State Flags – Maryland

maryland-nylonThe seventh state to enter the union is Maryland on April 28, 1788 when it ratified the federal constitution. The state was named after the queen consort Henrietta Maria, who was married to King Charles I of Britain. It is the 42nd biggest state in the nation but is the 19th most populous state.

The state flag of Maryland is a rather colorful one. This flag is the only state flag based on the British coats of arms. The flag’s design was inspired by the coat of arms adopted by George Calvert (1579-1632), who was the first Lord of Baltimore. The alternating gold and black squares and rectangles come from Calvert’s family shield while the red and white crosses are inspired by Calvert’s maternal family the Crosslands. This flag was first flown on October 11, 1880 in Baltimore at a parade marking the 150th anniversary of its founding. It was also flown at other historical events but the flag was not officially adopted until 1904.

Blue_crab-1024x729The state is a largely coastal state. Chesapeake Bay is the largest body of water in the state of Maryland. There are also nearly 50 rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and creeks in addition to the Atlantic Ocean. Maryland is largely known for the crab due to it being the state crustacean (actually, the Maryland Blue Crab), one of three states who has a state crustacean. The blue crab is a treat for seafood lovers who live in and visit the state.

State Bird: Maryland’s State Bird is the Baltimore Oriole, which is the same name as its Major League Baseball Team.

Food: Try a crab cake once you’re in Maryland!

State Flag of Maryland

The Flag of Maryland
The Flag of Maryland

The flag of the state of Maryland was adopted on November 25, 1904. The Maryland flag is rectangular and divided into four fields. The top left and bottom right fields feature the coat of arms of the Calvert Family and the top right and bottom left feature the coat of arms of the Crossland family.

Maryland is the only state in the United States to use a British coat of arms for its state flag. The two coats of arms represent the banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, who was a British politician, colonizer, and Parliament member in the seventeenth century. Calvert became interested in establishing colonies in Newfoundland, and, after realizing Newfoundland’s weather was unsuitable for English settlers, began drafting a royal charter to colonize what is now the state of Maryland. Although Calvert died several weeks before the charter was sealed, Calvert is historically recognized as the founder of Maryland.

George Calvert’s son, Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore founded the colony of Maryland. From Maryland’s founding until the Civil War, only the gold and black Calvert coat of arms was used to represent Maryland. During the Civil War, Maryland remained in the Union; however, many of Maryland’s citizens chose to fight with the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and began using the Crossland coat of arms as their secession banner.

After the Civil War, Maryland’s citizens began flying flags that included both coats of arms, in an effort to reconcile conflicted feelings. The flag of Maryland that is used today was first flown on October 11, 1880 at a parade marking the 150th anniversary of Baltimore’s fouding. It was later used on October 25, 1888 at Gettysburg during a ceremony dedicating monuments to the Maryland regiments that fought for the Army of the Potomac. Maryland’s state flag was officially adopted on November 25, 1904.

The flag of Maryland’s colors and symbols are used prominently throughout the state. The city of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore, Howard, Calvert, and Worcester all have coats of arms and/or flags that incorporate one or both of the flag of Maryland’s coats of arms. The University of Maryland, Loyola University Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland’s sports teams all use the colors or symbols of the Maryland flag in some way as well.