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Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Marylandmarker, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel Countymarker. It has a population of 36,524 (July 2008 est.), and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn Rivermarker, south of Baltimoremarker and about east of Washington D.C.marker 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 Academymarker. St. John's College is also in Annapolis.


Colonial and early United States


A settlement in the Province of Maryland named Providence was founded on the north shore of the Severn Rivermarker 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 Virginiamarker. 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, Sir Francis Nicholson moved the capital of the royal colony to Anne Arundel's Towne and re-named the town Annapolis after Princess Anne, soon to be the Queen of Great Britainmarker. 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.

John Shaw Flag (red first variation)
John Shaw Flag (white first variation)
Annapolis became the temporary capital of the United Statesmarker after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Congress was in session in the state housemarker 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 Yorkmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, Virginiamarker, New Jerseymarker, and Delawaremarker), 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 Philadelphiamarker 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 Parole Camp was set up in Annapolis. As the war continued, the camp expanded to a larger location just outside of the city. The area is still referred to as Parolemarker. Wounded Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners were brought by sea to a major hospital in Annapolis.

Contemporary (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 Courtmarker 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.

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. Many of these streets, including the Ego Alley area of Annapolis were known as "Hell's Point" during the 1920s.

Annapolis is the seat of St. John's College, 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 £4000 was appropriated to build it in 1742, it was not completed until after the War of Independence.

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 are co-sponsoring a public lecture series from September 2007 through June 2008 exploring these issues.

From mid-2007 through December 2008 the city will celebrate the 300th Anniversary of its 1708 Royal Charter, which established democratic self-governance. The many cultural events of this celebration will be organized by Annapolis Charter 300 and will include historical symposia at St. John's College and evening events such as the Queen Anne's Ball.

Facilities and Attractions

The State House

The Maryland State Housemarker 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 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.

According to some, 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 buildingmarker in Washington DCmarker after it.However, as noted in the United States Capitolmarker topic, that building was not designed by Pierre L'Enfant, and no mention of this claim is found in a comprehensive history.

United States Naval Academy

US Naval Academy, Bancroft Hall (ca. 1908)
The United States Naval Academymarker was founded in 1845 on the site of Fort Severnmarker, and now occupies an area of land reclaimed from the Severn Rivermarker next to the Chesapeake Bay.


Annapolis has a thriving community theatre scene which includes two venues in the historic district. On East St. is Colonial Players, a company that produces approximately six shows a year on its small theatre-in-the-round stage. From 1981 through 2008, Colonial Players produced a musical version of A Christmas Carol, which they commissioned. During the warmer months, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre presents three shows on its stage, which is visible from the City Dock. All shows put on by King Williams Players, the student theatre group at St. John's College, are free and open to the public. Annapolis is also host to The Bay Theater Company, a non-profit professional drama group. The Naval Academy Masqueraders put on several productions annually in Mahan Hall.

Museums, Historical Sites, and Monuments

The Banneker-Douglass Museumlocated in the historic Mount Moriah Church at 87 Franklin Street, documents the history of African Americans in Maryland. Museum offers free admission, educational programs, rotating exhibits, and a research facility.

Hammond-Harwood House originally belonged to Matthias Hammond, and has now been restored. Tours now offered.

The Kunta Kinte- Alex Haley memorial is located on downtown Annapolis, right on the harbor. It commemorates the place of arrival of Alex Haley's African ancestor, Kunta Kinte. The story of Kunta Kinte is related in Alex Haley's book Roots.

A number of structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Annapolis area was the home of a VLF-transmitter called NSS Annapolis,that was used by the United States Navy to communicate with its Atlantic submarine fleet. Annapolis often serves as the end point for the 3,000 mile annual transcontinental Race Across America bicycle race.

Middle East Peace Conference

As announced by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Annapolis was the venue for a Middle East summit, 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 located at , 28 miles (45 km) east of Washington DC, and is the closest state capital to the national capital, Washington, DCmarker.

The city is a part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and is relatively flat, with the highest point being only 50 feet (15 m) above sea level.

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


Annapolis lies within the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot summers and cool winters. Low elevation and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay give the area more moderate temperatures, with warmer winter temperatures and cooler summer temperatures than locations further inland, such as Washington, DCmarker.

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Main Street in downtown Annapolis
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,838 people, 15,303 households, and 8,676 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,326.0 people per square mile (2,056.0/km²). There were 16,165 housing units at an average density of 2,402.3/sq mi (927.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 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. 8.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The Hispanic population of Annapolis however has continued to grow in recent years and will encompass significantly more of Annapolis' population percentage by the next census reading.

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

In the city the population was 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males age 18 and over.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,243, and the median income for a family was $56,984 (these figures had risen to $70,140 and $84,573 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $39,548 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,180. About 9.5% of families and 12.7% of the population were living in poverty, of which 20.8% were under age 18 and 10.4% were age 65 or over.



The Annapolis Department of Transportation (ADOT) provides bus service with eight routes in a system dubbed Annapolis Transit. The system serves the State capital with recreational areas, shopping centers, educational and medical facilities and employment hubs. ADOT also offers transportation for elderly and persons with disabilities. Several Maryland Transit Administration commuter buses also allow for acces to Baltimore or Washington, DC.


Annapolis is the only capital city in America east of the Mississippi River bereft of rail transport of any sort. From 1840 to 1968, Annapolis was connected to the outside world by the railroads. The Washington, Baltimore & 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 Burniemarker. 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 Rivermarker was condemned. The tracks were eventually dismantled in 1976.

The popular Baltimore & Annapolis Trail now occupies the former railway line between the Severn River and Glen Burnie. The equally popular Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail occupies the WB&A's southern route into Annapolis.


City Government

Annapolis is governed via the mayor council system. The city council consists of eight members who are elected from single member wards. The mayor is elected directly in a citywide vote.

State government

The State Capitol is located in Annapolis. In addition several state agencies are headquartered in Annapolis. Executive departments include the Comptroller of the Treasury,Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Information Technology, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Independent agencies include the Maryland State Ethics Commission. The Maryland State Archives are located in Annapolis.


Annapolis is served by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system.

Founded in 1898, Annapolis High School has an internationally recognized IB International Program. Nearby Broadneck High School (founded in 1982) and Annapolis both have Advanced Placement Programs. St. Mary's High Schoolmarker and Elementary School are located in downtown Annapolis on Spa Creek. St. Anne's School of Annapolis, Eastport Elementary School, Aleph Bet Jewish Day School, Annapolis Area Christian School, St. Martins Lutheran School, Severn School, and Indian Creek School are also in the Annapolis area. The Key School, located on a converted farm in the neighborhood of Hillsmere, has also served Annapolis for over 50 years.


Noted natives and residents

Neighborhoods and suburbs

Sister Cities

Annapolis is a sister city of these municipalities:

See also


Further reading

  • 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); W. Eddis, Letters from America (London, 1792); Eric L. Goldstein, Traders and Transports: The Jews of Colonial Maryland (Baltimore: Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, 1993).

External links

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