Elizabeth City County was a county in eastern Virginia which is now extinct. Originally created in 1634 as Elizabeth River Shire, it was one of eight shires created in the Virginia Colony by order of the King of England. In 1636, it was subdivided, and the portion north of the harbor of Hampton Roads became known as Elizabeth City Shire. It was renamed Elizabeth City County a short time later.
Elizabeth City was originally named Kikotan (also spelled Kecoughtan and Kikowtan), presumably a word for the Native Americans living there when the English arrived in 1607. They were friendly to the English, but Sir Thomas Gates either worried about safety (including potential attack by the Spaniards and the Dutch) or coveted their corn fields after the "starving time" of the 1609-10 winter. The English stole their land while the men were out hunting, and for some reason, the natives never attacked the settlement in response.
The original boundaries of Elizabeth City County in the mid 17th century essentially form those of current city of Hampton today, with the exception of a small area annexed by the City of Newport News in 1927.
Since the English settlers occupied the former Indian village of Kecoughtan in 1610, and the town at Jamestown was eventually abandoned, the city of Hampton now claims to be the oldest continuously-settled English city in North America.
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