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Princess Anne County (1691-1963), now extinct, from 1895 Virginia map

Princess Anne County is an extinct county which was located in the British Colony of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States from 1691 until 1963. Most of the former county is now located within the limits of the independent city of Virginia Beach.

Shires, Counties[edit | edit source]

When Admiral Christopher Newport and the colonists of the Virginia Company arrived in 1607, George Percy and his fellow Englishmen's 'first landing was at Cape Henry in what was to become Princess Anne County. They named the spot in honor of Henry Frederick, the eldest son of King James I of England. A few days later, they travelled up the James River and established the Jamestown Settlement. During the early 17th century, English settlers and explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. By 1610, the English colonists had established a permanent settlement in the Kecoughtan area of what was to become Elizabeth Cittie (sic) in 1619. Today a part of Hampton, it is the oldest known continuously occupied English settlement in North America.

Adam Thoroughgood was an early leader in the area which became Princess Anne County, settling along the Lynnhaven River. In 1634, the King of England directed the formation of eight shires (or counties) in the colony of Virginia. One of these was Elizabeth City Shire, which included land area on both sides of Hampton Roads.

New Norfolk County was formed in 1636 from Elizabeth City Shire. New Norfolk County included all the area in South Hampton Roads now incorporated in the five independent cities located there in modern times.

The following year, in 1637, it was divided into Upper Norfolk County and Lower Norfolk County. In 1691, Lower Norfolk County was in turn subdivided to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County, which contained the area of Lynnhaven Parrish.

Princess Anne County was named for the heir to the English throne, who later became Queen Anne.

Communities in Princess Anne County[edit | edit source]

The various communities in Princess Anne County included:

Princess Anne County (1691-1963), now extinct, from 1895 Virginia map

Virginia Beach resort: becomes town in 1908, city in 1952[edit | edit source]

Beginning in the late 19th century, the small resort area of Virginia Beach along the Atlantic Ocean at the north eastern portion of the county's vast expanse of shoreline grew, particularly after 1888 with the arrival of rail service and electricity. It was incorporated as a town in 1906 and became an independent city from Princess Anne County in 1952.

However, in the mid 20th century, the western borders of Princess Anne County lost territory to annexation suits by the City of Norfolk which adjoined it after annexing all of the northern portion of Norfolk County. A merger with the tiny City of Virginia Beach became seen as a way to prevent the independent City of Norfolk from annexing more (or potentially all) of Princess Anne County.

1963: consolidation with City of Virginia Beach[edit | edit source]

In 1963, after approval of the voters of both the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the two political subdivisions were consolidated as a new, much larger independent city, retaining the better-known name of Virginia Beach. About the same time, at similar risk of annexations from Norfolk, the remaining portion of Norfolk County took similar action, consolidating with the small independent City of South Norfolk. The independent city that resulted from the merger, the City of Chesapeake, became Virginia Beach's new neighbor to the southwest.

Most of the area formerly in Princess Anne County when it was formed in 1691 is now located within the independent city of Virginia Beach. The only exceptions are some territory of the northwestern portion which became part of the City of Norfolk through annexation and a land swap agreement between the two cities in 1988.

For more details on this topic, see Virginia Beach, Virginia.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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