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First settled by Puritans in 1634, Annapolis was named in honor of Princess Anne, the future Queen of England. The colony began with approximately 150 settlers, whom arrived on two sailing ships, the Ark and the Dove. Visitors can view the cannons by the State Center which where mounted by these original settlers.
Annapolis was named the colonial capital of Maryland in 1694. From 1694 to 1776, Annapolis was a bustling political and social center, with beautiful, elegant colonial homes and state buildings. In addition, due to Chesapeake Bay’s role as a main transportation route, cargo ships and sailors frequently stopped through Annapolis bringing in foreign goods and tales from afar. In fact, Annapolis was the center of affluence, culture, and arts until the 1770s, when it was surpassed by Baltimore.
The Old Senate Chamber which visitors can visit and tour today, has rich history on its own. It was used by the State Senate in 1779, and housed the national Congress from November 1783 to August 1784 (when Annapolis served the nation’s ninth capital). George Washington came before Congress on 23 December 1783 in that chamber. On14 January 1784, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris in that Senate chamber, which officially ended the Revolutionary War and made Annapolis the first capital of the independent United States history.
The Naval School was established at a 10-acre Army post named Fort Severn on October 10, 1845, with a class of 50 midshipmen and seven professors. George Bancroft, the Secretary of the Navy, believed that Annapolis’ "healthy and secluded" location would rescue midshipmen from "the temptations and distractions that necessarily connect with a large and populous city”. In 1850 the Naval School became the United States Naval Academy. The Naval Academy began to accept women in 1976, after the Congress authorized the admission of women to all of the service academies.