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.