The Premier See (1789 – 1823)

The boundaries of America’s senior metropolitan see have changed many times in its history. When the Diocese of Baltimore was established, its boundaries were the same as those of the new Republic. In 1808, Baltimore was raised to the rank of archdiocese with suffragan sees at New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Bardstown (now Louisville). Until 1846, when the Archdiocese of Oregon City (now Portland) was erected, Baltimore was the only archdiocese and hence had the entire country for its province. The Archdiocese of Baltimore underwent further division during the intervening years with the establishment of sees at Richmond and Charleston (1820), the Vicariate Apostolic of Alabama and Mississippi (1823).
The creation of the Diocese of Wilmington in 1868 resulted in the separation of Maryland’s nine eastern shore counties from the Baltimore Archdiocese. With the separation of the Archdiocese of Washington from Baltimore seventy- nine years later, Maryland’s five southern counties were given to the newly independent see. As late as 1962, the province of Baltimore, with the exception of Washington, included the states of Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the eastern section of Florida. When the province of Atlanta was established, the Baltimore province was restricted to the suffragan sees of Richmond, Wheeling, and Wilmington.