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Tue, 02.02.1841

The Republic of Maryland is Formed

The Republic of Maryland Flag

*The Republic of Maryland is affirmed on this date in 1841. Also known as the Independent State of Maryland, it was a country in West Africa that existed from 1834 to 1857, when it was merged into Liberia.

The state of Maryland had an increasing proportion of free blacks. During the first two decades after the American Revolution, about 25% of blacks were freed, in part because the war's ideals inspired slaveholders. Practically, changing labor needs meant that fewer slaves were required. By 1810, some 30% of northern Maryland's Blacks were free in a more urbanized region, but so were 20% in the southern part of the state. In the next two decades, the number of free blacks increased markedly in the northern part of the state in Baltimore, the state's and the South's largest city.

By 1830, Maryland had 52,938 free blacks: 51.3% of blacks in northern Maryland were free, and the Black population of Baltimore was 75% free. In southern Maryland, free blacks made up 24.7% of the Black population. The Maryland State Colonization Society was originally a branch of the American Colonization Society, which had founded the colony of Liberia at Monrovia on January 7, 1822. The Maryland Society established a new settlement to accommodate its emigrants and control trade in its colony.

In December 1831, the Maryland state legislature in the United States appropriated US$10,000 for 26 years to transport 10,000 free Blacks and ex-slaves and 400 Caribbean enslaved people from the United States and the Caribbean islands, respectively, to Africa. It founded the Maryland State Colonization Society for this purpose. Nowhere near that number were transported. The area was first settled in 1834 by American freedmen and formerly enslaved Americans, primarily from the state of Maryland. In 1838, these settlements were united into the Commonwealth of Liberia, which declared independence from the American Colonization Society on July 26, 1847.

The Maryland colony remained separate from the Commonwealth of Liberia, as the colonization society wished to maintain its trade monopoly. On February 2, 1841, Maryland-in-Africa became the Independent State of Maryland. Following an independence referendum in 1853, the state declared independence on May 29, 1854, under the name Maryland in Liberia, with its capital at Harper, Liberia.

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