Chartered in 1963, Chesapeake, Virginia, is one of seven cities comprising the Hampton Roads region of the state. Chesapeake is situated on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, of which the city's Dismal Swamp Canal, the oldest of its kind in America, is a major part.
The city's unique character stems from a mix of urban areas and federally protected wetlands, with miles of waterfront to facilitate commercial fisheries and shipping, as well as residential communities. Chesapeake contains commercial and suburban residential areas to the north and mostly undeveloped forests and wetlands along its southern border with North Carolina. Chesapeake covers more than 350 square miles, ranking it among the largest American cities in terms of land mass.
The city takes its name from the extinct tribe of Chesapeake Indians, who were possibly wiped out by the chief of the Powhatan tribe, also of Southeastern Virginia, when the Chesapeakes refused to join the Powhatan Confederacy.
Chesapeake consists of six political boroughs:
The median household income for Chesapeake residents is about $63,000 (2007 U.S. Census estimate). Service-provider jobs comprise two-thirds of employment in Chesapeake. These include trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; and leisure and hospitality focused primarily on tourism.
Among major the employers in and around Chesapeake are:
Many of the city's key attractions are aquatic or linked to nature in some way:
Chesapeake is a sportsperson's paradise, with ample opportunities for fishing as well as every imaginable water sport, from boating and parasailing to jet skiing and windsailing. Many families spend a pleasant morning crabbing or fishing from a pier, but check local licensing requirements before doing so.
The popular and scenic Northwest River Park campground is open April through November. Located on the banks of the Northwest River in southeastern Chesapeake, the more than 750-acre park is a four-time winner of "Best of Chesapeake." Year-round boating, fishing, hiking, and special programs are available. The park also features a putt-putt golf course, horseshoe pitching, volleyball nets, and seasonal boat rentals on the inland lake and the river.
Chesapeake is within an easy commute of several universities and community colleges, including the following:
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