colonists expanded from Jamestown and settled along the Nansemond River, displacing the Native Americans
Source: Library of Congress, The lower parish of Nansemond County, Va. with adjoining portions of Norfolk County
Nansemond apparently meant fishing point (a place of land or peninsula on which the fishing was good) to the Native Americans who lived in the region when the English arrived.
In 1637, the House of Burgesses divided New Norfolk County and created Upper Norfolk County and a separate Lower Norfolk County.
The House of Burgesses renamed Upper Norfolk County as Nansemond County nine years later, in 1646. It remained Nansemond County until 1972, when the county became the City of Nansemond. It merged into the City of Suffolk in 1974, reuniting the county and the county seat into one governmental unit for the first time since the City of Suffolk had become an independent political unit in 1910.