1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Annapolis, Maryland

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ANNAPOLIS, a city and seaport of Maryland, U.S.A., the capital of the state, the county seat of Anne Arundel county, and the seat of the United States Naval Academy; situated on the Severn river about 2 m. from its entrance into Chesapeake Bay, 26 m. S. by E. from Baltimore and about the same distance E. by N. from Washington. Pop. (1890) 7604; (1900) 8525, of whom 3002 were negroes; (1910 census) 8609. Annapolis is served by the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis (electric) and the Maryland Electric railways, and by the Baltimore & Annapolis steamship line. On an elevation near the centre of the city stands the state house (the corner stone of which was laid in 1772), with its lofty white dome (200 ft.) and pillared portico. 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. There are a number of residences of 18th century architecture, and the names of several of the streets—such as King George’s, Prince George’s, Hanover, and Duke of Gloucester—recall the colonial days. The United States Naval Academy was founded here in 1845. Annapolis is the seat of Saint John’s College, a non-sectarian institution supported in part 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 intended for a governor’s mansion; although £4000 current money was appropriated for its erection in 1742, it was not completed until after the War of Independence. In 1907 the college became the school of arts and sciences of the university of Maryland.

Annapolis, at first called Providence, was settled in 1649 by Puritan exiles from Virginia. Later it bore in succession the names of Town at Proctor’s, Town at the Severn, Anne Arundel Town, and finally in 1694, Annapolis, in honour of Princess Anne, who at the time was heir to the throne of Great Britain. In 1694 also, soon after the overthrow of the Catholic government of the lord proprietor, it was made the seat of the new government as well as a port of entry, and it has since remained the capital of Maryland; but it was not until 1708 that it was incorporated as a city. From the middle of the 18th century until the War of Independence, Annapolis was noted for its wealthy and cultivated society. The Maryland Gazette, which became an important weekly journal, was founded by Jonas Green in 1745; in 1769 a theatre was opened; during this period also the commerce was considerable, but declined rapidly after Baltimore, in 1780, was made a port of entry, and now oyster-packing is the city’s only important industry. Congress was in session in the state house here from the 26th of November 1783 to the 3rd of June 1784, and it was here on the 23rd of December 1783 that General Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. 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 (see Alexandria, Va.); but delegates came from only five states (New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware), 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 Philadelphia in the following year to amend the articles of confederation; by this Philadelphia convention the present Constitution of the United States was framed.

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); and W. Eddis, Letters from America (London, 1792).