Today, Virginia Beach is a modern city that draws tourists from all over the world. Its roots go back to 1607 when English settlers established Jamestown, the first settlement in the New World. Since 1634, Virginia Beach has had the same local government boundaries, with brief intermissions of portions of the town breaking off to remerge with the city after a few years. This resort town has historical significance as well.
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Early Law Enforcement
As the town grew, constables and sheriffs began to maintain order in larger cities and seaports in the early days of the settlement. In the North, police acted as watchmen in case of fire or theft. However, in the South, law enforcement primarily looked for fugitive slaves and those who stole stock.
Civil War and Freedom for Slaves
Following the civil war, slavery ended, and a period of reconstruction began. Unfortunately, black Americans were mistreated until the late 20th Century, when civil rights statutes began to create a shift in social attitudes and treatment of people of color.
In the late 19th Century, electricity came to Virginia Beach, and so did the railroad. In 1888, the Princess Anne hotel opened, beginning a long line of hospitality and attractions that would draw people from other states and eventually the entire world.
Virginia has always had significance when it comes to commerce and trade. Pirates often lay in wait for merchant ships to steal the cargo and take hostages. One famous pirate, Edward Blackbeard, lost his final battle at Ocracoke Inlet. Victors carried his head to Hampton to celebrate the end of the renowned corsair.
Growth in 20th Century
Virginia Beach officially became a town in 1906, and at the same time, it was becoming a popular family resort destination. The city gained its independence in 1952 when it separated from Princess Anne County to remerge in 1963. However, the new town kept the name of Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach Today
In the 21st Century, huge investments have poured into the area, resulting in office buildings, shops, hotels, and eateries in the Virginia Beach Town Center complex and the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The city continues to grow and prosper.
With the Town Center and Convention Center’s development, the city began to attract businesses looking for excellent destinations to host conferences for customers and employees. This added another layer to the local economy.