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Virginia Beach, Va.

Mayor: William D. Sessoms, Jr. (to Dec. 31, 2014)

2010 census population (rank): 437,994 (39); Male: 214,441 (49.0%); Female: 223,553 (51.0%); White: 296,670 (67.7%); Black: 85,935 (19.6%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,685 (0.4%); Asian: 26,769 (6.1%); Other race: 8,622 (2.0%); Two or more races: 17,656 (4.0%); Hispanic/Latino: 28,987 (6.6%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 76.0%; 65 and over: 10.6%; Median age: 34.9.

2012 population estimate (rank): 447,021 (39)

See additional census data

Land area: 248 sq mi. (642 sq km);

Alt.: 12 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 39.1° F; July, 78.2° F

Churches: Protestant, 235; Catholic, 13; Jewish, 5;

City-owned parks: 208 (4,000+ ac.);

Radio stations: AM 13; FM 31;

Television stations: 8 commercial; 1 PBS; 1 cable

Civilian Labor Force (MSA) June 2012: 863,8001;

Unemployed: 57,8001,

Percent: 6.71;

Per capita personal income 2010: $30,873

Chamber of Commerce: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 327, Norfolk, VA 23501

1. Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, Va.–N.C.

Virginia Beach, the most populous city in Virginia, is located in the southeast part of the state on the Atlantic coastline. It is independent and is not part of any county.

The first English settlers to set foot in America landed at Cape Henry at the tip of Virginia Beach on April 29, 1607. They were led by Captain Christopher Newport and a rebellious John Smith, who barely avoided execution at the hands of his fellow colonists. Newport and Smith would battle for control of the new settlement, known as Jamestown, until Smith was forced back to England by the colonists two years later. The first permanent settlement within the city limits was made at Lynnhaven Bay in 1621. Cape Henry became an important port for British merchant ships calling on America, and it was here that the French fleet led by Admiral Comte de Grasse blockaded the British fleet during the American Revolution.

Virginia Beach gained its reputation as a famous vacation resort in the 19th century, following the building of a railroad connecting its oceanfront with Norfolk and the construction of its first hotel in 1883. Virginia Beach was incorporated as a town in 1906 and as a city in 1952. In 1963, Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach merged.

Tourism is a mainstay of the economy; more than 3 million people visit Virginia Beach each year. Virginia Beach's economy is also supported by four military bases and diverse industries, including agriculture, computer software, engineering, and technical services.

See also Encyclopedia: Virginia Beach.

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • V. C. Andrews novelist;
  • Raymond Brian Buckland occult writer;
  • Edgar Cayce psychic;
  • Ann Woodruff Compton news correspondent;
  • D. J. Dozier football and baseball player;
  • George Eastman inventor;
  • Scott McKenzie singer;
  • Juice Newton singer;
  • Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr. astronaut;
  • Pat Robertson evangelist;
  • Grace Sherwood accused witch;
  • Henry Walke naval officer;
  • Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker boxer;
  • Skip Wilkins wheelchair athlete.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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