Hampton Roads is situated in the middle of the Eastern seaboard where the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers pour into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It is recognized as the 33rd largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States, eighth largest metro area in the Southeast United States and the second largest between Atlanta and Washington, DC. Six of the 10 largest population centers in the United States are located within 750 miles of Hampton Roads.
Hampton Roads News
More information about Hampton Roads
- Newport News
- Virginia Beach
Home to more than 1.7 million people, the Hampton Roads region includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Southampton, Surry*, York, and Currituck (North Carolina).
*As a result of the 2010 Census, Surry County was removed from the Hampton Roads metropolitan statistical area (officially the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC MSA) and Gates County, North Carolina was added.
The term "Hampton Roads" is a centuries-old reference that originated when the region was struggling as a British outpost 400 years ago. The word "Hampton" honors one of the founders of the Virginia Company, Henry Wriothesley - third Earl of Southampton. Signifying the safety of a port, "Roads", short for roadstead which in nautical terminology means "a place less sheltered than a harbor where ships may ride at anchor."
Hampton Roads is the birthplace of Colonial America. It is home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement and to Colonial Williamsburg. Its rich history, thriving maritime industry and beautiful waterfront landscapes merge with livable communities, modern technology, economic prosperity and a strong military presence to create a unique and welcoming place in which to live and conduct business.
In 1983, "Hampton Roads" became the official name for the region, unifying the Southside with the Peninsula, although the first recorded mention of "Hampton Roads" in the Virginia General Assembly was in 1755 (11 years before the founding of the United States) as the channel linking the James, Elizabeth and Nansemond Rivers with the Chesapeake Bay.
Flag of Hampton Roads
The Hampton Roads regional flag was created in 1998 in a highly public process sponsored by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Hampton Roads Partnership. From more than 1,000 designs submitted by high school students in a regional contest, three finalists were chosen and were voted on by the general public through the media.
The gateway to Southeastern Virginia, Hampton Roads includes among its sixteen municipalities, symbolized by the flag’s stars, cities such as Norfolk, Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Southampton Roadstead, the original name of Hampton Roadswas given in the early 1600s by the royal governor in honor of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. The nautical term roadstead, meaning a safe anchorage, calls to mind the area’s great history as a naval base, port, and center of shipbuilding. Hampton Roads famous museums and performing groups make Hampton Roads the arts capital of Virginia, along with its research facilities in aerospace, particle physics, and oceanography, together with tourism, higher education, health care, and high tech manufacturing, characterize the area’s modern economy. The Hampton Roads flag is the first flag ever created for a metropolitan region of the United States.
Symbolism of the flag:
- The blue panel predominantly suggests maritime and naval character of the Hampton Roads region, which is the nation’s primary naval base on the Eastern Seaboard, the East Coast’s second largest seaport, and the country’s primary center of shipbuilding and ship repair.
- The green panel stands for the region’s land-based agriculture, industry, and arts.
- The white wavy line represents the sand and surf that help make the region one of the nation’s most visited tourist destinations--from Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown to Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum and the famous resort area at Virginia Beach.
- The sixteen white stars symbolize the region’s cities and counties. The circle shape the stars are displayed in signifies the classic symbol of unity, and they all point to the center to represent the aspiration for regional cooperation.
The flag as a whole was created to symbolize the sense of community shared by the region’s 1.7 million residents and its motto, “Hampton Roads—where Virginia meets the sea.”
The flag of Hampton Roads is a registered trademark of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. Display the flag and show your regional pride. To purchase flag merchandise from the Chamber's exclusive vendor, visit www.aflagshop.com, or call 757.497.8947 ext. 104.
Participating Chamber members are featured in this Interactive Map. You can find them listed in the Business Locator section of Maplocator. This online companion to the flatmap includes: a category listing, pinpoint on the map and information about each member. If you would like a flap map please contact the Chamber at 757.622.2312 and one can be provided to you at no charge. Our Chamber office is located at 500 East Main Street, Suite 700 (7th floor of the BB&T building), Norfolk, VA 23510. For other requests go to the Chamber Shop to order your maps online.
Interactive "This is Hampton Roads" Annual Publication
Whether you are visiting the area or reside we encourage you to take advantage of all Hampton Roads has to offer. For starters, take a look at our 2015 This is Hampton Roads publication--featured in a new interactive "flip" format.