Norfolkindependent city and port, southeastern VirginiaU. Norfolk is part of an urban complex that includes the cities of Portsmouth westChesapeake southVirginia Beach eastand, northward across the harbour of Hampton RoNewport News and Hampton.
Laid out as a town in following an act of the Virginia General Assembly that each county should establish a trade centre, it was named for Norfolk county, England. The land was bought from Nicholas Wise, a carpenter, for 10, pounds 4, kg of tobacco.
For many years Norfolk was a trade outlet for eastern North Carolina tar, lumber, hides, and tobacco. Later, shipbuilding and ship repairing became important.
A lucrative trade developed with Britain and the West Indiesand, in recognition of its commercial importance, Norfolk was presented a silver mace by Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie in During the American Revolution the royal governor, John Murray, 4th earl of Dunmoremade it his headquarters Decemberdeclared martial lawand defeated the Virginia militiamen at nearby Kempsville. The Virginians later burned what was left of the town except for St. During the War of it was twice saved from the British—when a local militia beat off a land attack on Portsmouth and when General Robert B.
With subsequent canal and railroad construction, prosperity returned until a yellow-fever epidemic struck in and killed 10 percent of the population. Wool and was occupied for the rest of the war. Its prosperity d after with the converging of railways on the port and was stimulated during World Wars I and II with the installation of a huge naval and naval-air complex.
Norfolk, with Portsmouth, is now headquarters of the Commander in Chief, U. The complex is the largest harbour and naval base in the world. Shipping coal, tobacco, food products, and grainshipbuilding, and light industry chemicals, textiles, and agricultural machinery are the major economic activities.
A botanical gardenthe burial site and memorial for U. Additional Info.
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Norfolk, Virginia, on the Elizabeth River. Map of Norfolk, Va. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
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Subscribe Now. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Norfolk is ed to Hampton by a bridge-tunnel 5 miles 8 km long and to the eastern shore of Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel complex, which stretches Virginiaconstituent state of the United States of America, one of the original 13 colonies.
It is bordered by Maryland to the northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, Kentucky to the west, and West Virginia to the northwest. The state capital is…. History at your fingertips.
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