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History and Facts of Virginia Counties

Virginia Counties – From 1619 to 1775/1776, the colonial legislature of Virginia was the House of Burgesses, which governed in conjunction with a colonial governor. Jamestown on the James River remained the capital of the Virginia colony until 1699; from 1699 until its dissolution the capital was in Williamsburg.

The eight original shires were: Accawmack, Charles City, Charles River, Elizabeth City, Henrico, James City, Warrosquyoake, and Warwick River.

After declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1775, before the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, the Virginia colony became the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the original thirteen states of the United States.

The entire modern states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, and portions of Ohio and Western Pennsylvania were later created from the territory encompassed, or claimed by, the colony of Virginia at the time of further American independence in July 1776.

The State of Virginia was created as the 10th state on June 25, 1788. States bordering Virginia are KentuckyMarylandNorth CarolinaTennesseeWest Virginia and Washington, District of Columbia.

Virginia contains 95 counties and 39 independent cities. In 1617 the first Virginia counties were formed. They were Henrico and James City Counties. The last county to be formed was Dickenson County in 1880.

List of Virginia Counties

Virginia is divided into 95 counties and 39 independent cities.

List of Old Former / Extinct Virginia Counties

Virginia has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.

At least thirty-two counties that were established by Virginia law no longer exist. These defunct counties were either (1) Judicial counties, (2) Counties established by declaration of the Constitutional Convention of 1868-69, (3) Counties established by legislative act but never organized and later abolished by legislative act (4) Counties established outside the present boundaries of Virginia or (5) Counties whose names have been changed.

The below Virginia counties no longer exist:

?? County, Virginia

Created ? from ?. It was abolished ? and re-established as ? County on ?.

  • Accawmack County was established in 1634 as a Original Shire. It was renamed to Northampton County in 1642
  • Charles River County was established in 1634 as an Original Shire. It was renamed to York County in 1642
  • Dunmore County was established in 1772 from Frederick County. It was renamed to Shenandoah County in 1778
  • Elizabeth River Shire was established in 1634 as an Original Shire. It was renamed to Elizabeth City County about 1636. In merged into the Independent City of Hampton in 1952.
  • Fincastle County was established in 1772 from Botetourt County. It ceased to exist in 1776 when it was divided to form Montgomery County, Washington County, and Kentucky County (now the state of Kentucky). Some Fincastle County genealogy records may be found in the Montgomery County.
  • Kentucky County was established in 1777 from Fincastle County. It was abolished when it formed the State of Kentucky in 1780.
  • Lower Norfolk County was established in 1637 from New Norfolk County. It was abolished in 1691. Records can be found in the City of Chesapeake
  • Nansemond County was established in 1642 from Upper Norfolk County. It was Incorporated as the City of Nansemond in 1972 and merged with the City of Suffolk in 1974.
  • New Norfolk County was established in 1636 from Elizabeth City County. It was abolished in 1637 and divided into Lower Norfolk and Upper Norfolk Counties.
  • Norfolk County was established in 1691 from Lower Norfolk County. It merged into the Independent City of Chesapeake in 1963.
  • Princess Anne County was established in from Lower Norfolk County. It merged into the Independent City of Virginia Beach in 1963.
  • Old Rappahannock County was established in 1656 from Lancaster County. It ceased to exist in 1692 when divided to form Essex County and Richmond County. Records located in Essex County.
  • Upper Norfolk County was established in 1637 from New Norfolk County. It was renamed to Nansemond County in 1646.
  • Warrosquyoake County was established in 1634 as an Original Shire. It was renamed to Isle of Wight County in 1637.
  • Warwick River County was established in 1634 as an Original Shire. It was renamed to Warwick County in 1643.
  • Warwick County was established in 1643 from Warwick River County. It was abolished in 1952 when it became Indepentent City of Warwick. In 1958 the City of Warwick merged into the Indepentent City of Newport News.
  • Yohogania County was established in 1776 from West Augusta territory. The County was ceded to Pennsylvania in 1785.
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Map of Virginia County Boundary Changes from 1617 to 1995

This Interactive Map of Virginia Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Virginia from 1617-1995.

Fun Facts about Virginia Counties

County Name Facts

The County names:

  • 0 of them named for Native American words or people,
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Counties by Year

In 1617 the first Virginia counties were formed. They were Henrico and James City Counties. The last county to be formed was Dickenson County in 1880.

  • ? County was the first county created on ?.
  •  The last county to be formed was ? County on ?.
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Facts for County Size

  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in Virginia.
  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in Virginia.

Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)

  • ? County (000) is the most populated county in Virginia.
  • ? County (000) is the least populated county in Virginia.

Facts for Virginia Counties and Cities

Virginia’s 10 largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Birmingham (000) is in ? County and ? Counties
  2. Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond, Newport News,  Alexandria , Hampton, Roanoke , Portsmouth  and Suffolk