Northumberland County, Virginia

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Northumberland County is a county located on the Northern Neck in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state in the United States. In 2000, its population was 12,259. Its county seat is Heathsville[1]. The county is located on the Northern Neck peninsula and is part of the Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA winemaking appellation.



The county was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1648 during a period of rapid population growth and geographic expansion. Settlement began in this area of the Northern Neck around 1635. Originally known as the Indian district Chickacoan, the first appearance of the name Northumberland in the colonial records was in 1644. The following year, John Mottrom served as the first burgess for the territory in the House of Burgesses, which met at the capital of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown.

The size of the county was drastically reduced in 1651 and 1653 as Lancaster County and Westmoreland County, respectively, were carved out of it.

Of the 172 counties that have ever existed in Virginia's history, Northumberland ended up being an "ancestor" of 116 of these –– more than the current 95 counties (several having been lost to other states).[2]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 286 square miles (740 km²), of which 192 square miles (498 km²) is land and 93 square miles (242 km²) (32.68%) is water. The county is located between the Rappahannock River and Potomac River.

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