Hampton, city (1990 pop. 133,793), independent and in no county, SE Va., a port of Hampton Roads at the mouth of the James River, connected to Norfolk by bridge and tunnel; settled 1610 by colonists from Jamestown, inc. 1849. It has a large seafood packing and shipping industry (fish, crabs, and oysters), as well as manufacturing (computers, electronic and transportation equipment, machinery, chemicals, and wood products). Nearby military installations include Langley Air Force Base (est. 1917) and adjacent NASA Langley Research Center; Fort Monroe, built 1819–34 to command the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, is a national monument.
One of the oldest continuous English settlements in the country, Hampton was founded on the site of the Native American village Kecoughtan. It was attacked by pirates in the late 17th cent. (Blackbeard was captured off the coast), shelled in the Revolutionary War, sacked by the British in 1813, and nearly burned to the ground by evacuating Confederates in 1861 to prevent its possession by Union troops. It is the seat of Hampton Univ. Of interest are St. John's Episcopal Church (1728; original church est. 1610) and a nearby reproduction of a Native American village.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.