Beginning in the spring of 1813, the world’s greatest military power brought war to the Chesapeake Bay region. Britain’s Royal Navy conducted numerous raids, fought fierce battles and turned the Bay landscape into a scene of terror and destruction. By the war’s conclusion in early 1815, people throughout the region had mustered the courage to stand up for their homes and their towns. A fledgling nation, still forging its identity, found solidarity in its defense.
The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. The trail traces American and British troop movements, introduces visitors to communities affected by the war, and highlights the Chesapeake region’s distinctive landscapes and waterways. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem.
Congress established the Star-Spangled Banner Trail in 2008. The trail is one of 19 national historic trails administered by the National Park Service and one of 30 trails in the National Trails System.