Why is it called Norfolk?

When Adam Thoroughgood hopped off the boat in 1622, he must have been very confused.

He had just left Norfolk, England, which looks like this:

And landed in what is today Virginia Beach, which looks like this:

Actually, I lied.  The second picture is Norfolk, UK too.  But you believed me, didn’t you?

My point is, the Norfolk he left behind looked an awful lot like the place he had just adopted. So it makes perfect sense that when Elizabeth City County was subdivided in 1634, he suggested the new smaller county be called New Norfolk.  And when Norfolk County eventually became the city of Norfolk, well, here we are.

It’s one of history’s little ironies that Virginia Beach’s favorite founding father selected the name for one of its traditional rivals.

 


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