Annapolis is conveniently situated 30 miles south of Baltimore and 30 miles east of Washington, D.C. on the mouth of the Severn River. Since its inception in 1649, the community has experienced several different names, including Providence and Anne Arundel Towne, until it was finally named Annapolis in 1694 in honor of Princess Anne. At the turn of the 19th century, the municipality transitioned from being dependent on Anne Arundel County’s successful plantations to a maritime emphasis embodied by the city’s pelagic location. The sea trade brought early prosperity to Annapolis, fostering the area’s reputation as a center of culture and refinement. Today, Annapolis is distinguished as the “Sailing Capital of the World” and attracts over 4.5 million visitors annually, many of whom are drawn by the city’s rich history and tradition. Producing more than $1.4 billion annually, the tourism industry in Annapolis is a significant component of the fabric in Anne Arundel County, providing employment for more than 12,000 people.
Functioning as the capital of the State of Maryland and the county seat of Anne Arundel County, Annapolis’ economic development is primarily driven by a combination of government and tourism. Fort George G. Meade is the region’s largest employer, with more than 49,000 people living just a short drive away. Local education institutions include Saint Mary’s High School, Saint John’s College, and the United States Naval Academy, which collectively employ over 750 faculty and staff. Recently, Annapolis has gained momentum as the center of a rapidly growing high-tech corridor. Highly-specialized technology companies in fields such as defense, internet-based services, medical equipment, fiber optics, communications, and data centers have opened or expanded their offices in and around Annapolis. Lastly, residents enjoy a wide variety of local retail options that include Downtown Annapolis, Annapolis Towne Centre, Westfield Annapolis Shopping Center, and Riva Shopping Center.