Norfolk (/nrfk/ NOR-fuuk, locally /nfk/ NOF-uuk) is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2015, the population was estimated to be 247,189 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.
The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point. The largest Navy base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, is located in Norfolk along with one of NATO's two Strategic Command headquarters. The city also has the corporate headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railway, one of North America's principal Class I railroads, and Maersk Line, Limited, which manages the world's largest fleet of US-flag vessels. As the city is bordered by multiple bodies of water, Norfolk has many miles of riverfront and bayfront property, including beaches on the Chesapeake Bay. It is linked to its neighbors by an extensive network of Interstate highways, bridges, tunnels, and three bridge-tunnel complexes, which are the only bridge-tunnels in the United States.
In 1619 the Governor of the Virginia Colony, Sir George Yeardley, incorporated four jurisdictions, termed citties, 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 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, Adam Thoroughgood (who had immigrated to Virginia in 1622 from King's Lynn, Norfolk, England) was granted a large land holding, through the head rights system, along the Lynnhaven River in 1636.
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