Annapolis is an incorporated municipal corporation of the State of Maryland (the "State"), possessing substantial home rule powers under the State constitution. First settled in 1649 by Puritans fleeing Virginia, the City was chartered in 1708 and served as the capital of the United States when the Congress met there in 1783-1784. The City serves both as the capital of the State and as the county seat for Anne Arundel County and acquired home rule in 1954. Annapolis is situated on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, at the mouth of the Severn River, east of and midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The City has been the home of St. John’s College (founded as King William’s School) since 1696 and the United States Naval Academy since 1845.
The City covers an area of approximately eight square miles (including waterways). Population in 1950 was 10,047, but growth as well as annexation caused that figure to double by 1960 and more than triple by 1980. According to the 2014 Census estimate, the population is approximately 38,856, exclusive of the Naval Academy population of approximately 5,500. The Naval Academy constitutes a Federal enclave within the City, but is not within the corporate limits of Annapolis.
The appearance of the City is dominated by the handsome buildings of the Naval Academy and the historic State House of Maryland. In addition, there are a number of contemporary State and County office buildings which have been designed in keeping with the prevailing Georgian architecture of the community. Because of the number of residential structures of significant historic and architectural value for which Annapolis is famous, private and public groups have joined together to retain or to recapture the historic atmosphere of the community in keeping with modern urban requirements. An application to the Department of Interior to enlarge the then existing Historic District as designated on the National Register of Historic Places was approved in 1984. The most recent Annapolis Comprehensive Plan (2009) was adopted by City Council in October 2009.
Annapolis is served by three major highways, U.S. Routes 50/301, Maryland Route 2 and Interstate 97 which connect with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, immediately northeast of the City. The District of Columbia is 27 miles to the west and the City of Baltimore is 27 miles to the north.
The City is governed by a Mayor and a City Council. The City is authorized to issue debt, subject to certain indebtedness limitations, for the purpose of financing its capital projects and to incur certain other indebtedness.
The executive offices of the City are located at City Hall, 160 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
The legislative body of the City is the City Council, consisting of the Mayor as the presiding officer and eight Aldermen who together comprise the City Council. One Alderman is elected from each of the eight wards into which the City is divided and must be a resident of the ward. The Mayor is elected at large. The Aldermen and the Mayor serve four-year terms, commencing in December of the year following the presidential election. The City Council has seven standing legislative committees: Economic Matters, Environmental Matters, Finance, Housing and Human Welfare, Public Safety, Rules and City Government, and Transportation. The Mayor and Aldermen have one vote each. A simple majority is sufficient to pass legislation.
The City has independent jurisdiction over streets, street lighting, refuse collection and disposal, police, parks, harbor, off-street parking, public transportation, fire suppression and emergency services, planning and zoning, public health, water production and distribution, and sewage collection. Primary and secondary education is provided by the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County.