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.
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.
|County||Date Formed||Parent County||County Seat||Notes|
|Albemarle County||16 Oct 1744||Goochland and Louisa Counties||Charlottesville|
|Alleghany County||05 Jan 1822||Bath, Botetourt and Monroe Counties||Covington|
|Amelia County||30 Sep 1734||Brunswick and Prince George Counties||Amelia Court House|
|Amherst County||07 Apr 1761||Albemarle County||Amherst|
|Appomattox County||08 Feb 1845||Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte and Prince Edward Counties||Appomattox|
|Arlington County||13 Mar 1847||renamed from Alexandria County||Arlington|
|Augusta County||15 Dec 1738||Orange County||Staunton|
|Bath County||14 Dec 1790||Augusta, Botetourt and Greenbrier Counties||Warm Springs|
|Bedford County||13 Dec 1753||Albemarle and Lunenburg Counties||Bedford|
|Bland County||30 Mar 1861||Giles, Tazewell and Wythe Counties||Bland|
|Botetourt County||28 Nov 1769||Augusta and Rockbridge Counties||Fincastle|
|Brunswick County||17 Dec 1720||Prince Geore, Surry and isle of Wight Counties||Lawrenceville|
|Buchanan County||16 Feb 1858||Russell and Tazewell Counties||Grundy|
|Buckingham County||07 Apr 1758||Albermarle and Appomattox Counties||Buckingham|
|Campbell County||15 Dec 1781||Bedford County||Rustburg|
|Caroline County||15 Mar 1727||Essex, King and Queen and King William Counties||Bowling Green|
|Carroll County||17 Jan 1842||Grayson and Patrick Counties||Hillsville|
|Charles City County||16 Apr 1634||Colonial lands||Charles City|
|Charlotte County||27 Nov 1764||Lunenburg County||Charlotte Court House|
|Chesterfield County||01 May 1749||Henrico County||Chesterfield|
|Clarke County||08 Mar 1836||Frederick County||Berryville|
|Craig County||21 Mar 1851||Alleghany, Botetourt, Giles, Montgomery, Monroe and Roanoke Counties||New Castle|
|Culpeper County||23 Mar 1748||Orange County||Culpeper|
|Cumberland County||23 Mar 1748||Goochland and Buckingham Counties||Cumberland|
|Dickenson County||27 Feb 1880||Buchanan and Russell, Wise Counties||Clintwood|
|Dinwiddie County||09 Mar 1752||Prince George County||Dinwiddie|
|Essex County||26 Apr 1694||old Rappahannock County||Tappahannock|
|Fairfax County||24 May 1742||Prince William and Loudoun Counties||Fairfax|
|Fauquier County||05 Apr 1758||Prince William County||Warrenton|
|Floyd County||15 Jan 1831||Montgomery and Franklin Counties||Floyd|
|Fluvanna County||03 Jun 1777||Albemarle County||Palmyra|
|Franklin County||29 Nov 1785||Bedford, Henry and Patrick Counties||Rocky Mount|
|Frederick County||15 Dec 1738||Orange and Augusta Counties||Winchester|
|Giles County||16 Jan 1806||Montgomery, Monroe, Mercer, Tazewell, Craig and Wythe Counties||Pearisburg|
|Gloucester County||1651||York County||Gloucester|
|Goochland County||06 Mar 1727||Henrico County||Goochland|
|Grayson County||07 Nov 1792||Patrick and Wythe Counties||Independence|
|Greene County||24 Jan 1838||Orange County||Stanardsville|
|Greensville County||28 Nov 1780||Brunswick and Sussex Counties||Emporia|
|Halifax County||17 Apr 1752||Lunenburg County||Halifax|
|Hanover County||20 Nov 1720||New Kent County||Hanover|
|Henrico County||1634||Colonial lands||Richmond|
|Henry County||23 Oct 1776||Patrick and Pittsylvania Counties||Martinsville|
|Highland County||19 Mar 1847||Bath and Pendleton Counties||Monterey|
|Isle of Wight County||1634||Warrosquoyoake County||Isle of Wight|
|James City County||1634||Colonial lands||Williamsburg|
|King and Queen County||12 May 1691||Richmond and Westmoreland Counties||King William|
|King George County||24 Nov 1720||New Kent County||King George|
|King William County||12 Sep 1701||King and Queen County||King & Queen Court House|
|Lancaster County||1651||York and Northumberland Counties||Lancaster|
|Lee County||25 Oct 1792||Russell and Scott Counties||Jonesville|
|Loudoun County||17 May 1757||Fairfax County||Leesburg|
|Louisa County||02 Jun 1742||Hanover County||Louisa|
|Lunenburg County||01 Apr 1746||Brunswick County||Lunenburg|
|Madison County||05 Dec 1792||Culpeper County||Madison|
|Mathews County||16 Dec 1790||Gloucester County||Mathews|
|Mecklenburg County||27 Nov 1764||Lunenburg County||Boydton|
|Middlesex County||1673||Lancaster County||Saluda|
|Montgomery County||07 Dec 1776||Fincastle, Botetourt and Pulaski Counties||Christiansburg|
|Nelson County||23 Dec 1807||Amherst County||Lovingston|
|New Kent County||16 Apr 1654||York and James City Counties||New Kent|
|Northampton County||16 Apr 1634||Colonial lands||Eastville|
|Northumberland County||1648||York County||Heathsville|
|Nottoway County||23 Dec 1788||Amelia County||Nottoway|
|Orange County||20 Sep 1734||Spotsylvania County||Orange|
|Page County||30 Mar 1831||Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties||Luray|
|Patrick County||26 Nov 1790||Henry County||Stuart|
|Pittsylvania County||15 Dec 1766||Halifax County||Chatham|
|Powhatan County||03 Jun 1777||Cumberland and Chesterfield Counties||Powhatan|
|Prince Edward County||17 Nov 1753||Amelia County||Farmville|
|Prince George County||25 Aug 1702||Charles City County||Prince George|
|Prince William County||17 Jun 1730||King George and Stafford Counties||Manassas|
|Pulaski County||30 Mar 1839||Montgomery and Wythe Counties||Pulaski|
|Rappahannock County||18 Feb 1833||Culpepper County||Washington|
|Richmond County||26 Apr 1692||old Rappahannock County||Warsaw|
|Roanoke County||30 Mar 1838||Botetourt and Montgomery Counties||Salem|
|Rockbridge County||12 Jan 1778||Augusta and Botetourt Counties||Lexington|
|Rockingham County||12 Jan 1778||Augusta County||Harrisonburg|
|Russell County||06 Jan 1786||Washington County||Lebanon|
|Scott County||24 Nov 1814||Lee, Russell and Washington Counties||Gate City|
|Shenandoah County||12 Jan 1778||renamed from Dunmore||Woodstock|
|Smyth County||23 Feb 1832||Washington and Wythe Counties||Marion|
|Southampton County||20 Apr 1749||Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties||Courtland|
|Spotsylvania County||17 Dec 1720||Essex, King and Queen and King William Counties||Spotsylvania|
|Stafford County||1664||Westmoreland County||Stafford|
|Surry County||16 Feb 1652||James City County||Surry|
|Sussex County||28 Nov 1753||Surry County||Sussex|
|Tazewell County||20 Dec 1799||Russell and Wythe Counties||Tazewell|
|Warren County||09 Mar 1836||Frederick and Shenandoah Counties||Front Royal|
|Washington County||07 Dec 1776||Fincastle and Montgomery Counties||Abingdon|
|Westmoreland County||1653||Numberland and King George Counties||Montross|
|Wise County||16 Feb 1856||Lee, Russell and Scott Counties||Wise|
|Wythe County||01 Dec 1789||Montgomery and Grayson Counties||Wytheville|
|York County||1634||Colonial lands||Yorktown|
|Accawmack County (Extinct)||1634|
|Accomack (Old) (Extinct)||21 Jun 1904|
|Charles River County (Extinct)|
|Dunmore County (Extinct)||24 Mar 1772|
|Elizabeth River Shire (Extinct)|
|Fincastle County (Extinct)||08 Apr 1772|
|Kentucky County (Extinct)||31 Dec 1776||Fincastle County||Harrodstown (aka Oldtown)||Jun 30, 1780|
|Lower Norfolk County (Extinct)||1637|
|Nansemond County (Extinct)||1637|
|New Norfolk County (Extinct)||1636|
|New Norfolk County (Extinct)|
|Norfolk County (Extinct)||21 Jun 1904|
|Old Rappahannock County (Extinct)||1634|
|Princess Anne County (Extinct)||16 May 1691|
|Upper Norfolk County (Extinct)||16 Jul 1637|
|Warrosquyoake County (Extinct)||1634|
|Warwick County (Extinct)||1642|
|Warwick River County (Extinct)||1634|
|Yohogania County (Extinct)||06 Nov 1776|
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
- 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.
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,
Counties by Year
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: