Maryland’s capital city is located on the Severn River where it meets North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.
It is just 26 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor; and 32 miles from Washington D.C.
Dating back to the mid-17th century, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County have a long and illustrious history. As you walk along the quaint, brick-laid streets of Annapolis, you will experience her rich architectural past. In fact, Annapolis boasts more surviving colonial buildings than any other city in America.
Founded in 1649 by a group of Virginia Puritans lured by religious tolerance, Anne Arundel Town became the capital city of proprietary Maryland in 1695 and was renamed Annapolis, in honor of Princess Anne, heiress to the English throne.
By the 18th century, Annapolis was a lively cultural and social center for the Mid-Atlantic area.
All 4 Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence had town homes in the city:
William Paca, Thomas Stone, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll.
Their residences have all been preserved, and three of the homes are open to the public. See also: Historic Buildings
The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol building in the United States in continuous legislative use.
It served as the nation’s first peacetime capitol from November 1783 to August 1784.
You can still see the original Old Senate Chamber where General George Washington resigned his commission and
where Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784, officially recognizing the independence
of the American colonies from Britain.
See also: 'must-see', top attractions
The Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Memorial at City Dock commemorates the arrival of Kunta Kinte, a young African from The Gambia, who, according to Alex Haley’s novel Roots, was sold into slavery in Annapolis. Haley’s research identifies the slave ship the Lord Ligonier, which sailed into Annapolis on September 29, 2767. Today, the Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Memorial is believed to be the only memorial in the United States to commemorate the arrival of an enslaved African.
St. John’s College is the country’s third oldest school. St. John’s includes among its illustrious alumni Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner. During the Civil War, the college served as a military hospital. It was also the site where 122 county slaves enlisted in the U.S. Color Troops in 1864. St. John’s curriculum is based on the “Great Books.”
History spills over into Anne Arundel County. Just south of Annapolis is Historic London Town and Gardens, where archeologists are uncovering history daily as they find the original building sites of the 18th-century town of London. Visitors can tour the William Brown House, built in the early 1700s, and walk through eight acres of woodland gardens.
The community of Highland Beach is home to Twin Oaks, summer cottage of famed abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass. Highland Beach was founded in 1893 by Frederick Douglass’ son, Charles, and is America’s oldest black resort community. The Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center, housed in Twin Oaks, is open by appointment.
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County have an intense maritime heritage that is still evident in modern times. The Annapolis Maritime Museum in Eastport is dedicated to keeping that history alive.
In the South County town of Shady Side, the Captain Salem Avery House depicts the life of 19th-century Chesapeake Bay watermen. Further south are the quaint watermen villages of Galesville, Deale, and Shady Side. Here, workboats bring home the bounty of the bay.