Put on your black, red and yellow to celebrate Maryland’s 380th birthday! Yesterday was Maryland Day, the anniversary of our state’s founding in 1634. In appreciation of our state’s heritage, we decided to spend the day putting together a timeline of Maryland history. Enjoy!
- Algonquin speaking tribes of Native Americans live throughout the area and along the shore.
- 1498- Explorers such as John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discover parts of Maryland and in 1608 John Smith sails up the Chesapeake Bay.
- In 1634, Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, his younger brother Leonard Calvert and the passengers on board the ships the Ark and the Dove set foot on St. Clement’s Island, establishing the first Maryland Day. The colony was originally set up as a place for Catholics to live since Protestantism ruled England at the time. Similarly to states like Virginia, Maryland was named after the ruling queen. Virginia was named for Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen” and Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of the ruling king Charles I.
- Although Maryland did not originally seek to break away from the British, the Maryland troops who fought for independence were skilled soldiers who caught the attention of George Washington. Washington bestowed a nickname upon the home colony of these troops in the “Maryland Line” as the “Old Line State,” which continues to be one of Maryland’s nicknames today. Hey if GW gave us a nickname, we’ll let it stick.
- During the War of 1812, Maryland saw many battles along the Chesapeake coast including those in Bladensburg and Havre De Grace. It was also during this war that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner while seeing the battle on the Bay at Fort McHenry.
- The Civil War was an immense hardship for the country as well as Maryland. Many plantation owners had freed their slaves after the Revolutionary War, causing about 49% of the blacks living in Maryland to be freemen. However there was also still a large slaveholding population in the state. Throughout the war, Union troops were sent to quell uprisings of those in Maryland. Many significant Civil War events occurred in Maryland including the first documented bloodshed of the war. Unfortunately, some troops from Massachusetts were fired on while marching through Baltimore.
- Also during the Civil War, the battle of Antietam Creek was the bloodiest single day battle in American history and also took place on Maryland soil. This strategic Union victory was a turning point in the war that ended Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North.
- From the abolition of slavery to fighting for equal rights, Maryland has produced a number of leading activists. During and after the Civil War two Marylanders, hailing from the Eastern Shore, Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman both helped to improve the lives of blacks throughout America. Later in 1906, the Baltimorean Upton Sinclair fought for better workers rights with his best-selling novel The Jungle. Also in 1967, after working years as a lawyer for the NAACP and as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Thurgood Marshall, also from Baltimore, became the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court.
- Something we can all relate to (and appreciate) occurred in 1952…the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. For the first time both eastern and western shores of the state were connected. Prior to this a ferry service was used to transport patrons across the water.
- For those of you who are not sports fans this may not seem like a big accomplishment but the Baltimore Ravens winning the 2013 Super Bowl was a huge accomplishment for the state. Showing off the great athletic talent that our state can produce as well as the strong leadership shown by Raven’s owner and Maryland native Steve Bisciotti, this win showed the nation once again that Maryland is a force to reckoned with.
From the inspiration of our national anthem to civil rights activists, Maryland has it all. Not to mention the natural and historic sites surrounding us on the Shore. We suggest showing your Maryland Pride not only on Maryland Day, but all year long!