Colonial and early United States (1649–1808)
The "Old Treasury Building" on State Circle (adjacent to the Maryland State House
) was built in 1735 and is the oldest standing government building in Annapolis.
A settlement in the Province of Maryland named "Providence" was founded on the north shore of the Severn River on the middle Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in 1649 by Puritan exiles from the Province/Dominion of Virginia led by third Proprietary Governor William Stone (1603–1660). 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 Lady Ann Arundell (1616-1649), the wife of Cecilus Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, who died soon afterwards).
In 1654, after the Third English Civil War, Parliamentary forces assumed control of the Maryland colony and Stone went into exile further south across the Potomac River in Virginia. Per orders from Charles Calvert, fifth Lord Baltimore, Stone returned the following spring at the head of a Cavalier royalist force, loyal to the King of England. On March 25, 1655, in what is known as the Battle of the Severn (first colonial naval battle in North America), Stone was defeated, taken prisoner, and replaced by Lt. Gen. Josias Fendall (1628–1687) as fifth Proprietary Governor. Fendall governed Maryland during the latter half of the Commonwealth period in England. In 1660, he was replaced by Phillip Calvert (1626–1682) as fifth/sixth Governor of Maryland, after the restoration of Charles II (1630–1685) as King in England.
In 1694, soon after the overthrow of the Catholic government of second Royal Governor Thomas Lawrence (1645-1714), then third Royal Governor Francis Nicholson (1655-1727/28, served 1694-1698), moved the capital of the royal colony, the Province of Maryland, to Anne Arundel's Towne and renamed the town Annapolis after Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway, soon to be the Queen Anne of Great Britain (1665-1714, reigned 1702-1714). Annapolis was incorporated as a city in 1708.
17th-century Annapolis was little more than a village, but it grew rapidly for most of the 18th century until the American Revolutionary War as a political and administrative capital, a port of entry, and a major center of the Atlantic slave trade. 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. Annapolis is home to a large number of recreational boats that have largely replaced the seafood industry in the city.
Dr. Alexander Hamilton (1712–1756) was a Scottish-born doctor and writer who lived and worked in Annapolis. Leo Lemay says his 1744 travel diary Gentleman's Progress: The Itinerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton is "the best single portrait of men and manners, of rural and urban life, of the wide range of society and scenery in colonial America." 
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.
John Shaw Flag (red-first variation)
John Shaw Flag (white-first variation)
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, delegates from all states of the Union were invited to meet in Annapolis to consider measures for the better regulation of commerce. Delegates from only five states—New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware—actually attended the convention, known afterward as the "Annapolis Convention." Without proceeding to the business for which they had met, the delegates 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 parole camp, 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.
Contemporary era (1900s–present)
View of Annapolis from the State House dome, 1911
In 1900, Annapolis had a population of 8,585.
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.
Former USPS Annapolis Main post office
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; and a statue of Baron Johann de Kalb.
On December 21, 1906, Henry Davis was lynched in the city. He was suspected of assaulting a local woman. Nobody was ever tried for the crime.
Annapolis has many 18th-century houses. The names of several of the streets—King George, Prince George, 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 wars. It was at Annapolis in July 1940 that Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg arrived in exile during World War II.
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 ft (2.31 m). Much of downtown Annapolis was flooded and many businesses and homes in outlying areas were damaged. The previous record was 6.35 feet (1.94 m) during a hurricane in 1933, and 5.5 ft (1.7 m) during Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
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.
2007 Annapolis Conference
As announced by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Annapolis was the venue for a Middle East summit dealing with the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ("Abu Mazen") and various other leaders from the region. The conference was held on Monday, November 26, 2007.
Annapolis is the only capital city in America east of the Mississippi River without rail transport of any sort. From 1840 to 1968, Annapolis was connected to the outside world by railroad. The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad (WB&A) operated two electrified interurban lines that brought passengers into the city from both the South and the North. The southern route ran down King George Street and Main Street, leading directly to the statehouse, while the northern route entered town via Glen Burnie. In 1935, the WB&A went bankrupt due to the effects of the Great Depression and suspended service along its southern route, while the newly created Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad (B&A) retained service on the northern route. Steam trains of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad also occasionally operated over the line to Annapolis, primarily for special Naval Academy movements. Passenger rail service on the B&A was eventually discontinued in 1950; freight service ceased in 1968 after the dilapidated trestle crossing the Severn River was condemned. The tracks were eventually dismantled in 1976.