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Massachusetts Counties
Massachusetts County map
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Massachusetts Counties

Massachusetts consists of the fourteen counties. Massachusetts has abolished seven of its fourteen county governments, leaving five Counties with county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) and two, Nantucket County and Suffolk County, with combined county/city government. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County.

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Massachusetts Counties: History and Information

Find a brief history of Massachusetts CountiesBrief history of Massachusetts Counties: Flags of Our Nation

This is a list of Massachusetts counties, consisting of the 14 Massachusetts counties. Massachusetts has abolished seven of its fourteen county governments, leaving five counties with county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) and two, Nantucket County and Suffolk County, with combined county/city government. Vestigial judicial and law enforcement districts still follow the old county boundaries in the counties where county-level government has been disestablished, and the counties are still generally recognized as geographic entities if not political ones.

Eleven other historical counties have existed in Massachusetts, most becoming defunct when their lands were absorbed into the colony of New Hampshire or the state of Maine, both of which were created out of territory originally claimed by Massachusetts colonists. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County. When these counties were created, they were a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would remain separate from the Plymouth Colony and that colony's counties until 1691. Hampden County, created in 1812, is the most recently created county still in Massachusetts, although Penobscot County, Maine bore that distinction until Maine broke off from Massachusetts in 1820. The majority of Massachusetts counties are named in honor of English place names, reflecting Massachusetts' colonial heritage

Find a brief history of Massachusetts Counties
County 2000
Population
Square
Miles
County Seat Created
Barnstable County 222,230 396 Barnstable 1685
Bristol County 534,678 556 Taunton 1685
Dukes County 14,987 104 Edgartown 1695
Nantucket County 9,520 48 Nantucket 1695
Norfolk County 650,308 400 Dedham 1793
Plymouth County 472,822 661 Plymouth 1685
Suffolk County 689,807 58 Boston 1643
County Without
 Government Structure
2000
Population
Square
Miles
County Seat Created
Berkshire County 134,953 931 Pittsfield 1760
Essex County 723,419 498 1643
Franklin County 71,535 702 Greenfield 1811
Hampden County 456,228 618 1812
Hampshire County 152,251 529 Northampton 1662
Middlesex County 1,465,396 824 Cambridge 1643
Worcester County 750,963 1,513 1731
County Resources
US Counties
Names given the counties, our most locally based jurisdictions, reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"
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