A Short History of Chesapeake, VA

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This article is presented by the sexual assault attorneys of Chesapeake. Discover the history of the local city of Chesapeake and catch a glimpse of what it has to offer.

Brief History of Chesapeake

Included in the Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC, MSA, the independent city of Chesapeake is within the South Hampton Roads region. The second-largest city by land area and population in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it was settled in 1634 as part of Norfolk County. In 1963, the city was organized after the former independent city of South Norfolk was consolidated with Norfolk County.

Up until the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Chesapeake region was mostly a suburban and rural commuter town of the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. However, during this time, significant growth was seen as industries and businesses were attracted to the area. Today, the city has miles of waterfront industrial, residential and commercial properties. In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Chesapeake as the 21st best city in the U.S.


As of the 2010 census, there was a population of 222,209 people and a population density of 584.6 people per square mile in Chesapeake. The racial makeup of the area was the following:

  • 62.6% White
  • 29.8% Black or African American
  • 4.4% Hispanic or Latinos of Any Race
  • 3.0% Two or More Races
  • 2.9% Asian
  • 1.2% Other Races
  • 0.1% Pacific Islander

The city is also home to 69,900 households and 54,172 families, with an average size of 2.79 and 3.17, respectively. These households consist of:

  • 59.7% Married couples
  • 41.0% Children under 18
  • 22.5% Non-families
  • 18.0% Individuals
  • 14.0% Female householders
  • 5.9% Someone living alone over 65

The median household income was $50,743, which is lower than the median family income of $56,302.

Chesapeake Arboretum

Designated a Virginia Treasure, the Chesapeake Arboretum is a 48-acre "Nature's Classroom" established in 1996 in the heart of the city of Chesapeake. It works to promote horticultural and environmental awareness through display, education and research. Featuring one of Virginia's finest trail systems, other park amenities include eight bridges, three miles of hiking and walking trails, 3-acre Lake Hughes, Caleb Williamson Farm House, Camellia Cove, the Pecan Grove Gazebo for family gatherings and weddings, picnic areas with tables, Propagation Nursery, and a master gardener area with greenhouse.

Continue reading about our other communities with a Breakdown of the History of Richmond, VA.

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