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(chĕs`əpēk'), city (1990 pop. 151,976), formed independently by the merging of the city of South Norfolk and Norfolk co., SE Va.; inc. 1963. Within its vast area are residential sections; much farmland, with related agricultural industries; and a large part of the Great Dismal Swamp. The large variety of products includes machinery, feeds, dairy products, chemicals, furniture, construction materials, and computer equipment. The Battle of Great Bridge was fought (1775) in Chesapeake. The Dismal Swamp Canal was completed in 1822.


U.S. frigate, famous for her role in the Chesapeake affair (June 22, 1807) and for her battle with the H.M.S. Shannon (June 1, 1813). The Chesapeake left Norfolk, Va., for the Mediterranean under the command of James BarronBarron, James,
1768–1851, U.S. naval officer, b. Hampton, Va. Of a seafaring family, he served in the Virginia navy in the Revolution, entered the U.S. navy as a lieutenant in 1798, and held commands in the Mediterranean at the time of the Tripolitan War.
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 in June, 1807. Just outside U.S. territorial waters the H.M.S. Leopard stopped her and demanded the right to search her for British deserters. Barron refused to allow this, and shortly afterward the Leopard opened fire. Unprepared for action, Barron was forced to submit and allow the impressment of four of his crew (two of whom were American-born). The incident caused intense indignation, and war seemed imminent. In the War of 1812, the refitted Chesapeake, commanded by James LawrenceLawrence, James,
1781–1813, American naval hero, b. Burlington, N.J. He entered the navy in 1798 and saw his first important service in the Tripolitan War. In the War of 1812, as commander of the Hornet, he defeated and sank (1813) the British Peacock.
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, engaged (June 1, 1813) the H.M.S. Shannon outside Boston harbor. Lawrence was mortally wounded, and his last command was reportedly the famous "Don't give up the ship!" The Chesapeake was, however, captured.


See studies by K. Poolman (1961), P. Padfield (1968), and H. F. Pullen (1970).

Chesapeake (Independent City), Virginia

306 Cedar Rd
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Phone: (757) 382-6151
Fax: (757) 382-6678

In southeastern VA, southeast of Norfolk. Formed in 1963 by merger of Norfolk County and the former city of South Norfolk, both of which then became extinct. Name Origin: For Chesapeake Bay

Area (sq mi):: 350.90 (land 340.72; water 10.18) Population per square mile: 642.70
Population 2005: 218,968 State rank: 8 Population change: 2000-20005 9.90%; 1990-2000 31.10% Population 2000: 199,184 (White 65.90%; Black or African American 28.50%; Hispanic or Latino 2.00%; Asian 1.80%; Other 2.80%). Foreign born: 3.00%. Median age: 34.70
Income 2000: per capita $20,949; median household $50,743; Population below poverty level: 7.30% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $26,849-$30,401
Unemployment (2004): 3.70% Unemployment change (from 2000): 0.80% Median travel time to work: 25.10 minutes Working outside county of residence: 60.10%
Cities with population over 10,000:
  • Chesapeake County seat (214,725)

  • See other counties in .
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