Maryland Flag Meaning: History And Symbolism

The Maryland Flag is a truly unique, distinctive and colorful banner that has a fascinating history and symbolism. It features a striking design that sets it apart from other state flags in the United States. In this article, we’ll delve into the background, history, and significance of the Maryland Flag.

Maryland Flag Origins & History

Maryland’s flag is one of the most recognizable state flags in the United States. It features a unique design that draws inspiration from the coats of arms of two powerful families in the state’s history: the Calverts and the Crosslands. Let’s take a look at the evolution of Maryland’s flag over the years.

The First Maryland Flag

Maryland’s first flag was designed in 1904 by a group of Maryland National Guard soldiers who were serving in the Philippines. It featured the colors of the Calvert family’s coat of arms: black and gold. The flag also included the coat of arms itself, which featured a gold and black shield with six vertical stripes, two black and four gold. Above the shield was a baron’s crown, which represented the Calvert family’s nobility.

The Second Maryland Flag

In 1923, the Maryland General Assembly adopted a new flag that combined elements of the first flag with the Crossland coat of arms. The Crossland family had married into the Calvert family and had their own coat of arms that included red and white colors. The second Maryland flag featured a red and white cross bottony, which was taken from the Crossland coat of arms, on top of the black and gold Calvert coat of arms. The flag became popular across the state and was widely flown during World War II.

The Current Maryland Flag

In 1956, the Maryland General Assembly officially adopted the current flag of Maryland. The flag combines the design of the second flag with a more modern, stylized look. The black and gold Calvert coat of arms is in the upper left corner, while the red and white Crossland cross bottony is in the lower right corner. The flag is divided into four quadrants, with two black and two gold sections. The flag has become a symbol of Maryland pride and is flown throughout the state, from government buildings to private homes. It even inspired the Baltimore Orioles baseball team to incorporate the flag into their team uniforms.

Maryland Flag Design & Symbolism

Maryland is known for its unique state flag, which is unlike any other flag in the United States. The flag’s design consists of four quadrants with alternating colors of black, yellow, red, and white. But why these colors, and what do they represent?

The Color Scheme of the Maryland Flag

The colors of the Maryland flag are steeped in history and symbolism. The black and gold represent the Calvert family, who were the colonial proprietors of Maryland. The red and white are from the Crossland family, who were the maternal ancestors of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. The colors were combined to represent unity between the two families and their influence on Maryland’s founding. The yellow and black quadrants are a nod to the state bird, the Baltimore oriole, and the state insect, the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.

The Crossland Banner

The Crossland banner, which is the red and white quadrant of the flag, was originally used by Maryland soldiers during the Civil War. The banner was flown during the Battle of Antietam, which was one of the deadliest battles in American history. The soldiers believed that the banner brought them good luck, and it became a symbol of Maryland’s bravery and courage.

The Calvert Family Crest

The black and gold quadrants of the flag are based on the Calvert family crest. The crest features a black and gold design with six vertical bars, which were said to represent the rays of the sun. The crest was used by George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, and became a symbol of Maryland’s colonial history.

The Black and Gold Motto

The Maryland flag also features a black and gold motto at the bottom, which reads “Fatti maschii, parole femine”. This Italian phrase translates to “Strong deeds, gentle words”, and is a reminder of the importance of both strength and civility in Maryland’s history and culture. It serves as a call to action for Marylanders to live up to this motto in their daily lives.

In conclusion, the Maryland flag is a unique and meaningful symbol of the state’s history and values. Its colors, design, and motto all come together to represent Maryland’s past, present, and future. Next time you see the Maryland flag waving proudly, remember the stories and meanings behind its design.

Maryland Flag: Fun Facts

Maryland Flag Day

Did you know that October 12th is a special day in Maryland? It’s Maryland Flag Day! On this day in 1880, the Maryland flag was officially adopted, and it has been a symbol of pride for the state ever since. The flag features the colors black, gold, red, and white, and it’s a unique design that represents the history and heritage of Maryland.

The Maryland Flag in Pop Culture

The Maryland flag is not just a symbol of the state, it’s also a popular design in pop culture. You can find the Maryland flag on everything from t-shirts and hats to beach towels and beer koozies. Even celebrities like Michael Phelps and Jada Pinkett Smith have been spotted sporting Maryland flag gear.

The Maryland Flag in Sports

Maryland is home to some amazing sports teams, and the state flag is often seen at games and events. The Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles both feature the Maryland flag on their uniforms, and the University of Maryland Terrapins have a flag-inspired design for their athletic logos. The flag is also a popular choice for sports fans who want to show their Maryland pride.

The Maryland Flag on License Plates

If you’ve ever driven in Maryland, you’ve probably noticed the iconic flag on license plates. The Maryland flag has been featured on license plates since 1986, and it’s a way for drivers to show their love for the state. In fact, Maryland was one of the first states to use a decorative license plate design.

In conclusion, the Maryland flag is more than just a symbol of the state. It’s a design that has become a part of pop culture, sports, and even license plates. So the next time you see the Maryland flag, remember all the fun facts that make it such a unique and beloved symbol.

The Maryland Flag Controversies

The Maryland flag has been a source of controversies in recent times. Here are some of the most notable ones:

The Maryland Flag vs. Confederate Flag

Some people have raised concerns about the similarities between the Maryland flag and the Confederate flag. Both flags feature a cross design and red and white colors. However, the Maryland flag also includes black and gold colors and was adopted in 1904, decades after the Civil War ended. Despite these differences, some argue that the Maryland flag still evokes negative feelings due to its association with the Confederacy. Others, however, argue that the Maryland flag is a symbol of state pride and has no connection to the Confederacy.

The Maryland Flag and the LGBTQ+ Community

In recent years, the Maryland flag has become a symbol of support for the LGBTQ+ community. The flag’s colors have been incorporated into pride flags and used to signify a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, some members of the community have raised concerns about the flag’s history and connection to the state’s past discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. Despite these concerns, many still view the Maryland flag as a symbol of inclusion and acceptance.

The Maryland Flag and the Black Lives Matter Movement

The Maryland flag has also been a topic of discussion in the Black Lives Matter movement. Some argue that the flag’s use of the cross design is reminiscent of the Confederate flag and therefore carries negative connotations. Others argue that the flag’s unique design and history make it a symbol of state pride and unity. Recently, some activists have called for the removal of the flag from public spaces, while others have advocated for it to be used as a symbol of solidarity in the fight against systemic racism.

Overall, the Maryland flag has a complex history and holds different meanings for different people. While it may be a source of controversy, it is important to remember that symbols are only as powerful as the meaning we assign to them.

The Best Maryland Flag Items to Buy

Maryland’s flag is one of the most unique and recognizable state flags in the USA. If you’re a fan of the Maryland flag, there are a variety of items you can buy to show off your state pride. Here are some of the best Maryland flag items to buy:

1. Maryland Flag Clothing: Show off your love for the state with Maryland flag clothing. Popular items include t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats.

2. Maryland Flag Decor: Add some Maryland flair to your home with Maryland flag decor. You can find everything from bedding to shower curtains to wall art.

3. Maryland Flag Accessories: Accessorize with Maryland flag items like socks, scarves, and even phone cases.

4. Maryland Flag Food: Believe it or not, you can even find Maryland flag food items! Check out Maryland flag popcorn, cookies, and even hot sauce.

Where to Buy Maryland Flag Merchandise

If you’re wondering where to buy Maryland flag merchandise, you have a few options. Local gift shops and tourist destinations often carry Maryland flag items, but you can also find a wide selection online. Here are some of the best places to buy Maryland flag merchandise:

  • Route One Apparel
  • The Maryland Store
  • Alex and Ani
  • Amazon
  • Etsy

The Most Popular Maryland Flag Merchandise

Some Maryland flag items have become more popular than others. Here are some of the most popular Maryland flag items you can buy:

  1. Maryland Flag Crab T-Shirt
  2. Maryland Flag Sunglasses
  3. Maryland Flag Scarf
  4. Maryland Flag Socks
  5. Maryland Flag Crab Mallet

No matter what Maryland flag items you choose to buy, you’re sure to show off your state pride in a unique and stylish way. Happy shopping!

The Meaning Behind the Maryland State Flag

The Maryland State Flag is not just an ordinary flag with colors and symbols. It is a representation of the state’s rich history and heritage. The flag consists of four quadrants, each with a unique design that symbolizes Maryland’s history and culture.

The flag’s design is based on the coat of arms of the Calvert and Crossland families, who were the founders of Maryland. The first and fourth quadrants, which feature the black and gold patterns, represent the Calvert family’s coat of arms. The second and third quadrants, which feature the red and white patterns, represent the Crossland family’s coat of arms.

The Maryland State Flag also features the colors red, white, black, and gold. These colors have significant meanings as well. Red symbolizes courage and bravery, white represents purity and innocence, black signifies perseverance and determination, and gold represents richness and excellence.

In conclusion, the Maryland State Flag is a powerful symbol that represents the state’s history and heritage. It is a beautiful and meaningful flag that anyone can appreciate, whether you’re a native Marylander or just an admirer of the state. Next time you see the Maryland State Flag flying high, take a moment to appreciate its rich symbolism and the story it tells about the state of Maryland.


In conclusion, the Maryland state flag is a unique and colorful symbol of pride for the state’s residents. The flag’s design is a tribute to the state’s history and its founding families. The colors and patterns on the flag are distinctive and instantly recognizable, making it a beloved symbol of Maryland’s heritage. Whether you are a native of Maryland or a visitor, the state flag is sure to make you smile and feel a sense of belonging. So the next time you see the flag flying proudly, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and the story it tells.

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