Annapolis, Maryland

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Annapolis, Maryland
Flag of Annapolis, Maryland
Seal of Annapolis, Maryland
Nickname: "America's Sailing Capital" , "Naptown"
Location of Annapolis,  Maryland
County Anne Arundel County
Mayor Ellen O. Moyer (Dem)
 - Total
 - Water

19.7 km² (7.6 mi²)
2.3 km² (0.9 mi²) 11.7% 
 - City (2004)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Eastern (UTC –5)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 38.9782° N 76.4931° W
Official Website

Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, a state of the United States of America, and the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It is a city with a population of 36,217 according to the 2004 census. The city is a part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, It is situated on the Severn river about 2 miles from its entrance into Chesapeake Bay, 26 miles South by East from Baltimore and about the same distance East by North from Washington D.C.. It is also home to the United States Naval Academy and St. John's College.




Colonial & early United States (1649-1800)

Maryland State House

A settlement named Providence was founded on the north shore of the Severn River in 1649 by Puritan exiles from Virginia, led by William Stone. The settlers moved to a better-protected harbour on the south shore and the town bore in succession the names of Town at Proctor's, Town at the Severn, Anne Arundel's Towne after the wife of Lord Baltimore who died soon afterwards. It was only in 1694 when Sir Francis Nicholson moved the capital of the royal colony there, soon after the overthrow of the Catholic government of the lord proprietor, that the town received the name which is holds today, Annapolis, named for Princess Anne, soon to be the monarch of Great Britain; but it was not until 1708 that it was incorporated as a city. From the middle of the 18th century until the War of Independence, Annapolis was noted for its wealthy and cultivated society. The Maryland Gazette, which became an important weekly journal, was founded by Jonas Green in 1745; in 1769 a theatre was opened; during this period also the commerce was considerable, but declined rapidly after Baltimore, in 1780, was made a port of entry, and now oyster-packing is the city's only important industry.

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 here from November 26, 1783 to June 3, 1784, and it was here on December 23, 1783 that General Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. 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. By this Philadelphia convention, the present Constitution of the United States was framed.

Civil War era (1849-late 1800s)

During this period, a Prisoner of War Camp was set up in Annapolis. As the war continued, the camp expanded to have a nearby area where they would release some of the prisoners for parole. Many small houses which stand to this day remain from this period. The area is still referred to as Parole.

Contemporary (1900s to present)

Annapolis City Harbor
Annapolis City Harbor

To the north of the state house is a monument to Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice of the US Supreme Court and formerly a Maryland lawyer who won many important civil rights cases.

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.

There are a number of residences of 18th century architecture, and the names of several of the streets--such as King George's, Prince George's, Hanover, and Duke of Gloucester--recall the colonial days. The United States Naval Academy was founded here in 1845. Annapolis is the seat of Saint John's College, a non-sectarian institution supported in part by the state; it was opened in 1789 as the successor of King William's School, which was founded by an act of the Maryland legislature in 1696 and was opened in 1701. Its principal building, McDowell Hall, was originally intended for a governor's mansion; although £4000 current money was appropriated for its erection in 1742, it was not completed until after the War of Independence. In 1907 the college became the school of arts and sciences of the university of Maryland.

On September 26th to 27th, 2003, Hurricane Isabel created the largest storm surge in Annapolis history, cresting at 7.58 feet, which easily surpassed the prior record from the 1933 hurricane of 6.35 and the 5.5 feet recorded during Hurricane Hazel in 1954. As a result, much of downtown Annapolis was flooded and many businesses and homes in outlying areas were damaged.[1]

Facilities and Attractions

State House

The Maryland State House is the oldest in continuous legislative use in the United States. Construction started in 1772, and the Maryland legislature first met there in 1779. It is topped by the largest wooden dome built without nails in the nation. The Maryland state house housed the workings of the government from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784, and the Treaty of Paris was ratified there on January 14, 1784, so Annapolis became the first peacetime capital of the US.

It was in the Maryland state house that George Washington famously resigned his commission before the Continental Congress on December 23, 1783. George Washington, who had argued vigorously for Annapolis to become the permanent home to the United States Capitol, had a strong attachment to the Maryland state house and instructed Pierre L'Enfant to model the dome of the Capitol building in Washington DC after it.

United States Naval Academy

US Naval Academy. Bancroft Hall. Photo early 1900's. Boris Feldblyum Collection
US Naval Academy. Bancroft Hall. Photo early 1900's. Boris Feldblyum Collection


The Annapolis area was the home of a VLF-transmitter called NSS Annapolis, used by the United States Navy to communiate with its Atlantic submarine fleet.


Annapolis is located at 38°58'23" North, 76°30'4" West (38.972945, -76.501157)1, 28 miles east of Washington DC, and is the closest state capital to the national capital, Washington, DC.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.7 km² (7.6 mi²). 17.4 km² (6.7 mi²) of it is land and 2.3 km² (0.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 11.70% water.

The city is a part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and is relatively flat. The climate is mild subtropical, with hot summers and mild winters.


Main Street in downtown Annapolis
Main Street in downtown Annapolis

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 35,838 people, 15,303 households, and 8,676 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,056.0/km² (5,326.0/mi²). There are 16,165 housing units at an average density of 927.4/km² (2,402.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 62.66% White, 31.44% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 1.81% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.22% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. 6.42% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 15,303 households out of which 24.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married couples living together, 16.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% are non-families. 32.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 2.93.

In the city the population is spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $49,243, and the median income for a family is $56,984. Males have a median income of $39,548 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the city is $27,180. 12.7% of the population and 9.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.8% of those under the age of 18 and 10.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


  • The centre of Annapolis is the city dock, developed as a port for the tobacco trade in the 17th and 18th century. The city claims to have more 18th century buildings than any other city in the US.

Noted natives and residents

Sister Cities

Annapolis is a sister city of these municipalities[2]:

See also: Music of Annapolis


See D. Ridgely, Annals of Annapolis from 1649 until the War of 1812 (Baltimore, 1841); S. A. Shafer, "Annapolis, Ye Ancient City," in L. P. Powell's Historic Towns of the Southern States (New York, 1900); and W. Eddis, Letters from America (London, 1792).

This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain.

External links

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