Henrico County

Henrico County, highlighted in map of Virginia

Henrico, one of the oldest counties in the state, is named after a Prince of Wales who never became king of England.

James I was on the throne when the Susan Constant, GodSpeed, and Discovery sighted land on April 6, 1607. The ships sailed into the Chesapeake Bay between two points of land, which were quickly named Cape Henry and Cape Charles after the two sons of King James I. (James and his daughter Elizabeth got rivers named after them, but the queen was left out...)

Sir Thomas Dale started a new settlement called "The City of Henricus" in 1611 upstream of Jamestown in a bend of the James River that could be defended easily. In 1614 four "Incorporations" were defined for the new colony and Henry was honored, as was Charles, by having one of these named after him. (Henry had died in 1612, so when the Incorporations were first named it was understood that the younger brother Charles would become the next king. It was not known at the time that he would have his head cut off in a civil war, however...)

When the first eight Virginia counties were created in 1634, the name Henrico was continued. The name Henry was not a good luck charm, however.


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