Newport News is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area ofVirginia. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of theJames River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News Point on the harbor of Hampton Roads.
The area now known as Newport News was once a part of Warwick County. Warwick County was one of the eight original shires of Virginia, formed by the House of Burgessesin the British Colony of Virginia by order of King Charles I, in 1634. The county was largely composed of farms and undeveloped land until almost 250 years later. In 1881, 15 years of explosive development began under the leadership of Collis P. Huntington, whose newPeninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway from Richmond opened up transportation along the Peninsula and provided a new pathway for the railroad to bringWest Virginia bituminous coal to port for coastal shipping and worldwide export. With the new railroad came a terminal and coal piers where the colliers were loaded. Within a few years, Huntington and his associates also built a large shipyard. In 1896, the newincorporated town of Newport News, which had briefly replaced Denbigh as the county seatof Warwick County, had a population of 9,000. In 1900, 19,635 people lived in Newport News, Virginia; in 1910, 20,205; in 1920, 35,596; and in 1940, 37,067. In 1958, by mutual consent by referendum, Newport News was consolidated with the former Warwick County(itself a separate city from 1952 to 1958), rejoining the two localities to approximately their pre-1896 geographic size. The more widely known name of Newport News was selected as they formed what was then Virginia's third largest independent city in population. As of the2010 census, the city population was 180,719 ranking it as Virginia's fifth largest incorporated city by population.
With many residents employed at the expansive Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, the jointU.S. Air Force-U.S. Army installation at Joint Base Langley–Eustis, and other military bases and suppliers, the city's economy is very connected to the military. The location on the harbor and along the James River facilitates a large boating industry which can take advantage of its many miles of waterfront. Newport News also serves as a junction between the rails and the sea with the Newport News Marine Terminals located at the East End of the city. Served by major east-west Interstate Highway 64, it is linked to others of the cities of Hampton Roads by the circumferential Hampton Roads Beltway, which crosses the harbor on two bridge-tunnels. Part of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is in the city limits.
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