A group of English settlers landed at Cape Henry at the tip of Virginia Beach in April 1607, before making their way to Jamestown Island.
Fourteen years later, the first settlement within Virginia Beach's current city limits was built at Lynnhaven Bay.
The city's resort area was developed in the late 19th century, starting with its first hotel and the construction of a railroad connecting its waterfront with Norfolk.
Virginia Beach has grown steadily since its 1963 merger with Princess Anne County and has become the most populated city in the state.
Three million people visit Virginia Beach each year, and the city's 28 miles of public beaches are its main attraction.
Spanning more than 17 city blocks, the new town center, which started construction in 2001, exemplifies a mixed-use "main street" style development, with upscale retail stores, offices, hotels and restaurants in the heart of Virginia Beach. The town center features the 38-story Westin Hotel and the Sandler Center for Performing Arts.
The military continues to represent a large economic presence in Virginia Beach, with its four military installations: Oceana Naval Air Station, Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Fort Story and Dam Neck Annex.
Virginia Beach in the hometown of hip-hop stars Pharrell Williams and Timbaland. Plaxico Burress, a wide receiver for the Super Bowl XLII© champion New York Giants, graduated from Green Run High School in Virginia Beach.