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Biographies Unit Biographies

Margaret Brent 1601–1671?
First Woman in Maryland to Own Land

Margaret Brent was born into a rich royal family in England. When her parents died, however, very little of their wealth came to her because of English laws. She also was not allowed to own land or practice her religion. Brent wanted those rights, so she left England for North America.

In 1638, Brent moved to the new colony of Maryland. She owned a lot of land. Other people paid her so that they could live on it. She quickly became rich and powerful. In 1648, Brent asked to be able to vote at a meeting of property owners. She wanted to have the same rights as the men who owned property. Brent was the first woman to make such a request.

Brent was denied the vote because she was a woman. She chose to leave Maryland and buy land in Virginia, where she lived the rest of her life on her plantation called “Peace.”

Comprehension Check

Why did Margaret Brent leave England for North America?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think Brent chose to move to Virginia after the decision about the vote?