North American telephone area code 804 serves the east-central portion of commonwealth of Virginia. The area code is anchored by Virginia's capital, Richmond, and includes most of its metropolitan area. Other communities using 804 include Chesterfield, Henrico, Hopewell, Mechanicsville, Powhatan, Midlothian, Petersburg, and Colonial Heights. The 804 code also includes the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula. The two southernmost counties on the Middle Peninsula, Gloucester and Mathews, are part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, but use 804 instead of the area code 757 used by the rest of Hampton Roads.
Area code 804 was split from Virginia's original area code, area code 703, on Sunday, June 24, 1973, with an official permissive dialing period ending January 1, 1974. Originally, it stretched across the eastern two-thirds of the state, from Danville to the Eastern Shore.
Despite the rapid growth of the Richmond-Petersburg and Hampton Roads areas, this configuration remained in place for 23 years. On July 1, 1996, the Eastern Shore and most of Hampton Roads became area code 757. This split was intended as a long-term solution, but by the turn of the century and millennium 804 was running out of numbers due to the rapid growth of the Richmond area, as well as the proliferation of cell phones and pagers. As a result, 804 was split again on June 1, 2001, when most of the western portion became area code 434.