State flag of Maryland.

Celebrating the Founding of our State on Maryland Day

By Waxter Intern

Get your Maryland flag hoodies, socks, scarves, and sunglasses on! Maryland Day is celebrated this weekend! Read the brief history here to impress your friends then scroll down for events all across the state:

Brief History of Maryland Day

Maryland Day commemorates the March 25, 1634 founding of the land that would become Maryland. Approximately 140 colonists aboard the ships Ark and Dove landed at St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River. It had been a tumultuous journey. Shortly after departing from the Isle of Wight on November 22, 1633, the Dove was lost in a severe storm. The Ark sailed to the Canary Islands, then due west to the Island of Barbadoes in the West Indies. Amazingly, the Dove rejoined the Ark and the entire party sailed to Virginia. After replenishing supplies, they moved north up the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac. They named the island where they landed after St. Clement, the patron saint of mariners.

St. Clement’s Island, 1969. Photo from Maryland Historical Trust.

Led by Leonard Calvert, they settled on the land of the Yaocomico people and founded the town of St. Mary’s. King Charles I of England had granted George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, extensive privileges in the 1632 Charter of Maryland, but George died before he was able to settle the colony. His younger brother Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore, inherited the privileges of the charter and set up his younger brother Leonard to govern the new land. Cecil Calvert envisioned Maryland colony as essentially a replica of English town settlements, containing organized streets and houses with adjoining gardens. But the settlers quickly moved outside the town of St. Mary’s to make their own homesteads, engaging in trade with the Native Americans and planting different crops, including the cash crop tobacco.

While the Calverts, devout Roman Catholics, wanted Maryland to be a place of greater toleration for Catholicism, the majority of the first settlers were Protestants. Disagreement over which form of religion was to have greater influence eventually stirred strong anti-Catholic sentiment in the colony. Protestant Governor William Stone responded in 1649 with the so-called Toleration Act, which imposed penalties for the persecution of anyone professing the Christian religion. When Protestants gained control of the government five years later, however, the Act was repealed. After the Glorious Revolution in England, the religion of the Church of England became the only tolerated form of religion. Despite its limited success, the Toleration Act was a forerunner of the greater religious toleration of the Frame of Government of Pennsylvania of 1682 and a noteworthy contribution to the history of early America. On the tri-centennial of Maryland’s founding, Governor Albert Ritchie dedicated a monument on St. Clement’s Island to commemorate Maryland’s contribution to religious freedom.

In 1903, the State Board of Education selected March 25 as Maryland Day in its effort to promote better teaching about Maryland’s history in the public school curriculum. The General Assembly established Maryland Day as an official state holiday in 1916.


More events across Anne Arundel County are listed at

Historic St. Mary’s City

Celebrate Maryland’s 383rd anniversary at Maryland Day at Historic St. Mary’s City with ceremony, pageantry, speeches, and free admission to living history and museum exhibits.

Saturday, March 25 at 10am to 4pm at the Visitor Center, 18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary’s City.

Historic London Town & Gardens

In Edgewater for Maryland Day, costumed interpreters represent a century of early Maryland history. You can try your hand at making rope and chopping wood. All activities are included with a $1 admission.

Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 from 10am to 4:30pm at Historic London Town, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater.

Annapolis Maritime Museum

Most oysters we eat are made in Maryland? Learn how oysters go from creek to plate with hands on activities. Appropriate for kids and adults and includes a take home craft.

Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 from 11am to 3pm at the Annaposli Maritime Museum, 723 Second Street, Annapolis.

Maryland State Archives

This free, educational event will provide an overview of the organization, finding aids, and use of the vital records collections at the Archives to research your Maryland family history.

Tour the Maryland State House

Experts will be on hand to answer your questions as you tour the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use. Enjoy the new exhibits, including the beautifully restored Old Senate Chamber and portraits of the four Lords Baltimore.

Saturday, March 25 from 10am to 1pm at the Maryland State House, 100 State Circle, Annapolis.

Brewer Hill Cemetery

Learn more about those interred at Brewer Hill Cemetery, including Founding Fathers, Revolutionary War and the Civil War solders, and more. Descendants are encouraged to bring personal items to be later included on their website.

Saturday, March 25 at 11am to 3pm at the Cemetery at 802 West Street, Annapolis. No cost.

Museums of Historic Annapolis

Experience life in Annapolis just as it was in the year 1767 at the Paca House and the Brice House operated by Historic Annapolis. Meet the folks who worked in town and hands-on activities will be offered.

Saturday, March 25 at 10am-4pm at 186 Prince George Street, Annapolis. Admission is $1.

Anne Arundel County Farmers Market

At the only producers market in Anne Arundel County, they have everything from fruit, veggies, meats, cheese, eggs, plants, soap, honey, flowers, baked goods, jams, jelly, herbs, furniture, ready made food, milk, yogurt, butter and more – all made in Maryland.

Sunday, March 26 from 10am to 1pm at 275 Truman Parkway, Annapolis.


Waxter Intern

A legacy gift from William D. Waxter, III established the Waxter Memorial Internship to help Preservation Maryland support the next generation in historic preservation.

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