The Dig Lesson Starters

Maryland was the 4th colony established by English colonists in 1634. Historic St. Mary's City was the founding site and the first capital of Maryland. It served as the original seat of government and a center of colonial commerce.

Use these lesson starters with elementary and middle school students to investigate the history of colonial Maryland and examine the life and times of historic St. Mary's City. Select a topic below to find video clips, essential and guiding questions, learning extensions, and other student supports to use in your classroom.

Colonial economy relied on international trade. This meant that the Americas, Europe, and Africa all relied on each other for the commerce of raw goods and manufactured goods. The historical trading system between these nations was known as Triangular Trade.

> Go to Commerce During Colonial Times

Native People of Maryland
Grades 3-4, Grades 6-8

The Yaocomico (also spelled Yaocomaco) were a Native American tribe who lived along the north bank of the Potomac River where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay. They were among the first inhabitants to live in the state before it was settled by European colonizers.

> Go to Native People of Maryland

Plantations in Colonial Maryland
Grade 4, Grades 6–8

Tobacco was a major cash crop in the colony of Maryland, and it was labor-intensive. The plantation system allowed the owners to increase their profits by using the forced labor of enslaved people to harvest the crops.

> Go to Plantations in Colonial Maryland

During the Colonial Era, most goods were transported on ships. Water transportation was preferred because it was faster, and roads during this time period were rough terrain. The colonial economy depended on international trade.

> Go to Shipping During Colonial Times

Slavery in Maryland
Grade 4, Grades 6–8

In Africa, Europeans captured people and forced them to endure a brutal 5000-mile voyage to the Americas known as the Middle Passage. This was the birth of the Transatlantic Slave Trade which led to the beginnings of race-based slavery in the colony of Maryland.

> Go to Slavery in Maryland

This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport.