation with Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., began a project to cleanup polluted Chesapeake Bay.