Port Annapolis is the capital of the State of Maryland. Located at the mouth of the Severn River where it meets the Chesapeake Bay, Port Annapolis is about 22 nautical miles (30 kilometers or 29 miles by air) south-southeast of Baltimore. Port Annapolis is the home port for many private pleasure boats.
At one time, Port Annapolis was the base port for the oyster fleet that worked the Chesapeake Bay. Port Annapolis is also home to the United States Naval Academy, and American hero John Paul Jones is buried there. In 2010, the US Census reported a population of almost 38.4 thousand people in Port Annapolis.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the area that would become Port Annapolis was inhabited by the Piscataway-Conoy people as far back as 9000 B.C.E. There were up to 30 villages across the area where some 2500 people lived when Europeans arrived in the early 17th Century.
Like other tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, the Piscataway-Conoy spoke an Algonquian language. They were non-nomadic farmers who also hunted for meat. Their system of beliefs made them receptive to Christianity. In 1640, High Chief Tayac Kittamaquindi and family converted.
The Piscataway-Conoy helped the European settlers coming to the future Port Annapolis learn how to grow tobacco and corn, but conflicts eventually arose over land. In 1662, colonial government of Maryland created reservations with their own governments at the tribe's request.
The Europeans brought both smallpox and rum to the Piscataway-Conoy people, both with devastating consequences. By the end of the 17th Century, about 120 of their people survived. Their descendants work to preserve the culture, and they are seeking federal recognition.
In 1649, the settlement of Providence was established on the Severn River by Puritans from Virginia. Called "Town at the Severne" at first, the settlement was renamed "Anne Arundel's Towne," honoring Lord Baltimore's wife. It quickly became wealthy based on slave trade.
In 1694, the capital of the Colony of Maryland was moved to the growing town, and it was renamed Annapolis after the future Queen of Great Britain, Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway. Port Annapolis was incorporated as a city in 1708.
Port Annapolis was known as a sophisticated wealthy city through the end of the American Revolution. Port Annapolis had a newspaper, a theater, and busy maritime commerce. When nearby Baltimore was made a port of entry in 1780, the Port Annapolis economy began to decline. Port Annapolis shifted from waterborne commerce to water-related businesses like boatbuilding, sail-making, and oyster-packing.
Port Annapolis was the capital of the United States briefly after the Treaty of Paris was signed. Gen eral Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in Port Annapolis in December of 1793.
An unsuccessful attempt to create regulations for commerce in the new country took place in Port Annapolis in 1786. While it did not accomplish its mission, this "Annapolis Convention" passed a resolution to amend the Articles of Confederation at Philadelphia the next year, ultimately resulting in the US Constitution.
During the American Civil War, prisoner-of-war Camp Parole was created in Port Annapolis. Located just west of Port Annapolis, the camp grew as the war continued. Confederate prisoners and wounded Union soldiers were brought to the hospital in Port Annapolis by sea. The area of Port Annapolis that held the prisoner-of-war camp is called Parole today.
Port Annapolis contains wonderful 17th and 18th Century architecture. Maryland's beautiful State House was finished in 1779 and played a major role in forming the United States. It is the oldest state capitol still used for governing, and it is the only state capitol to have been the Nation's capitol. The State treasure building in Port Annapolis was completed in the late 1600s to be used for the House of Delegates.
Founded in 1845, the United States Naval Academy in Port Annapolis is the country's second oldest service academy. Educating future officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the Port Annapolis campus is located on the old Fort Severn grounds. The whole campus is a National Historic Landmark and the location of several monuments and historic buildings and sites.
In 2003, Port Annapolis was struck by the biggest storm surge in recorded history. Hurricane Isabel brought a 2.3-meter (7.6-foot) surge that flooded much of the Port Annapolis downtown area, damaging many homes and businesses.
In 2007 and 2008, Port Annapolis celebrated 300 years since the 1708 Royal Charter created the city.