NCHS Roots

Tracing Chesapeake's Roots

1606 - On 10 April 1606, King James authorized the creation of two companies to settle Virginia (defined as the land between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude - from the Cape Fear River in North Carolina to Passamaquoddy Bay in Maine).  The London Company would settle the southern region and the Plymouth Company, the northern region.

1607 - On 13 May 1607, representatives of the London Company and their band of settlers began a settlement on the river they named James at a place they called Jamestown.

1618 - On 11 November 1618, the number of settlements and settlers in the regions along Chesapeake Bay and the James River having increased, the Council in London ordered that the colony be divided into four "corporations" for the purpose of local administration with each to be a parish of the Church; Sir George Yeardley was appointed governor and the county-parish system of government began.; A bicameral legislative assembly was established with representatives from each of the corporations.; The corporation of Elizabeth City included the area that later became the counties of Elizabeth City, Warwick, Isle of Wight, Southhampton, Nansemond, Norfolk and Princess Anne and the cities that were carved from them.

1634 - Elizabeth City County was created from part of the corporation of Elizabeth City.

1636 - The County of New Norfolk (area south of the James River and Hampton Roads) was partitioned from Elizabeth City County.

1637 - The county of New Norfolk was subdivided into Upper Norfolk County (formerly Nansemond County, now the City of Suffolk) and Lower Norfolk County.

1691 - Lower Norfolk County was divided into Norfolk County and Princess Anne County.

1705 - Norfolk was established as a town and port.

1736 - The borough of Norfolk was established.

1752 - Portsmouth became a town.

1845 - The city of Norfolk was partitioned from Norfolk County.

1858 - The city of Portsmouth was partitioned from Norfolk County.

1919 - South Norfolk was partitioned from Norfolk County as a second-class city.

1953 - South Norfolk became a first-class city.

1963 - The remaining part of Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk merged to become the City of Chesapeake.

Information compiled for the Norfolk County Historical Society of Chesapeake, Virginia by Elizabeth Baum Hanbury.

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