Hampton, one of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads, is an independent city in Virginia; it is not part of any Virginia county. Located on the southeast end of the Virginia Peninsula, it has an estimated population of 145,579 (2005). Seized from the inhabitants of the American Indian community of Kecoughtan by colonists under Virginia's Governor- Sir Thomas Gates-it serves as the base for Hampton's claim of being the oldest continuously occupied English settlement in North America. Kecoughtan Settlement was near the present site of the Hampton Roads Transit Facility.
Hampton is home to Fort Monroe, Langley Air Force Base, the NASA's Langley Research Center, and the Virginia Air and Space Center. The city features a wide array of business and industrial enterprises, retail and residential areas, historical sites, and miles of waterfront and beaches. Points of interest in the area include the Air Power Park, Grandview Beach, Hampton History Museum, Hampton National Cemetery, Old Point Comfort, Virginia Air and Space Center, and Bluebird Gap Farm. Visitors and residents alike can also enjoy The Cousteau Society's U.S. headquarters, the Hampton University Museum and historical campus, and the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe.
From the ruins of Hampton left by evacuating Confederates in 1861, "Contraband" slaves built the Grand Contraband Camp, the first self-contained African American community in the United States. Many modern-day Hampton streets retain their names from that community. The Grand Contraband Camp led to the establishment of Hampton University and is the site of the famous Emancipation Oak.