Southampton County, Virginia

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Southampton County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. As of the 2000 census, the population was 17,482. Its county seat is Courtland[1].



During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. In 1634, the English colony of Virginia was divided into eight shires (or counties) with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Most of Southampton County was originally part of Warrosquyoake Shire. The shires were soon to be called counties. Warrosquyoake Shire was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637.

In 1749, the portion of Isle of Wight County west of the Blackwater River became Southampton County. Later, part of Nansemond County, which is now the Independent City of Suffolk, was added to Southampton County.

In August 1831, enslaved Nat Turner led a slave rebellion of Black slaves in Southampton County against local Whites. When the rebellion was crushed, Turner and other Blacks were executed.

Southampton County may have been named for Southampton, a major city in England, or for Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, one of the founders of the Virginia Company and a supporter of colonization in North America.

Notable residents

  • Pearl Bailey (1918-1990), American singer and actress, was born in Southampton County.

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