HomeGeography | Government | History | Links | State SymbolsEmail

The State of Maryland


Where did Maryland Get Its Name?

The charter that Lord Baltimore received from King Charles I of England specified a name for the new colony. It was to be called Maryland to honor King Charles’ wife Queen Henrietta Maria (Queen Mary).

How did Maryland Acquire Nicknames?

The Old Line State: This nickname is, according to some, a reference to the Maryland soldiers who fought courageously in the Revolutionary War, the Maryland Line. It is said that General George Washington referred to these soldiers as "The Old Line." Maryland was the only state that had regular troops "of the line" and these soldiers were ranked among the finest and best disciplined in the army.

Another origin is given that goes back further in history. It is said that Maryland is referred to as "The Old Line State" because it was the dividing line between the land grants given to William Penn and Lord Baltimore.

The Free State: This nickname originated in an article written by Hamilton Owens, the editor or the Baltimore Sun. In 1923, a Georgia Congressman, William D. Upshaw, attacked Maryland as a traitor to the union because it never passed a State enforcement act supporting Prohibition. Hamilton Owens' article, "The Maryland Free State" was a mocking response to Mr. Upshaw, suggesting that Maryland should secede from the Union before acting to prohibit the sale of liquor. This article was never published but Mr. Owens referred to Maryland as "The Free State" in later editorials.

The Cockade State: This nickname, coined during the Revolutionary War, again refers to the Maryland soldiers. According to King's Handbook of the United States, 1891, the Maryland Old Line was made up of young men who "...wore brilliant cockades". Cockades are badge-like ornaments usually worn on hats. These decorations gave birth to Maryland's nickname, "The Cockade State".

The Monumental State: In the early 17th century, Baltimore was given the nickname of "The Monumental City" and this nickname was transferred to the state over time.

"The Monumental City" was bestowed upon Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams, probably in reference to the monuments he saw on his visit to the city in 1827. The "Battle Monument" honoring Baltimore's defensive victory in the War of 1812 was standing on the site of the old court house. Construction was under way on the first major memorial to George Washington. President Adams was also taken to North Point to view the Aquila Randall Monument erected to honor a member of the First Mechanical Volunteers of the Fifth Regiment who was killed on September 12, 1814.

At a dinner engagement, Adams thanked the citizens of Baltimore for the kind reception he had been given during his visit and proposed a toast "Baltimore, the Monumental City—may the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy as the days of her danger have been trying and triumphant!"

The Oyster State: This nickname refers to the large oyster fisheries in the state.

The Queen State: Probably because Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria, Maryland has been referred to as "The Queen State."

 What is Maryland's Motto?

Fatti Maschii Parole Femine — meaning "Strong Deeds, Gentle Words"

The Maryland motto, Fatti Maschii Parole Femine, has not specifically been adopted as a state motto. Rather, it has been accepted as a state motto because it was adopted as an element of the Great Seal of Maryland.

The motto dates back to the Great Seal of the Province of Maryland, which included the arms of the Lords Baltimore (Calvert family). Fatti Maschii Parole Femine appeared on this seal.

The translation of the motto has varied over the years. In 1993, State Archivist, Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, presented his translation in response to charges that the motto, as transcribed in law, was discriminatory. For more information, please click here.

What are Maryland’s Citizens Called?
People who live in or who come from Maryland are called Marylanders.
Does Maryland Have a Quarter?

Number two in 2000, the Maryland State Quarter depicts the dome of the Maryland Statehouse, the largest wooden dome in the country built without nails. The Maryland Statehouse, dating back to 1772, is the oldest state capital building still in use by a legislature.