History & Heritage

The Chesapeake region is steeped in thousands of years of history.

English explorers called the Chesapeake Bay a “new world” when they discovered Virginia in 1607, though American Indians had flourished along the Bay’s shores since the Ice Age. In the past 400 years, the Chesapeake has seen countless wars and battles, generations of watermen and ship builders -- and even a few pirates!

The Chesapeake’s rich history and culture are still alive today. And there are dozens of places where you can discover it.

See how English settlers built a colony at Jamestown Island, or dig deeper into history at an archaeological site.

Trace the paths of soldiers at Civil War battlefields and escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Are you interested in the Chesapeake Bay’s unique maritime heritage? Step aboard one of the last salty skipjacks to sail the Bay’s waters, dredging for oysters. Or visit a museum to learn about the treasured traditions of boat building and decoy carving.

If history is your fancy, then there’s no better place than the Chesapeake Bay. Explore the Chesapeake’s history and heritage at the locations and events below.