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Virginia Counties
Virginia County map
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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

Essex County, Virginia

Essex County Education, Geography, and History

Essex County, Virginia Courthouse

Essex County is a county located in the Middle Peninsula in the state of Virginia; the peninsula is bordered by the Rappahannock River on the north and the York River on the south. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 11,151. Essex County was established in 1692 from the old Rappahannock County, Virginia (not to be confused with the present-day Rappahannock County, Virginia). Its county seat is Tappahannock The county is named for either the shire or county in England, or for the Earl of Essex.

Etymology - Origin of Essex County Name

The county is named for either the shire or county in England, or for the Earl of Essex.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Essex County History

Essex County, Virginia formed from (Old) Rapphannock County (extinguished). [Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation, by Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, originally published as Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9, January, April, July 1916, reprinted 1992 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.]

Essex County was named for the English county. It was formed from Old Rappahhannock County in 1692. Its area is 261 square miles, and the county seat is Tappahannock. According to the 2000 census, the population is 9,989. Courthouse also has records from Old Rappahannock County.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 286 square miles (740 km2), of which, 258 square miles (668 km2) of it is land and 28 square miles (73 km2) of it (9.84%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Caroline County, VA to the west
  • King and Queen County, VA to the south
  • King George County, VA to the north
  • Middlesex County, VA to the southeast
  • Richmond County, VA to the east
  • Westmoreland County, VA to the northeast


Essex County Public Schools (ECPS) is the public schools system for Essex County

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