The Origin and Meaning of the Maryland Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from Maryland, are referred to as Marylanders. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:
The Old Line State
The official nickname of the Old Line has two possible origins. The first relates to Maryland as the dividing line between the land grants given to William Penn and George Calvert, Lord Baltimore. The second theory refers to the soldiers Maryland soldiers who bravely fought in the Revolutionary War along the Maryland Line. General George Washington referred to these soldiers as "The Old Line."
The Monumental State
"The Monumental City" was a nickname given to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams at his visit in 1827 and was the inspiration for this nickname.
The Cockade State
The Cockade nickname is a reference to the War of Independence (1775–1783). The soldiers of the Continental Army did not have uniforms were not able to easily distinguish their commanders on the battlefield. A cockade was a wide, knot of ribbon or a rosette worn on the hat and these were introduced to identify the leaders of the Continental Army. The cockade worn in Maryland consisted of a double rosette of dark blue silk, with blue pendants, and fastened the with the State button, and the single world "Maryland" beneath the arms.
The Free State
This nickname relates to the prohibition era. Many inhabitants of Maryland saw this prohibition of liquor as a violation of personal freedom.
The Terrapin State
Maryland named the diamondback terrapin its official reptile in 1994. The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a species of turtle native to the coastal swamps of the eastern and southern United States. Diamondback terrapins were greatly harvested for food in colonial America and in Maryland the terrapins were so plentiful that slaves protested the excessive use of this food as their main source of protein.
The Oyster State
The Oyster reference alludes to the highly successful oyster industry in Maryland.