|What is Maryland Day?|
Maryland Day commemorates the formal founding of the colony of Maryland, when the newly-arrived colonists erected a cross on St. Clement’s Island, offered prayers (perhaps by saying Mass), and took “possession of this Countrey for our Saviour and for our soveraigne Lord the King of England.” According to one of the three versions of Father Andrew White’s account of the voyage of the Ark and the Dove, this event took place on 25 March 1633/34 at the colonists’ first landfall in Maryland. In the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, this day is the Feast of the Annunciation, or “our b[lessed] Ladies day” as Father White termed it, referring to the Virgin Mary. After consulting with the “Emperor of the Paschataway” and the “King of Yaocomoco,” Leonard Calvert, governor of the colony, negotiated the purchase of land on a nearby tributary of the Potomac River. This became the site of St. Mary’s City, the colony’s first settlement. Marylanders began observing Maryland Day in 1903, when the State Board of Education designated it as a day to be devoted to the study of Maryland history. In 1916, the General Assembly authorized the celebration of Maryland Day as a legal state holiday.
The three versions of Father White's narrative can be read in the "Archives of Maryland Online," here:
Volume 551 - A Relation of the Successefull Beginning of the Lord Baltemore's Plantation in Mary-land
Volume 552 - A Briefe Relation of the Voyage Unto Maryland
Above: Detail of a painting of the Ark & Dove by John Moll, Maryland Historical Society
Research and blurb courtesy of Dr. Jean Russo
Want to know more about "Maryland Day" and what it stands for? Click here for an article by Dr. Jean Russo entitled, "Understanding Maryland Day".