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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Hampton Roads

World’s Largest Natural Harbor

 
 
Hampton Roads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
1. Hampton Roads Marker
Inscription. Preface: Newport News was a small community located in Warwick County until late in the 19th century. Established as a town in 1880, it was incorporated as a city in 1896. Warwick County, one of the eight original Virginia shires formed by 1634, became extinct in 1952 when it was designated the city of Warwick. It merged with Newport News in 1958.


This body of water before you is the world’s largest natural harbor. Hampton Roads is formed by the confluence of the Elizabeth, James, and Nansemond rivers. The English settlers named this waterway jointly in honor of the Earl of Southampton (a stockholder in the Virginia Company of London) and for the nautical term “roadstead.” At Hampton Roads, the colonists shipped their tobacco crops to England and imported European manufactured goods. The value of the cargo was immense, and the English established fortifications at Old Point Comfort to the east and Newport News Point to the west. Despite these defenses, Hampton Roads attracted pirates and foreign invaders.

The Dutch sent an expedition into Hampton Roads in 1667. This engagement was part of the Second Anglo-Dutch Naval War, which was a struggle for command of the English Channel and worldwide trade. Colonel Miles Cary, Sr., the colony’s ranking militia officer, died while defending Old Point Comfort
Newport News Founders’ Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
2. Newport News Founders’ Trail Marker
This marker is one in a series of markers detailing the history of the Newport News area.
from the Dutch. The Dutch were pulsed, but the local planters and merchants still contended with pirates who operated from various inland waterways along the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads. The colonial government took stern measures against these brigands and hanged many of them as examples.
 
Erected 2007 by Newport News Founders’ Trail.
 
Location. 36° 58.941′ N, 76° 23.764′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is on 16th Street (Virginia Route 167), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park. Marker is in this post office area: Newport News VA 23607, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monitor – Merrimack (here, next to this marker); Birth of Naval Aviation (within shouting distance of this marker); Monitor – Merrimack Battle (within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Stuart (approx. half a mile away); The Newsome House (approx. ¾ mile away); a different marker also named Newsome House (approx. ¾ mile away); Annie Belle Daniels (approx. 0.9 miles away); Phillis Wheatley (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
 
More about this marker. The upper right
Marker in Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
3. Marker in Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park
Several other markers and monuments are located at this park which witnessed the battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia.
of the marker contains a picture of “Blackbeard, from Charles Johnson, A General History of Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pirates" (1726). The lower left of the marker contains two pictures. One depicts “Royal Navy Lt. Robert about to kill the pirate Blackbeard in Ocracoke Inlet, N.C.," and the other shows “Blackbeard’s head hanging from the bowsprit of Lt. Robert Maynard’s sloop, en route to Virginia.” Both of these pictures were Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
 
Categories. Colonial EraWaterways & Vessels
 
Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
4. Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park
The Hampton Roads Marker, along with others, can be seen in this photo of this waterside park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,118 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 29, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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