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Chesapeake is an entirely independent city in the state of Virginia. The population is around 223,000 thus making it the third-most populated city in Virginia.

This is an extremely diverse city with few urban areas. There are endless square miles of protected farmland, wetlands, and forests. Additionally, this includes a significant portion of the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge. Chesapeake is located on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. This extends from the rural border with North Carolina to the harbour area of Hampton Roads. It has miles of residential, industrial, and commercial waterfront property.  Consequently, it is a very desirable place to live.

The Dismal Swamp Canal

The Great Dismal Swamp Canal is located along the inland edge of the USA. It is the oldest, continually operating man-made canal in the USA. The Swamp opened in 1805, but closed in October 2016, due to storm damage. The canal reopened again in November 2017 but closed soon after because of an inundation of duckweed. The duckweed was responsible for clogging the intakes on powerboats. The canal remains a risky choice for navigation to this day. The Great Dismal Swamp is part of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs parallel with the east coast and offers shelter from the Atlantic, to boaters. The swamp stretches all the way from the Manasquan Inlet, New Jersey to the Florida Keys.

History

In the Colonial period, water transportation was the lifeblood of North Carolina and the Tidewater areas of Virginia. The landlocked sounds were entirely dependent upon inferior overland tracks.  The alternative was to risk a shipment along the treacherous Carolina coast. In May 1763, George Washington made his first visit to the Great Dismal Swamp. He suggested draining it and digging a north-south canal to connect the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

Subsequently, the Dismal Swamp Canal Company was created In 1784, but work did not begin in 1793. The canal had to be dug entirely by hand with most of the labour done by slaves. It took over 12 years to complete the 22-mile long waterway. Working conditions for the slaves were appalling and many died. The canal finally opened in 1805.

 

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