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In 1634, Maryland recorded a little less than 3,000 Catholics out of a population of 34,000 (around 9% of the population). In 1757, Pennsylvania recorded fewer than 1,400 Catholics out of a population of about 200,000. In 1785, when the newly founded United States (formerly the Thirteen Colonies) contained nearly four million people, there were fewer than 25,000 Catholics (about 0.6% of the population).
Catholicism first came to the territories now forming the United States before the Protestant Reformation with the Spanish explorers and settlers in present-day Florida (1513), South Carolina (1566), Georgia (1568–1684), and the southwest. The first Catholic Mass held in the current United States was in 1526 by Dominican friars Fr. Antonio de Montesinos and Fr. Anthony de Cervantes, who ministered to the San Miguel de Gualdape colonists for the 3 months the colony existed.