History of Annapolis
The first settlement in the area of present-day Annapolis was founded by Puritan exiles from Virginia in 1649. Initially, it was located on the north shore of the Severn River, in what was then known as the Province of Maryland, but soon the settlement was moved to the southern shore, where the city today stands. The settlement was called Town at Proctor’s, then Town at the Severn and then Anne Arundel Towne, after Lord Baltimore’s wife.
In 1694, the capital of the royal colony was relocated to Anne Arundel Towne and renamed Annapolis, not after Anne Arundel but after Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway. It was incorporated in 1708. Annapolis soon became an important political and cultural center. In 1745 it got its first newspaper and the first theatre opened in 1769. Annapolis was an important trading center but its dominant role in Maryland declined significantly after 1780, when Baltimore’s harbor was made a port of entry. Still, water-related activities, such as sailmaking, boatbuilding and oyster-packing remained an important sources of revenue.
Annapolis was the capital of the united States for a while, in 1783 and 1784, after the Treaty of Paris was signed.
The city is also historically important for its role in the creation of the Constitution of the United States. In 1786, a convention was to be held to discuss certain regulations of commerce. However, only five state representatives came to Annapolis for the convention and they decided to hold a second one the following, in Philadelphia, to discuss the Articles of Confederation. As a result, the Philadelphia convention drafted the Constitution, the one that is still in force today.
During the Civil War, Annapolis hosted Camp Parole for prisoners and its hospitals took care of the wounded Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners.
After the war and in the last decades of the 19th century, many of the important state and public buildings were built in the city. Most of them are still standing, as do many of 18th century ones.
Annapolis is currently sharing the same difficulties as many other US cities. The development has slowed down, traffic problems become more cumbersome and the bay upon the city depends on is facing some serious environmental issues.
Geography and Climate
Annapolis is located 26 miles south of Baltimore and 29 miles east of Washington DC. It is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The city is fairly flat and its highest point is only 50 feet above sea level. The climate in Annapolis is humid subtropical. The summers are warm to hot and the winters are cool, rarely very cold. The weather is milder than the latitude would suggest, because of the city’s position on the Chesapeake Bay.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the racial makeup in the city is 60% White, 26% Black or African American, 16.8% Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American and 2.6% two or more races.
The median household income in 2010 was $49,243 and the per capita income for the city was $27,180.
Economy of Annapolis
Being the state capital and the seat of Anne Arundel County, Annapolis has always relied on the jobs related to the local and state government. However, in the recent years, there has been some high-tech industrial development as well. The main industries in the city include research, development, communications, seafood processing, plastics, concrete, beverages, the production of radar equipment and underwater military devices. Annapolis is a port of entry and an agricultural distribution center for the region.
Top employers in the city are Anne Arundel Medical Center, U.S. Naval Academy, ARINC, The Home Depot, Verizon Maryland, TeleCommunication Systems, Constellation Energy, Northorp Grumman Mission Systems, AT&T and MedAssurant.
Culture and Attractions
The Maryland State House from 1722 is the oldest legislative building still in use in the United States and one of the landmarks of Annapolis. Another notable institution in the city is the United States Naval Academy from 1845.
Annapolis is a city with vibrant culture, especially theatre, with venues such as Colonial Players and Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, as well as a number of community theatres and smaller troupes. Other important cultural institutions in the city include the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Prebble Hall, the Hammond-Harwood House, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial and the Paca House and Garden.
As for the music, the city is home of the Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.
Some of the best annual events in the city include The Anne Arundel County Fair, Maryland Seafood Festival, U.S. Sailboat Show, Lights on the Bay, Spring Boat Show and Waterfront Arts Festival.
The most important sport in Annapolis is sailboat racing, along with other sailing and boat-related sports, with races, regattas and boat festivals throughout the year. Annapolis is home to the Major League Lacrosse team The Chesapeake Bayhawks.
Annapolis is home to St. John’s College, the best college in the area and also the third-oldest one in the United States. Another important institution in the city is, of course, the United States Naval Academy, founded in 1845. In addition to being one of the best academies in the USA, it is also famous for having hosted the Annapolis Peace Conference in 2007.
The closest major airport in the area is Baltimore-Washington International. Major highways in Annapolis include U.S. 50, U.S. 301, Maryland State Routes 2, 170 and 450. Annapolis is the only major city east of Mississippi without any form of rail transportation. Bus routes to the suburbs, to Washington, Baltimore and the surrounding areas are offered by Maryland Mass Transit Administration, as well as by Greyhound and Carolina Trailways.