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Who was Anne Arundel?

Little is known about the short life of Anne Arundel, the namesake of Anne Arundel County. She was born in 1605, the daughter of a powerful Catholic nobleman, Thomas, Lord Arundel (often spelled Arundell) of Wardour.

Lady Anne was 13 when she made a politically advantageous marriage to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord of Baltimore. A well-connected Catholic nobleman, Calvert inherited from his father, the first Lord of Baltimore, the title of "Absolute lord of Maryland and Avalon" along with provincial rights to the new colony.

Calvert -- who never set foot in Maryland -- sought to make the colony a prosperous and safe refuge for persecuted Catholics, investing a good deal of his own wealth in the new lands.

He sent his younger brother, Leonard, who would later serve as Maryland's provincial governor, to the new colony in 1634. Leonard sailed with the ships Ark and Dove, and the colonists established a settlement at St. Mary's.

Anne gave birth to nine children, four of whom lived to adulthood. She died in 1639 at the age of 34. Cecil outlived her by many years, enjoying a long retirement before dying in Middlesex on Nov. 30, 1675.

One year after Lady Anne's death, the General Assembly in St. Mary's City created Anne Arundel County -- encompassing much more territory than it does today -- in honor of the wife of the colony's founder.