Flag of Maryland

Flag of Maryland

Flag of Maryland
Use Civil and state flag Civil and state flag
Proportion 2:3
Adopted November 25, 1904
Design Heraldic banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore

The flag of the state of Maryland consists of the heraldic banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. It is the only state flag in the United States to be based on English heraldry. (While the flag of Washington, D.C. is a representation of the coat of arms of the Washington family, Washington, D.C. is not a state.) It was officially adopted by Maryland in 1904.



The black and gold design on the flag is the coat of arms of the Calvert family. It was granted to George Calvert as a reward for his storming a fortification during a battle (the vertical bars approximate the bars of the palisade).[citation needed] The red and white design is the coat of arms of the Crossland family, the family of Calvert's mother, and features a cross bottony. Since George Calvert's mother was an heiress, he was entitled to use both coats of arms in his banner.


"Crossland Banner"
Unofficial state flag of Maryland used by secessionists during American Civil War

The Maryland colony was founded by Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, hence the use of his coat of arms in the flag. At first, only the gold and black Calvert arms was associated with Maryland. The red and white Crossland arms gained popularity during the American Civil War, during which Maryland remained with the Union despite many citizens' support for the Confederacy. Those Marylanders who supported the Confederacy, many of whom fought in the Army of Northern Virginia, were reluctant to use the banner that was associated with a state which remained with the Union. They adopted the Crossland banner, which was red and white (seen as "secession colors").

After the war, Marylanders who had fought on either side of the conflict returned to their state in need of reconciliation. The present design, which incorporates both of the coats of arms used by George Calvert, began appearing. At first, the Crossland coat of arms was put in the upper-left corner, but this was supposedly changed to the Union's Calvert arms because of the Union victory.[citation needed]

The flag in its present form was first flown on October 11, 1880, in Baltimore, Maryland, at a parade marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of Baltimore. It also was flown on October 25, 1888, at the Gettysburg Battlefield during ceremonies dedicating monuments to Maryland regiments of the Army of the Potomac. However, it was not officially adopted as the state flag until 1904 (Chapter 48, Acts of 1904, effective March 9, 1904).

Legal description

The Maryland state flag flying alongside US flag.

Section 13–202 of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland provides:

  • (a) The State flag is quartered.
  • (b) The 1st and 4th quarters are paly of 6 pieces, or and sable, a bend dexter counterchanged. Thus, the 1st and 4th quarters consist of 6 vertical bars alternately gold and black with a diagonal band on which the colors are reversed.
  • (c) The 2nd and 3rd, quarterly, are argent and gules, a cross bottony countersigned. Thus, the 2nd and 3rd quarters are a quartered field of red and white, charged with a Greek cross, its arms terminating in trefoils, with the coloring transported, red being on the white ground and white on the red, and all being as represented upon the escutcheon of the State seal.

The Maryland Secretary of State publishes a "Protocol for the Maryland State Flag" which, among other things, specifies the colors of the flag:

1.04. The red and yellow colors in the Maryland flag should conform to the following Pantone Matching System colors:

  • red on coated stock: PMS 201
  • red on uncoated stock: PMS 193
  • yellow on coated stock: PMS 124
  • yellow on uncoated stock: PMS 124

Flagpole restrictions

Maryland is the only state in the union that has a specific guideline not only on how to display the flag but on what the flagpole should look like as well. In 1945, the Maryland General Assembly made a gold cross bottony the official ornament for any flagpole carrying the state flag. Some time before October 10, 2007, Government House (the governor's mansion) in Annapolis ceased to display the cross bottony at the top of the flag pole, but the flags at the State House continue to do so (adhering to Maryland Code Section 13-202 and 203). All other government buildings, including public schools, obey this guideline, but many private individuals and businesses do not.

Cultural impact

The Calvert and Crossland coats of arms, and the flag itself, have been adapted for use in various ways across the state.

  • On September 9, 2008, the University of Maryland painted both end zones at Byrd Stadium with the flag's two patterns.
  • Some Maryland counties and municipalities have arms and/or flags incorporating elements of the arms, including the city of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Howard County, Calvert County, and Worcester County.
  • The University of Maryland athletic teams have long used the colors of the state flag. All four colors from the flag are currently used, with the primary colors being red and white, with black and gold used as accent colors. The men's basketball team uses gold and the football team uses black as alternate colors. The Maryland flag is also displayed on the right shoulder of the football uniforms. At the start of the 2011 football season, the team unveiled a new uniform designed by Baltimore-based sportswear company Under Armour combining both parts of the flag. The end zones of Byrd Stadium are often decorated in a Maryland flag motif, and the state flag is run onto the field during home football games.
  • The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), also in the University System of Maryland, has all four colors located in its main logo.
  • The shield of Loyola University Maryland utilizes both the Calvert shield in its upper-left quadrant, as well as a stylized red and yellow quadrant, symbolic of the Maryland state flag.
  • The seal of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore features the same design and colors as the Maryland flag. The Johns Hopkins colors are sable and gold, taken from the Calvert coat of arms (though the athletic colors are blue and white, as the school mascot is the Blue Jay).
  • The secondary logo of the Baltimore Ravens in the National Football League is a shield with alternating Calvert and Crossland Banners interlocked with a stylized "B" and "R".
  • Starting with the 2009 season, the Baltimore Orioles baseball club has added a patch to the left arm of their uniforms that features a round version of the Maryland flag.
  • The gold and black Calvert coat of arms and red and white Crossland coat of arms are featured in the seal of the town of Ferryland, Newfoundland, present day site of Calvert's Colony of Avalon.
  • Southwest Airlines changed the livery of a 737-700 to a Maryland state flag theme in 2005, dubbed Maryland One.[1] Southwest Blog entry on Livery Schemes Picture
  • Goucher College incorporates the flag in its seal.

See also

  • State of Maryland
    • Symbols of the state of Maryland
      • Great Seal of the State of Maryland


  1. ^ Meredith Cohn (June 15, 2005). "Southwest paints Boeing 737 with Maryland flag theme". Baltimore Sun. 

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