In 1963, the remaining portions of Norfolk County were consolidated with the much smaller City of South Norfolk to form the new City of Chesapeake, a name selected by voters. Although organized as a city, and one of the larger in Virginia, the City of Chesapeake has both busy suburban and industrial areas and mostly rural sections, including a large portion of the Great Dismal Swamp and large tracts of preserved forest land.
Captain Adam Thoroughgood (1604-1640) is credited with naming Norfolk County. Thoroughgood was a prominent resident of the colony. Like so many others at that time, he had been born in England and migrated to Virginia. He named the new county after his original "home" county across the Atlantic Ocean.
After 1691, Norfolk County remained more or less intact for over 200 years. Portsmouth became the county seat and a major area of commerce, along with Norfolk. Smaller towns were formed at Berkley and South Norfolk. Portsmouth became an independent city in 1858, but remained the county seat of Norfolk County even though it was administratively separate from the county, a situation not uncommon in Virginia.
In 1871 and 1919 respectively, Norfolk and South Norfolk also became independent cities and as such, were no longer in Norfolk County. In the following years, the county lost additional territory. The incorporated town of Berkley as well as the areas of Sewell's Point, Willoughby Spit, and Ocean View were lost to the City of Norfolk in multiple annexations. By 1960, the entire area of Norfolk County on the east side of the Elizabeth River north of Virginia Beach Boulevard was gone. On other sides, West Norfolk (Churchland) was lost to Portsmouth, and even South Norfolk had annexed a portion of the county.
A strategy successfully used about 10 years earlier by Elizabeth City County, the Town of Phoebus, and the City of Hampton offered a solution. In 1963, after a referendum of South Norfolk and Norfolk County's voters and the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, South Norfolk and almost all of Norfolk County were joined by consolidation and reorganized as the new City of Chesapeake. The new name was chosen by the voters.