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Riverdale Park in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Native American History

Town of Riverdale Park

— You are on Piscataway Land —

 
 
Native American History Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 23, 2022
1. Native American History Marker
Inscription.  
Native Americans numbering in the tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—occupied North America above the Rio Grande when, in the 17th century, Lord Baltimore colonized what is now Maryland. Even in this small colony, many thousands of Indians lived in uncounted settlements in communities whose languages and customs were as diverse as those of contemporary European states. The stone tools and pottery sherds sought and studied by archaeologists are meager remnants of the many Native American societies that once flourished in the region.

Archaeological research and Native American traditions place the origins of these peoples back thousands of years and through scores of generations. Just how long ago and how many generations remains the subject of research and debate. Artifacts, documents, and oral histories all point to cultures with many commonly held beliefs, but beliefs that contrasted with those of Europeans. No greater distinction and source of misunderstanding existed than that of land tenure—whose land is it and does the individual or group claiming the land have the right to its exclusive use?

Native
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groups changed the locations of their settlements, often seasonally, and generally split into smaller groups that might join other groups. Adoption of individuals and entire communities was not uncommon, as was identification with particular locations. These fluid groups did not recognize individual ownership of land.

Cecil Calvert's perspective in the early 1630s, and that of his successors, was very different. As the Proprietor of Maryland, Calvert owed his title to Great Britain's monarch. Individual colonists rented land from the Proprietor, also known as Lord Baltimore, and continued to do so until the 1750s when the sixth and last Lord Baltimore began to sell land to individuals. The Calverts and their colonists often disputed who owned the land, but none of them regarded Native Americans as rightful owners. Virtually all Europeans believed that land could—and should—be owned by individuals.
 
Erected by Town of Riverdale Park, Maryland.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyColonial EraNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 38° 58.036′ N, 76° 56.078′ W. Marker is in Riverdale Park, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Wells
Native American History Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 23, 2022
2. Native American History Marker
Run Pl just west of 47th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4700 Wells Run Pl, Riverdale MD 20737, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. ERCO (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Riversdale Plantation (approx. ¼ mile away); MacAlpine Farm (approx. ¼ mile away); MacAlpine Icehouse (approx. ¼ mile away); ERCO and Calvert Homes (approx. ¼ mile away); Trolley (approx. ¼ mile away); Calvert Family Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Eternal Tribute (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Riverdale Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 15, 2024. It was originally submitted on September 23, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 155 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 23, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jul. 21, 2024