Today is Maryland Day! It is observed on the anniversary of the landing, in 1634, of the first European settlers in the Province of Maryland, the third English colony to be settled in British North America. It is from this event that both Maryland and the city of Baltimore got their names.
On 25 Mar 1634, settlers from the Ark and the smaller Dove first stepped foot onto Maryland soil, at St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River. The Maryland settlement was authorized under the charter granted 20 Jun 1632, by Charles I of England to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore. Traveling on the Ark to the new colony, Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore’s brother, led the Maryland settlers. In thanksgiving for the safe landing, Jesuit Father Andrew White celebrated the Mass for the colonists led by the younger brother of Lord Baltimore, Leonard Calvert, (1606-1647), who served as the first governor, and perhaps for the first time ever in this part of the world on the first landing at Blackistone Island, later known as St. Clement’s Island off the northern shore of the Potomac River, which was the new border between the new colony and the earlier English settlements in Virginia) and erected a large cross. The landing coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, a holy day honoring Mary, and the start of the new year in England’s legal calendar (prior to 1752). Later the colonists and their two ships sailed further back down river to the southeast to settle a capital at St. Mary’s City near the point where the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The formal observance of Maryland Day began in 1903 when the State Board of Education chose one day in the school year to be devoted to Maryland history. March 25th was named Maryland Day by the Board. In 1916, the General Assembly authorized Maryland Day as a legal holiday (Chapter 633, Acts of 1916).