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History of Virginia Beach, VA

Contrary to popular belief, John Smith was not among the first landing party in the new world. When Admiral Christopher Newport organized the 30 or so men who were to go ashore, Smith was under arrest and in chains for taking part in mutinous disturbances en route to the new world. Nevertheless, the landing party came ashore in the present city of Virginia Beach on the morning of April 26th, 1607. It was springtime and as the adventurers climbed the huge sand dunes their view of the dogwood trees in full bloom, and the climbing yellow jasmines intermingled with the deep green recesses on the woodland moved 26 year old Master George Percy to write that, "Heaven and Earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitations than Virginia. On April 29th, the voyagers returned to the entrance of the great body of water they officially named The Chesapeake Bay, using the same name the Indians used. There they erected a cross and named the spot Cape Henry, after the popular Prince of Wales, who was only 13 at the time. They claimed all the land in the name of God and England and on the sand of Virginia Beach conducted the first religious ceremony of the Church of England in America.

Captain Newport, fearing the landing site too vulnerable to Spanish and Indian attack, moved his colonists farther inland to establish the Capital City. On May 13, 1607, he chose a small island on the James River to establish the first permanent English Colony in the new world. King James had ordered that the capital city be named in his honor, hence Jamestown was born. The Virginia Colony was settled in a haphazard fashion. It was not until 14 years after the first landing at Cape Henry that colonists settled in the area that is now Virginia Beach. As a vacation resort Virginia Beach is unparalleled. Close to the major metropolitan cites of the Mid-Atlantic, thousands flock to this beautiful, historic area - most as summer vacationers to the shore, but a good number remaining as year round residents.


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