Flags of Our Nation
Issue Date: August 6, 2009
City: Washington, DC
Maryland is the only state whose flag bears the arms of an English Lord. The colony’s founder, George Calvert, adopted a coat of arms that included his father’s yellow and black colors and his mother’s white and red colors.
The first Maryland flag only displayed the yellow and black checks. Although it was never officially adopted, the flag was widely accepted and quickly identified with Maryland.
In 1861, the Civil War started and Maryland’s loyalties were divided. Virginia was a major trade partner and many sympathized with its cause. At the same time, the state bordered Washington, D.C., and it was once part of Maryland. Thousands of sympathizers crossed into Virginia and joined the Confederacy. To identify themselves as Confederate-Marylanders, they carried flags that included both colors.
After the war, the process of reconciliation began. Maryland’s 5th Regiment was made up of men who fought on opposing sides during the war. It adopted the flag with both colors to show that Yankees and Rebels could work together again. The flag became a symbol of the state. In 1904, the flag was officially adopted as the Maryland state flag.