The Bay's network of rivers and creeks has provided an accessible means of travel and trade for centuries. Prior to the arrival and settlement of people from Europe, local Native American tribes lived, fished, and traded with one another along the tributaries of the Bay's western shore. Crabs, terrapin, oysters, eels, and fish pulled from the bountiful Bay supplemented their diet of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers, berries, nuts, wild birds, and game.
The first Europeans to settle in this area were dissident Protestants from Virginia, who arrived in 1649. They named the area Providence and initially took up land on the north shore of the Severn River. They soon spread themselves out along nearby creeks to obtain sufficient land for raising tobacco, their primary crop. Within a few years, the first settlers had established plantations on this peninsula.