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 extant 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. Colonel John Seymour, the Governor of Maryland wrote Queen Anne on March 16, 1709 with qualifications for municipal officials and provisions for fairs and market days for the town.
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.
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)
On April 24, 1861, the midshipmen of the Naval Academy relocated their base in Annapolis and were temporarily housed in Newport, Rhode Island until October 1865.
In 1861, the first of three camps that were built for holding paroled soldiers was created on the campus of St. John's College. The second location of Camp Parole would house over 20,000 and would be located where Forest Drive is currently. The third and final location was finished in late 1863 and would be placed near the Elkridge Railroad, as to make transportation of soldiers and resources easier before and allowing the camp to grow to its highest numbers. This area just west of the city is still referred to as Parole. The soldiers who did not survive were buried in the Annapolis National Cemetery.
In 1900, Annapolis had a population of 8,585.
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.
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. Downtown Annapolis has high-tide "sunny day" flooding. A Stanford University study found that this resulted in 3,000 less visits and $172,000 in lost revenue for local business in 2017.
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.
Annapolis was home of the Anne Arundel County Battle of the Bands, which was held at Maryland Hall from 1999-2015. The event was a competition between musical groups from each high school in the county; it raised over $100,000 for the county's high school music programs during its 17 year run.
On June 28th, 2018, at the Capital Gazette, a gunman opened fire, killing five journalists and injuring two more. The perpetrator of the Capital Gazette shooting was Jarrod Ramos.
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.
Maryland State House as seen from Church Circle
The 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 country. The Maryland State House housed the workings of the United States 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 U.S.
It was in the Maryland State House that George Washington famously resigned his commission before the Continental Congress on December 23, 1783.
The United States Naval Academy was founded in 1845 on the site of Fort Severn, and now occupies an area of land reclaimed from the Severn River next to the Chesapeake Bay. The Annapolis area was the home of a VLF-transmitter called NSS Annapolis, which was used by the United States Navy to communicate with its Atlantic submarine fleet. Students that attend the Naval Academy are enrolled in school for four years with a following five year commitment to serving in the Marine Corps or Navy. There is a typical average of around 4,500 students enrolled.
St. John's College
St. John's College is a non-sectarian private college that was once supported 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 to be the governor's mansion; although £4,000 was appropriated to build it in 1742, it was not completed until after the War of Independence.
St. John's has a second campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students are able to choose between the two campuses and switch at any point in their education. The curriculum of St. John's relies heavily on the use of literature with their Great Books Curriculum, which focuses on texts of Western Civilization. Each year, students are required to participate in a seminar-style course to discuss the assigned works. This program has been highlighted as one that is unique to St. John's and requires the students to become well-versed through reading about political science, philosophy, math, language, and many more topics.