Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The city was the temporary capital of the United States in 1783–1784 and the site of the Annapolis Peace Conference, held in November 2007, at the United States Naval Academy. Annapolis is the home of St. John's College.
Colonial and early United States (1649–1808)
A settlement in the Province of Maryland named Providence was founded on the north shore of the Severn River in 1649 by Puritan exiles from Virginia led by Governor William Stone. The settlers later moved to a better-protected harbor on the south shore. The settlement on the south shore was initially named "Town at Proctor's," then "Town at the Severn," and later "Anne Arundel's Towne" (after the wife of Lord Baltimore who died soon afterwards). The city became very wealthy through the slave trade.
In 1654, after the Third English Civil War, Parliamentary forces assumed control of Maryland and Stone went into exile in Virginia. Per orders from Lord Baltimore, Stone returned the following spring at the head of a Cavalier force. On March 25, 1655, in what is known as the Battle of the Severn, Stone was defeated, taken prisoner, and replaced by Josias Fendall as Governor. Fendall governed Maryland during the latter half of the Commonwealth. In 1660, he was replaced by Phillip Calvert after the restoration of Charles II as King in England.
In 1694, soon after the overthrow of the Catholic government of Thomas Lawrence, Francis Nicholson moved the capital of the royal colony to Anne Arundel's Towne and renamed the town Annapolis after Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway, soon to be the Queen of Great Britain. Annapolis was incorporated as a city in 1708.
From the middle of the 18th century until the American Revolutionary War, Annapolis was noted for its wealthy and cultivated society. The Maryland Gazette, which became an important weekly journal, was founded there by Jonas Green in 1745; in 1769 a theatre was opened; during this period also the commerce was considerable, but declined rapidly after Baltimore, with its deeper harbor, was made a port of entry in 1780. Water trades such as oyster-packing, boatbuilding and sailmaking became the city's chief industries. Currently, Annapolis is home to a large number of recreational boats that have largely replaced the seafood industry in the city.
Annapolis became the temporary capital of the United States after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Congress was in session in the state house from November 26, 1783 to June 3, 1784, and it was in Annapolis on December 23, 1783, that General Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
For the 1783 Congress, the Governor of Maryland commissioned John Shaw, a local cabinet maker, to create an American flag. The flag is slightly different from other designs of the time. The blue field extends over the entire height of the hoist. Shaw created two versions of the flag: one which started with a red stripe and another that started with a white one.
In 1786, a convention, to which delegates from all the states of the Union were invited, was called to meet in Annapolis to consider measures for the better regulation of commerce; but delegates came from only five states (New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware), and the convention, known afterward as the "Annapolis Convention", without proceeding to the business for which it had met, passed a resolution calling for another convention to meet at Philadelphia in the following year to amend the Articles of Confederation. The Philadelphia convention drafted and approved the Constitution of the United States, which is still in force.
Civil War era (1849–late 1800s)
During this period, a prisoner of war Camp Parole was set up in Annapolis. As the war continued, the camp expanded to a larger location just west of the city. The area is still referred to as Parole. Wounded Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners were brought by sea to a major hospital in Annapolis.
In 1900, Annapolis had a population of 8,585.
Close by are the state treasury building, erected late in the 17th century for the House of Delegates; Saint Anne's Protestant Episcopal church, in later colonial days a state church, a statue of Roger B. Taney (by W.H. Rinehart), and a statue of Baron Johann de Kalb.
Annapolis has many 18th century houses. The names of several of the streets—King George's, Prince George's, Hanover, and Duke of Gloucester, etc.—date from colonial days. The United States Naval Academy was founded here in 1845. During World War II, shipyards in Annapolis built a number of PT Boats, and military vessels such as minesweepers and patrol boats were built in Annapolis during the Korean and Vietnam war.
In the summer of 1984, The Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis hosted soccer games as part of the XXIII Olympiad.
During September 18–19, 2003, Hurricane Isabel created the largest storm surge known in Annapolis's history, cresting at 7.58 feet (2.31 m). Much of downtown Annapolis was flooded and many businesses and homes in outlying areas were damaged. The previous record was during a hurricane in 1933, and 5.5 feet (1.68 m) during Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
Currently facing the many difficult challenges of American cities today, Annapolis is undergoing rapid low-density development along its edges, ever-increasing traffic congestion, as well as ecological destruction of the very bay that it depends upon. The 1998 Comprehensive Plan will soon be replaced with a new document, containing initiatives and directives of the city government on development and infrastructure. This process was mandated by Maryland state law in the Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act of 1992. Annapolis Charter 300 and EnVISIONing Annapolis co-sponsored a public lecture series from September 2007 through June 2008 exploring these issues.
From mid-2007 through December 2008, the city celebrated the 300th Anniversary of its 1708 Royal Charter, which established democratic self-governance. The many cultural events of this celebration were organized by Annapolis Charter 300.