How Newport News Got It’s Name

Newport News’ name origin is not certain. The most reasonable explanation is based on commemoration of the English mariner Capt. Christopher Newport. Capt. Newport, was among the most important men connected with the permanent settling of Virginia and was in charge of a squadron of three ships making the historic voyage in 1607, which landed at the location that was to be known as Jamestown. Capt. Newport made several subsequent voyages back to England and return. It is said that after the “starving times” of the year 1610, the settlers decided to abandon the Jamestown settlement and return to England. Barely underway, at the current location of Newport News, they encountered Capt. Newport returning from England with news that it was not necessary to abandon the settlement. Thus the original name “Newport’s Good News” was established. Over the years this was shortened to the name “Newport News”.

Capt. Christopher Newport would not recognize the place now! Note that Jamestown is in the upper left corner of the map and the body of water going to it is the James River. The James River empties into the foot of the Chesapeake Bay at the right on the map.