The Evolution of the Hampton Roads Area

The Hampton Roads is a term that refers to a region that comprises many areas in both the states of Virginia and North Carolina. In Virginia, these areas are Gloucester County, Isle of Wight County, James City County, Mathews County, York County, City of Chesapeake, City of Hampton, City of Newport News, City of Norfolk, City of Poquoson, City of Portsmouth, City of Suffolk, City of Virginia Beach, and City of Williamsburg. In North Carolina, they are Currituck County and Gates County. The Hampton Roads metropolitan area was originally referred to as the Norfolk-Portsmouth Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1950. By this definition, the area encompassed cities such as South Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Norfolk as well as counties as Princess Anne and Norfolk. Virginia Beach parted from Princess Anne County in 1952. But in 1963, the Princess Anne County and the Virginia Beach merged again and retained the name Virginia Beach. In the same year, South Norfolk City and Norfolk County merged and the merger was named as the city of Chesapeake.

The Virginia Beach became a primary city in 1970 while the Chesapeake City was included into the MSA. The County of Currituck County, North Carolina was included as part of the MSA in 1973. The name Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News MSA was granted to a region encompassing 4 cities and 3 counties in 1983. The counties of Isle of Wight, Mathews, and Surry were included as part of the MSA in 1993. By 1990, Virginia Beach had passed Norfolk and was the largest city in Virginia State but it was only made the primary city in 2010. Gates County, North Carolina was included as part of the MSA while Surry County, Virginia was out following the Census of 2010.
The same Census of 2010 also showed that the region has a population of 1,676,822 residents. This number, however, is expected to raise in 2014 to 1,716,624 residents. The Hampton Roads was a name given to the area when it was still a struggling English post, around 400 years ago. The name itself was given to honor Henry Wriosthesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton and one of the founders of the Virginia Company. The Earl was also one of the supporters of the Virginia’s colonization.

Elizabeth City was the areaÆs administrative center in the past, named in honor of Princess Anne, the daughter of King James I. At the heart of the City was a town then named Hampton and the river near the town was named Elizabeth River.