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The patriots destroyed the remaining buildings for strategic reasons in February.
Following recovery from the Revolutionary War's burning, Norfolk and her citizens struggled to rebuild.
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 American Colonization Society proposed to "repatriate" free blacks and freed slaves to Africa by establishing the new colony of Liberia and paying for transportation.
On New Year's Day, 1776, Lord Dunmore's fleet of three ships shelled the city of Norfolk for more than eight hours.
The damage from the shells and fires started by the British and spread by the patriots destroyed over 800 buildings, almost two-thirds of the city.
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.
The largest Navy base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, is located in Norfolk along with one of NATO's two Strategic Command headquarters.
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 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.