The U.S. Naval Institute was established in 1873 to provide an open forum for the exchange of ideas, to disseminate and advance the knowledge of sea power, and to preserve our naval and maritime heritage. In October of that year, a group of fifteen naval officers began meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, at the United States Naval Academy’s Department of Physics and Chemistry, to discuss the serious implications of a smaller, post-Civil War Navy and other matters of professional interest. The "proceedings" of those discussions were eventually published and read throughout the fleet. Since that first meeting, worldwide membership in the U.S. Naval Institute has grown to more than 70,000. Today, the U.S. Naval Institute is recognized as one of the world's foremost sources of knowledge of naval and military affairs.