Newport News is an independent city located in the southeastern region of the Virginia peninsula along the shore of the James River. Newport News is the 5th largest city in Virginia and part of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area which as a combined population of 1.74 million.
Between 2010 and 2015, Newport News was still growing but very slowly, adding just 1,500 residents over five years. Since then, Newport News and surrounding cities like Norfolk and Hampton have had more people leave than move in. This trend is expected to continue thanks to an aging population, decreasing birth rates, and a slowing economy in Virginia.
After Jamestown was founded in Virginia in 1607, English settlers began settling surrounding communities near Hampton Roads. Sir Thomas Gates took a nearby American Indian settlement called Kecoughtan in 1610 and settlers began clearing land along James River that included present-day Newport News. By 1619, the Newport News area was part of one of four corporations under the Virginia Company of London.
It was in 1619 that the first written record of Newport News was found in records from the Virginia Company. At the time, it was spelled as everything from Newportes Newes and Newports Newes to Newport-news. The city was named in honor of Captain Christopher Newport, the commander of the Susan Constant and flagship of the English fleet that landed at Jamestown.
Until the American Civil War, Newport News was a rural plantation community. Later, the establishment of a shipyard brought in thousands of workers and the region began to grow. Newport News became one of just a few Virginia cities to be incorporated before it was a town. Throughout the 19th century, what was once a farm trading community grew into a city with the development of new suburbs and industry.