March 26, 2012 - Maryland Day

On this date in 1634, English settlers emerged from two ships, the Ark and the Dove, and first stepped foot onto the soil of what later became Maryland.

Today, the people of Maryland celebrate their history with special school programs, a festival in the capital city of Annapolis, art exhibitions, and re-enactments.

What's in a name?

Maryland was named after the French wife of King Charles I of England. The Queen's name was Henrietta Maria, but the English people called her Queen Mary.

Maryland's largest city, Baltimore, was named after Lord Baltimore, the first leader of the colony. Lord Baltimore was a member of the Irish House of Lords, and the name Baltimore itself comes from the Irish Gaelic term Baile an Ti Mhoir, which means “town of the big house.”

Maryland's capital city, Annapolis, was named after two different Annes. An earlier name was Anne Arundel's Towne, after the wife of Lord Baltimore, and when the city was renamed Annapolis, it was in honor of the Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway, who was soon to be the queen of Great Britain.

Not a name, but two names and two crests: Maryland's colorful flag combines the family crests of the Calvert and Crossland families, two families in Lord Baltimore's background. The gold-and-black pattern used to be the Maryland flag. When Maryland sided with the Union during the Civil War, some confederate Marylanders started using the red-and-white cross pattern as their flag. After the war, in an attempt to reunify the two sides, the flag became a combination of the two crests.

Find out more at Maryland Kids' Page

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