The United States Naval Academy is one of the most historic and prestigious federal service academies. It was officially founded on October 10, 1845, in Annapolis, Maryland. But what many don’t know is why officials chose Annapolis to be the home of budding Navy members. What made the city so special in the first place?

Back to the beginning

Not too many people know that the United States Navy was born during the American Revolution to match the Royal Navy of Great Britain. But immediately following the Revolution, President George Washington persuaded Congress members to continue the naval force.

Thanks, George Washington.

 US Navy

But by the mid-1800s, there was a new need for an official academy to train future members of the US Navy.

Searching for the right location

Annapolis, Maryland wasn’t the first location of the US Naval Academy. When founders were searching for a suitable location, many small schools were set up in New York City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Boston, Massachusetts. Its last location was the Philadelphia Naval Asylum School before Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft decided to move the academy to Annapolis, Maryland, for a very specific reason.

Bancroft decided Annapolis was a “healthy and secluded” location for the new naval academy. Annapolis would be the perfect location to rescue midshipmen from “the temptations and distractions that necessarily connect with a large and populous city.”

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The US Naval Academy was officially founded on October 10, 1845.

A much different academy

The US Naval Academy was a much different academy in 1845 than its current state in 2018. Back then, the campus only consisted of ten acres, named Fort Severn, and only had 50 midshipmen and seven professors. The curriculum focused on mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French.

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Since those days, the US Naval Academy has continued to reflect US history. As America has changed, so has the Naval Academy. We can only expect this to continue for many decades to come.