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Dunmore secured small victories at Norfolk but was forced into exile by the American rebels, commanded by Colonel Woodford.

His departure brought an end to more than 168 years of British colonial rule in Virginia.

The invention of the cotton gin in the late-eighteenth century had enabled the profitable cultivation of short-staple cotton in the uplands, which was widely used.

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.

Many moved west into the Piedmont, or further into Kentucky and Tennessee.

Such migration also followed the exhaustion of soil due to tobacco cultivation in the Tidewater, where it had been the primary commodity crop for generations.

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.

When the South Hampton Roads portion of the shire was separated, Thoroughgood suggested the name of his birthplace for the newly formed New Norfolk County.

In 1804, another serious fire along the city's waterfront destroyed some 300 buildings and the city suffered a serious economic setback.

During the 1820s, agrarian communities across the American South suffered a prolonged recession, which caused many families to migrate to other areas.

In part because of its merchants' numerous trading ties with other parts of the British Empire, Norfolk served as a strong base of Loyalist support during the early part of the American Revolution.

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