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What Is the State Motto of Maryland?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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The state motto of Maryland is unique because unlike other state mottos, it is neither English nor Latin. Rather, Maryland's state motto is Italian: Fatti maschil, Parole femine. This motto has various translations, but the most common is "Strong deeds, Gentle words.” The motto is part of the state seal and has unofficially been adopted as the state motto of the state.

The state motto of Maryland has a lot of translations. The most widely accepted translation, “Strong deeds, Gentle words," was presented in 1993 by the Maryland State Archivist, Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse. This translation is different from the previously accepted translation of the motto, which was “Manly deeds, Womanly words.” Papenfuse's translation of the state motto remains the official version despite suggestions to the contrary. Other translations of the state motto of Maryland include “Deeds are manly, words are womanly,” “Deeds are males, words are females,” and “A woman for words and a man for deeds.”

The Great Seal of Maryland has a depiction of the Crossland and Calvert family arms. On top of the arms is an image of a full-faced helmet and an earl’s coronet. On either side of the arms, the image of two men is shown. The two men symbolize the two estates belonging to Lord Baltimore, which are Avalon in Newfoundland and Maryland. The state motto of Maryland is written in a flowing scroll placed below the two men and the arms.

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Another interesting fact about the coat of arms is that the Calvert family was entitled to use the design of both the Calvert and Crossland families. George Calvert earned this entitlement for the Calvert family as a reward for his victory in storming a fortification during battle. The gold and black design is the Calvert coat of arms, while the red and white design belongs to the Crossland family. George Calvert’s mother, an heiress, was from the Crossland family. The colony of Maryland was also founded by Cecillious Calvert, who was the second baron of Baltimore. Both coats of arms were incorporated into the design of the flag and seal of Maryland.

Apart from the state motto of Maryland, other state symbols include a state fish, which is the rockfish, and the state crustacean, which is the Maryland blue crab. The state bird is the Baltimore oriole, and the state insect of Maryland is the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly. Maryland's state dog is the Chesapeake Bay retriever, while the state flower is the black-eyed Susan.

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