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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.

City of Suffolk, Virginia

City of Suffolk Education, Geography, and HistorySuffolk, Virginia City Hall

Suffolk is an independent city located in the state of Virginia. As of the 2014 census, the population was 86,606 It is the largest city in Virginia by area as well as the 11th largest in the country.

Suffolk is located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.

Etymology - Origin of City of Suffolk Name

The City of Suffolk was located in Nansemond County, which is now extinct. It probably was named for the county of Suffolk in England.


County QuickFacts: City of Suffolk

Suffolk City History

Suffolk is an independent city located in the South Hampton Roads area of eastern Virginia

Suffolk began in 1742 as a port town on the Nansemond River in the Virginia Colony. Originally known as Constance's Warehouse, Suffolk was named after Royal Governor William Gooch's home of Suffolk in East Anglia in England.

Early in its history, Suffolk became a land transportation gateway to the areas east of it in South Hampton Roads. Before the American Civil War, both the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad had been built through Suffolk, early predecessors of 21st century Class 1 railroads operated by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern respectively. Other railroads and later major highways followed.

Peanuts grown in the surrounding areas became a major industry for Suffolk. Notably, Planters' Peanuts was established in Suffolk beginning in 1912. Suffolk was the 'birthplace' of Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters' Peanuts. For many years, the call-letters of local AM radio station WLPM stood for World's Largest Peanut Market.

Long surrounded by Nansemond County, Suffolk progressively became an incorporated town in 1808 and an independent city in 1906 before combining by mutual agreement in 1974 with the former county, which had also become an independent city (City of Nansemond) only 18 months earlier, including the former outlying unincorporated towns of Holland and Whaleyville. The newly-consolidated cities assumed the name of Suffolk, creating the largest city geographically in Virginia.

Nansemond, Virginia incorported as an independent city in July 1972. Merged with the city of Suffolk on 1 January 1974. [Virginia Genealogy, Sources & Resources, by Carol McGinnis, Genealogical Publishing Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1993.]

Suffolk, Virginia was incorporated as a town on 5 January 1808 and incorporated as a city in 1910. Located in Nansemond County, Virginia until July 1972 when Nansemond County became the independent city of Nansemond. Suffolk and Nansemond were consilidated on 1 January 1974 as the city of Suffolk. [Virginia Genealogy, Sources & Resources, by Carol McGinnis, Genealogical Publishing Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1993.]

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 429.1 square miles (1,111.3 km2), of which, 400.0 square miles (1,036.0 km2) of it is land and 29.0 square miles (75.2 km2) of it (6.77%) is water.

Part of the Great Dismal Swamp is located in Suffolk.

Suffolk is known as the largest city in land mass compared to the other cities that are part of the Hampton Roads area.

Neighboring Cities and Counties:

  • City of Chesapeake.
  • City of Portsmouth.
  • City of Newport News (water boundary).
  • Isle of Wight County.
  • Southampton County.
  • Camden County, North Carolina.
  • Gates County, North Carolina.


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