Maryland State Flag

The state flag hanging out the Maryland State House in Annapolis.
The state flag hanging out the Maryland State House in Annapolis.

Maryland is a state in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The state borders West Virginia to the south, Washington D.C. to the west, Pennsylvania to the north, and Delaware to the east. Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, while Baltimore is the state's largest city. Maryland was named after English Queen Henrietta Maria of France. Cecil Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, founded the colony of Maryland in the 17th century.

Adoption and Design

Maryland officially adopted its state flag in 1904 through the Maryland General Assembly. The flag was flown for the first time in Baltimore on October 11th, 1880, occuring at a procession celebrating the 150th anniversary of Baltimore's founding. The flag was also flown during the Battle of Gettysburg on October 25, 1888. The flag, which also happens to be Maryland’s State Seal, consists of the coats of arms of the Crossland and Calvert families. The flag includes four colors: yellow, black, red, and white. Yellow and black appear in the first and fourth quadrants, while red and white are present in an alternating fashion on the other two quadrants.

Symbolism of the Flag's Colors and Features

The Calvert family colors (yellow and black) are markers of the link between the early proprietorship of the family and the modern-day Maryland. Before Maryland had an official flag, these two colors were closely associated with the state. The red and white colors represent the coat of arms of the Crossland family, which was related to the mother of Lord Baltimore.

Confederate General Robert Lee’s Northern army chose the Crossland banner to distinguish themselves from Unionist Marylanders. As the war progressed, Maryland supported the Unionists even though a large proportion of the population supported the Confederacy. State support came from Baltimore’s counties covering the south and the east parts of the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. After the Civil War, residents of Maryland sought a symbol that would unite them and speed up the reconciliation process. As a result, the two banners were merged to form the flag used by the state today.

Use of the flag

By October 1880, the state of Maryland flew their flag which consisted of the coat of arms belonging to the Calvert and Crossland families. Afterwards, the flag was used on two major occasions. The state flew the flag during the Maryland monument dedication, which was led by Governor Elihu Jackson. The monument was located at the Gettysburg Battlefield. Consequently, during the following year, the Maryland National Guard’s Fifth Regiment officially adopted use of the flag.


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