photo of Governor Glendening with schoolchildren

A visit with Governor Glendening on Maryland Day
Cecilius Calvert and the Founding of Maryland

March 25 is Maryland Day. This is a very special day in the history of our state. It is the day when we remember the first English settlers who landed in Maryland three hundred and sixty two years ago. They landed on an island in the Potomac River, not far from where Washington, D. C. is today.

To celebrate Maryland Day, a ship, the Pride of Baltimore II, is beginning a sea voyage to London, England. The Pride is carrying a large plaque just like this one you see here.

This plaque has important Maryland symbols on it. It has the ships, the Ark and the Dove, which brought the first settlers to Maryland from England. Can you find the ships? This plaque will be taken to London by the Pride. The Pride is going to sail in the opposite direction from the Ark and the Dove. It will take the Pride about five weeks to cross the ocean and deliver the plaque.

The name on the plaque is Cecilius Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore. He was the first owner of the colony of Maryland. He is buried in the yard of a church in London. This plaque will be put on the wall of that church to tell everyone how much we like what he did to help Maryland get started. People who visit the church will know that the man who sent the first English settlers to Maryland is buried there.

Cecilius Calvert had a father named George, who was the First Lord Baltimore. His picture is right here in this room above the fireplace. The King of England, Charles I, promised the land which is now called Maryland to George Calvert.

George Calvert died before he could send settlers to Maryland, so his son Cecilius sent colonists instead. Cecilius bought two little ships, the Ark and the Dove. The Ark and the Dove sailed from a place in England called the Isle of Wight late in November 1633, three hundred and sixty-two years ago. This map shows the route that the Ark and the Dove took.

The little ships sailed for four months - from about Thanksgiving to Easter - which is a very long time. They ran into some terrible storms. Once, the Dove had to go back to England and begin again. When the Pride goes to London, it will follow a shorter route than the Ark and the Dove followed to Maryland.

The Ark and the Dove had almost 200 people on board. They were very crowded. They were especially crowded because each settler had to bring most of what they would need for the first year in the New World with them.

The Ark and the Dove were sailing ships. Because of the wind and because they needed more food and water, they had to go to the Caribbean first.

It is very warm in the Caribbean. The settlers liked the weather and the food there, especially pineapples. But soon they went on to the north to Maryland, their new home.

Finally, they arrived in Maryland, three hundred and sixty two years ago today. They landed on St. Clement's Island in the Potomac River. The first thing they did was plant a cross and give thanks for a safe voyage.

Cecilius Calvert never came to Maryland because he was very busy in England. So, he sent his brother, Leonard, to lead the settlers and to be the first governor of Maryland. They named the new colony after the wife of the king, Queen Henrietta Maria, whose picture is right here in this room.

The Indians living in Maryland when the settlers came were called the Piscataways and Susquehannocks. These Indians spoke the same language as Pocahontas. The real Pocahontas looked like this. We also have this drawing of her saving the life of Captain John Smith.

We have a description of the Indians from one of the first settlers, a priest named Father Andrew White. Father White wrote a letter back to England describing what he saw. He said of the men: "The natives [are] very proper and tall men. [They paint] themselves with colors ... a dark red, especially about the head, which they do to keep away the gnats. As for their faces, they use other colors, as blue from the nose downward and red upwards."

We also have drawings of the Indians which were made by a settler. This drawings show how the Indians looked and how they fished. The pictures also show the many different kinds of fish, animals, birds and plants of the Chesapeake Bay at the time. If we look at one of the pictures drawn by the one of the settlers we learn that some of the fish were five or six feet long, or almost big as me.

The first place that the settlers lived was in a village built by the Indians. The Indians were no longer using it. The settlers made a bargain with them to live there until they could build their own village. It probably looked a lot like this.

The Indians taught the settlers how to grow corn, squash, and tobacco. Tobacco became very important to the settlers. It became very popular in England, and they sold it to the English for a lot of money. The settlers learned to cook the corn and other things they grew and caught here.

The King gave Maryland to Cecil Calvert, but the Indians were already living here. The governor of Maryland and his people bargained with the Indians. In some treaties the Indians sold their land to settlers. We still have those treaties. In this one, the Indians signed with animal pictures which was how they liked to sign their names. What animals are they? Do you see one of these animals on the drawing of the big Indian? One of the names on the treaty is a wolf. This Indian is wearing a wolf's head which means that he was chief of the tribe called "Wolf." Because he was so important he could sign this treaty for his tribe.

Soon after they got here, the settlers built their own town, called St. Mary's City. This was the first capital of Maryland. Can you find the Indian houses the settlers first used in the drawing? Do you see the new houses and gardens the settlers made?

St. Mary's City was the capital of Maryland until 301 years ago. Then, the capital was moved here, to Annapolis.

The capital of a state - or a country - is where the government is. It is where our laws are made. Now, the government of Maryland is here in this State House. My office, the Governor's office, is right next door. The General Assembly meets downstairs. With me, they make the laws that we all must obey.

Maryland Day is an important day. It celebrates the first settlers who came to Maryland and the Indians they met here. It also celebrates all of Maryland history, just like the Maryland flag does. The Maryland Flag is black and gold, red and white to help us remember Cecilius Calvert and his family. The black and gold are colors of his father's family. The red and white are the colors of his mother's family. He was proud of his family, just as we are.

We use the same colors and shapes on the great seal of Maryland. This is one side of it and this is the other. We put the Great Seal on all the laws and all my proclamations to make them official. If you look closely at the plaque the Pride is taking to London you also can find the same Great Seal.

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Copyright November 13, 2001 Maryland State Archives