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Founded in the first half of the 17th Century, Hampton, Virginia is one of the oldest settlements in the United States. Prior to the Civil War the city served mainly as a trading port due to its well-protected deep water harbor. Its residents were largely merchants of moderate wealth and several African slaves and free blacks.
When the Civil War hit, Hampton's Fort Monroe was occupied by the Union Army in an effort to prevent the Confederates from capturing the town, its harbor being a major asset in the war effort. In retaliation against the Union, the Confederates burned the entire town of Hampton to the ground. Few buildings survived. In spite of all of this however, the Confederate Army never tried attacking the Fort.
Today Hampton is a quaint, sea side tourist town, but still it has a military flavor to it. It is the home of the Air and Space Center, run by NASA and the Langley Air Force Base. And across its harbor also lies Norfolk Naval Base.