Maryland Day is on March 25 and the story behind it is one for the ages. Many people think of seafood when they think about Maryland, but it has a rich history with surprising details. The name came from Queen Henrietta Maria of England who was married to King Charles I, though there are some historians who believe that it was named after Jesus’ mother Mary.
History of Maryland Day
On June 20, 1632, King Charles I of England authorized the charter that granted the settlement of Maryland to Cecilius Calvert, the Baron of Baltimore. The settlers took two ships: one was a large ship named Ark and the other was a smaller one named Dove. Cecilius’s brother, Leonard Calvert traveled on the former and led the Maryland settlers.
The ships set sail November 22, 1634 from Cowes on the English Isle of Wight. After several days, a storm came upon them and separated the ships. The Ark went onto the Fortunate Islands, now known as the Canary Islands, then sailed westward across the Atlantic where they landed on Barbados in the West Indies on January 3. While stationed there for three weeks, the Dove returned to them and the ships sailed northward to Virginia on February 27. They stocked up on supplies then traveled to Chesapeake Bay north to the Potomac in early March.
They arrived on Maryland’s shores much to the concern of the Native Americans. Leonard Calvert sailed to Piscataway and met with the Conoy Indian Chief and negotiations were made to keep the peace. He sailed back down the Potomac and on March 25, English settlers rowed to the island of the soon-to-be-named St. Clements and had a thanksgiving feast for their accomplishment.
The State Board of Education chose one day in the school year to acknowledge the history of Maryland which began in 1903, and they named March 25 as Maryland Day. The General Assembly authorized it as a legal holiday in 1916. Today, Maryland Day is celebrated as a day of learning, fun, and discovery with events and activities based on exploration.