Elizabeth City County

One of the first eight counties in the state is "missing in action." Elizabeth City County was created in 1634 and disappeared in 1952, when the county was merged into the city of Hampton.

The county was named after the daughter of James I, Elizabeth. Her marriage to the head of the German Protestant, Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate, was arranged by her father as part of the never-ending jockeying for power in Europe.

James I also tried to marry his son Charles to the daughter of the Catholic king of Spain, thus appeasing both Catholics and Protestants in England, but the King of Spain rejected the offer. The religious tensions in England were not reduced by these political maneuvers.

Frederick was defeated by a Catholic army within one year after marrying Elizabeth. He tried to accept the crown to Bohemia as well as serve as Elector of Palatinate, but his enemies united against him and Elizbeth was queen for just one winter.

Elizabeth City was originally named Kikotan (also spelled Kecoughtan and Kikowtan), presumably a word for the natives who were living there when the English arrived in 1607. These natives were recent immigrants themselves, occupying that part of the peninsula after Powhatan had defeated and expelled the previous occupants.

Sir Thomas Gates worried about safety (including potential attack by the Spaniards and the Dutch) and coveted the corn fields of the Native Americans after the "starving time" of the 1609-10 winter. The English seized the native's land while the men were out hunting, and for some reason the natives never attacked the settlement in response.

"Missing" Counties of Virginia

How Counties Got Started in Virginia

Elizabeth City County existed between 1634-1952 on the tip of the Peninsla at Hampton Roads
Elizabeth City County existed between 1634-1952 on the tip of the Peninsla at Hampton Roads
Source: Ray Sterner, Rand-McNally's 1895 Atlas


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