“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Annapolis in Anne Arundel County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Annapolis: Capital of Commerce

Annapolis: Capital of Commerce Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, July 18, 2008
1. Annapolis: Capital of Commerce Marker
Inscription.  In the decades before the American Revolution, Annapolis was the customs port for the upper Bay western shore. Ships clearing in and out paid duties and fees to the local naval officer. With good shipyards (including Ship Carpenters Lot north of the dock, not far from where you are standing), ropewalks, ship chandlers, and bakers, Annapolis also served as an important center for supply, refitting, and provisioning.

Cargoes shipped to Annapolis originated in many places throughout the globe. Merchants imported spices, cloth, and ceramics from the Orient, rum, sugar, molasses, and coffee from the West Indies; wine from France and southern Europe; raisins from the Middle East; tar, pitch, and turpentine from North Carolina; and iron and wood products from New England. Great Britain shipped manufactured goods and thoroughbreds from the King's stables to Annapolis which became the center of horse racing in the colonies. Independant servants and convicts from Britain as well as enslaved Africans, shipped from their homeland and the West Indies, were sold and at auction to provide labor for the city's residents and rurual planters.

Annapolis: Capital of Commerce Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, July 18, 2008
2. Annapolis: Capital of Commerce Marker
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ships arrived in Annapolis, the city was a place of bustling activity, pungent smells, and noisy verbal exchanges. A variety of small watercraft carried goods between shore and larger ships anchored out in the harbor; horse-drawn carts and drays moved cargoes by land to and from the waterfront. The pungent aromas of fish, tobacco, wandering livestock and rotting garbage filled the air. The shouts of workmen, street vendors, and drunken seamen echoed across the water. Wharves, warehouses, shops, and taverns surrounded the dock, a waterway much larger in the eighteenth century that what it is today. Genteel Annapolitans, like John Ridout, who built elegant Georgian houses in the years just before the American Revolution, located them on higher ground a good distance from the crowded, dirty streets nearest the harbor.

The American Revolution brought an end to Annapolis' position at the upper Bay's major seaport. The war solidified Baltimore's new position as the state's leading economic center, with its larger, deeper harbor and location better suited to shipping out the agricultural products of the rich farmland of western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraIndustry & Commerce.
Location. 38° 58.601′ N, 76° 
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29.091′ W. Marker is in Annapolis, Maryland, in Anne Arundel County. Marker can be reached from Dock Street, 0.1 miles east of Market Space. Marker is on the plaza beyond the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Annapolis MD 21401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Watermen and Working Harbor (a few steps from this marker); Steamboats Give Way to the New Bay Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Transportation on the Chesapeake Highway (a few steps from this marker); Maritime Annapolis: An Enduring Legacy (a few steps from this marker); Gateway to Discovery (a few steps from this marker); Commodore John Barry (within shouting distance of this marker); Annapolis Depicted (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sy Mohr's City Dock Harbormaster Collage (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Annapolis.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 24, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 790 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 24, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.

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Aug. 9, 2022