Why is Maryland Called the Free State? (Nicknames, History, Facts & Famous Landmarks) 2024

Why is Maryland Called the Free State?

Maryland is known as the “Free State” due to its historical significance as a bastion of freedom and tolerance during a critical period in American history. This nickname traces its origins to the state’s stance on slavery and its commitment to the Union during the Civil War.

Maryland’s refusal to secede from the Union, despite being a slaveholding state, symbolized its dedication to the principles of liberty and the rejection of secessionist sentiments.

Additionally, the state played a pivotal role in the fight for civil rights, further solidifying its reputation as a place that championed freedom and equality.

Maryland’s nickname, the “Free State,” reflects its enduring legacy as a progressive and inclusive state in the United States.

Other Maryland Nicknames and Their Meaning

Maryland is known by several other nicknames, each with its own unique meaning and historical significance:

Maryland Nicknames and their meaning

1. Old Line State

Maryland earned the moniker “Old Line State” during the American Revolutionary War when General George Washington referred to the state’s soldiers as the “Maryland Line” for their exceptional bravery and steadfastness in battle. The nickname pays tribute to the state’s early military contributions to the United States.

2. Chesapeake State

This nickname reflects Maryland’s close association with the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. The Chesapeake Bay plays a vital role in the state’s geography, economy, and culture, and this nickname underscores Maryland’s strong connection to this iconic body of water.

3. The Oyster State

Oysters have been a prominent part of Maryland’s seafood industry for centuries, and the state is renowned for its delicious and abundant oyster harvests.

“The Oyster State” highlights Maryland’s significant role in oyster farming and its reputation as a source of some of the finest oysters in the country.

4. America in Miniature

This nickname highlights how Maryland encapsulates a wide range of natural features found across the entire United States, albeit on a smaller scale.

From the Atlantic Ocean coastline and picturesque beaches in the east to the rolling hills of the Piedmont region and the majestic Appalachian Mountains in the west, Maryland offers a condensed representation of America’s geographical diversity within its relatively compact borders.

Facts About Maryland

1. Maryland State Motto: Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine

1. Maryland State Motto

Maryland’s state motto, “Fatti maschii, parole femine,” which translates to “Strong deeds, gentle words” in Italian, reflects the state’s historical emphasis on the importance of balancing action with diplomacy and civility.

This motto serves as a reminder of the state’s commitment to achieving its goals through a combination of resolute action and respectful communication.

It embodies the idea that strength and effectiveness can be complemented by a thoughtful and diplomatic approach, mirroring Maryland’s historical role in fostering compromise and cooperation during critical moments in American history, such as the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Maryland’s state motto encapsulates the state’s enduring dedication to effective governance and civil discourse.

2. Maryland’s State Bird: The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus Galbula)

2. Maryland’s State Bird

The Maryland state bird, the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula), is not only a symbol of the state but also a strikingly beautiful and vibrant bird known for its distinctive orange and black plumage.

Its selection as the state bird pays homage to George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore and founder of Maryland, whose coat of arms featured similar colors.

The Baltimore Oriole’s presence in Maryland is a welcome herald of spring, and its sweet, melodious song adds to the state’s natural charm.

Its selection as the state bird highlights Maryland’s connection to its history, as well as its appreciation for the beauty of its native flora and fauna.

3. Maryland State Flower: The Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)

3. Maryland State Flower

The Maryland state flower, the Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), is not only a vibrant and cheerful bloom but also a symbol of resilience and endurance.

Its sunny yellow petals surrounding a dark center make it an easily recognizable wildflower throughout the state.

The Black-Eyed Susan’s choice as the state flower reflects its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions, mirroring the determination and strength of Marylanders.

This resilient flower also represents the state’s natural beauty and the importance of preserving its native flora.

The Black-Eyed Susan, with its bright and resilient character, stands as a symbol of Maryland’s unique charm and enduring spirit.

4. Maryland State Blue Crabs

4. Maryland State Blue Crabs

Maryland is renowned for its delicious and iconic blue crabs, which hold a special place in the state’s culture and cuisine. The Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the world, is a prime habitat for blue crabs, and Maryland’s watermen have been harvesting these crustaceans for generations.

Blue crabs are not only a staple in Maryland’s seafood industry but also a cultural symbol, often enjoyed in classic dishes like crab cakes and steamed crabs seasoned with Old Bay seasoning.

Maryland’s blue crabs are so celebrated that they even inspired the state to adopt the blue crab as its official state crustacean in 1989, further cementing their status as a cherished emblem of Maryland’s culinary heritage and coastal identity.

History of Maryland

Maryland’s history is rich and multifaceted, dating back to its founding in 1634 when it was established as a proprietary colony by Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, a Catholic nobleman.

Maryland’s early history was marked by religious tolerance, as it was one of the first places in colonial America to provide religious freedom and welcome settlers of various faiths. However, it also grappled with tensions between Catholics and Protestants.

During the American Revolution, Maryland played a pivotal role, with the state’s troops earning the nickname “The Old Line” for their bravery.

Maryland’s strong stance against secession during the Civil War solidified its loyalty to the Union. Post-Civil War, the state saw significant industrialization and urbanization.

It was a hub for shipbuilding, and Baltimore became a major port city. Today, Maryland stands as a diverse and historically significant state, known for its role in shaping American history and its vibrant cultural heritage.

Maryland Famous Landmarks

Maryland is home to a variety of famous landmarks that showcase its historical, cultural, and natural significance. Here are eight notable landmarks:

1. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

1. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Located in Baltimore, Fort McHenry played a crucial role in the War of 1812 and inspired the writing of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s a symbol of American resilience and patriotism.

2. Chesapeake Bay Bridge

2. Chesapeake Bay Bridge

This iconic bridge, spanning the Chesapeake Bay, connects Maryland’s eastern and western shores. Its engineering marvel and scenic views make it a recognizable landmark.

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3. National Aquarium, Baltimore

3. National Aquarium, Baltimore

Situated in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is one of the country’s premier aquatic exhibits, featuring a diverse range of marine life and educational programs.

4. Antietam National Battlefield

4. Antietam National Battlefield

Located near Sharpsburg, this battlefield preserves the memory of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, the Battle of Antietam, which occurred during the Civil War.

5. Annapolis State House

5. Annapolis State House

As the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use, the Maryland State House in Annapolis is a historic landmark where important decisions have been made throughout American history.

6. Assateague Island

6. Assateague Island

Known for its stunning beaches and wild ponies, Assateague Island is a barrier island along the Atlantic coast, offering outdoor enthusiasts a chance to explore its natural beauty.

7. Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave

7. Edgar Allan Poe's Grave

Located in Westminster Burying Ground in Baltimore, the final resting place of the famous poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe is a site of pilgrimage for literature enthusiasts.

8. B&O Railroad Museum

8. B&O Railroad Museum

Situated in Baltimore, this museum celebrates the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, offering visitors a glimpse into the evolution of American rail transportation.


In conclusion, Maryland is an incredible state filled with fascinating facts, famous landmarks, and a rich history. From its stunning coastline to its vibrant cities, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy.

Whether you’re visiting the iconic Chesapeake Bay or delving into the historical sites of Annapolis, you will be immersed in the beauty and charm that Maryland has to offer.

So why wait? Start planning your trip to this amazing state today and discover all that Maryland has in store for you! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create unforgettable memories in this extraordinary destination.

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