Since the arrival of colonial settlers in 1620, the history of Chesapeake has played a major role in the birth of the United States of America. During the American Revolution, colonists in the Chesapeake region celebrated an important victory at the epic Battle of Great Bridge in 1775. This victory was responsible for removing all vestiges of British Government from the Colony of Virginia. Each December, this significant turn in America's fight for freedom is recreated by Revolutionary War re-enactors.
With the construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal in the 1790s, Chesapeake came to prominence as a commerce center. The site of this canal was surveyed by George Washington's land company, and has been in service for more than 230 years. It is the oldest continuously used man-made canal in the United States today. The canal served as an important waterway route for Confederate supplies during the Civil War until it was captured by Union forces in 1862.
History buffs will not want to miss the Virginia Civil War Trails, a series of Civil War battle sites also used as a path for the Underground Railroad. Virginia's Hampton's Road region is rich with other African American historic sites such as the Emancipation Oak, the Newsome House, Hampton University and Museum and the Casemate Museum.
Following the Civil War, the Chesapeake area flourished due to its rich, fertile farmland and access to deep, navigable waters. In 1963, the region was officially designated as the City of Chesapeake. Today, Chesapeake is a thriving, modern metro, rated #85 in Money Magazine's prestigious list of "Best Places to Live" in 2008.