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Our History

From the area’s first native inhabitants, to colonists, to the watermen still working the water today, there’s no shortage of history to be found in the Four Rivers Heritage Area. With art, African-American Heritage, preserved examples of Annapolis’ “Golden Age,” the Chesapeake Bay, and the Unites States Naval Academy, there’s plenty to explore. Annapolis served as our nation’s first peacetime capital. Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence had homes here, which are a few minutes’ walk from each other and can still be visited and enjoyed today. A walk down our brick-lined streets puts you in touch with four centuries of history and architecture. Also, there more 18th-century brick homes in Annapolis than any other city in the nation, making a trip to Annapolis a true walk down memory lane.

Visit buildings once frequented by names like Jefferson and Washington, or the exact spot the Treaty of Paris was ratified. Or stop by the Maryland State House – the oldest in continuous use – for a peek into the room where George Washington resigned his military commission to the Continental Congress. Take a stroll through town and you’ll see firsthand that every brick seems to hold its very own story.

Not to be outdone, the Southern Anne Arundel County tells the story of generations of farmers and watermen whose lives have been shaped by the Chesapeake Bay and the rich farmland that surrounds it. Head over to Historic London Town for a glimpse into one of the area’s earliest settlements, where an active archaeological site and museum showcase centuries of native artifacts.

Historic Timeline
  • 1634

    Founding of colony of Maryland

  • 1651

    Annapolis settled

  • 1683

    London Town established

  • 1695

    Annapolis becomes capital of Maryland

  • 1772

    Maryland State House construction begins

  • 1783

    Washington resigns commission

  • 1784

    Treaty of Paris signed

  • 1784

    St. John’s chartered by legislature

  • 1840

    Annapolis & Elkridge Railroad established

  • 1845

    Naval Academy founded

  • 1864

    Maryland abolishes slavery

  • 1887

    The steamboat "Emma Giles" is launched

  • 1893

    Town of Highland Beach incorporated

  • 1910

    First synagogue in Annapolis established

  • 1910

    John Paul Jones is laid to rest at the Naval Academy

  • 1922

    Camp Letts (YMCA) opens on the Rhode River

  • 1952

    Chesapeake Bay Bridge Opens

  • 1965

    Annapolis Historic District designated a Registered National Historic Landmark

  • 2002

    Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial Dedicated