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Virginia Counties
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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

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City of Norfolk, Virginia

City of Norfolk Education, Geography, and HistoryNorfolk, Virginia Courthouse

Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States of America. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2013, the population was estimated to be 246,392 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia, behind neighboring Virginia Beach.

Norfolk is located at the core of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, named for the large natural harbor of the same name located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.

Etymology - Origin of City of Norfolk Name

Norfolk was located in Norfolk County, which is now extinct. The city took the name from the former home of an early settler, Adam Thoroughgood, who was a native of the county of Norfolk in England

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: City of Norfolk

Norfolk City History

In 1619, the Governor for the Virginia Colony, Sir George Yeardley established four incorporations, termed citties (sic), for the developed portion of the colony. These formed the basis for colonial representative government in the newly minted House of Burgesses. What would become Norfolk was put under the Elizabeth Cittie incorporation.

In 1622, Adam Thoroughgood (1604-1640) of King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, came to Virginia as an indentured servant. At the end of his contracted servitude, he earned his freedom and became a leading citizen of the fledgling colony.

In 1634 King Charles I reorganized the colony into a system of shires. The former Elizabeth Cittie became Elizabeth City Shire. After persuading 105 people to settle in the colony, Thoroughgood was granted a large land holding along the Lynnhaven River in 1636.

When the South Hampton Roads portion of the shire was partitioned off, Thoroughgood suggested the name of his birthplace for the newly formed New Norfolk County. One year later, it split into two counties, Upper Norfolk County and Lower Norfolk County (present day Norfolk), chiefly on Thoroughgood's recommendation.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts, born and raised in Norfolk, became the first President of Liberia.Norfolk grew in the late 1600s as a "Half Moone" fort was constructed and 50 acres (200,000 m2) were acquired in exchange for 10,000 pounds of tobacco. The House of Burgesses established "Towne of Lower Norfolk County" in 1680. In 1691, a final county subdivision took place when Lower Norfolk County split to form Norfolk County (present day Norfolk, Chesapeake, and parts of Portsmouth) and Princess Anne County (present day Virginia Beach). Norfolk was incorporated in 1705 and in 1736, George II granted Norfolk a royal charter as a borough.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 96.3 square miles (249.4 km2), of which, 53.7 square miles (139.2 km2) of it is land and 42.6 square miles (110.3 km2) of it (44.22%) is water.


The city is located at the southeastern corner of Virginia at the junction of the Elizabeth and James rivers, bordering the Chesapeake Bay. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Statistical Area (officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA) is the 34th largest in the United States, with a total population of 1,576,370. The area includes the Virginia cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina county of Currituck. The city of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district, while the Virginia Beach oceanside resort district and Williamsburg are primarily centers of tourism. Virginia Beach is the most populated city within the MSA though it functions more as a suburb.

In addition to extensive riverfront property, Norfolk has miles of bayfront resort property and beaches in the Willoughby Spit and Ocean View communities.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • The city is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. It also shares land borders with the independent cities of Chesapeake to its south and Virginia Beach to its east.

Education

Norfolk is home to three public universities and one private. It also hosts a community college campus in downtown. Old Dominion University, founded as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary in 1930, became an independent institution in 1962. Eastern Virginia Medical School, founded as a community medical school by the surrounding jurisdictions in 1973, is noted for its research into reproductive medicineand is located in the region's major medical complex in the Ghent district. Norfolk State University founded in 1935 is the largest HBCU in Virginia. Virginia Wesleyan College is a small private liberal arts college, and shares its eastern border with the neighboring city of Virginia Beach.Tidewater Community College. Additionally, several for-profit schools operate in the city.

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