Accomack County is a United States county located in the Eastern edge of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Accomack and Northampton counties comprise the Eastern Shore of Virginia, part of the Delmarva Peninsula, which borders the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The county seat is Accomac.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia was formerly "Accomac Shire", until being renamed Northampton County in 1642. The present Accomack County was created from Northampton County in 1663. Like the original shire, the county was named for the Accawmack Indians, who inhabited the area when the English discovered it in 1603.
As of the 2010 census, the total population was 33,164 people. The population of Accomack has remained relatively stable over the last century, though Accomack is one of the poorest parts of Virginia.
An English expedition landed in the region in 1603, some years before the Jamestown Colony. Captain John Smith visited again in 1608. The native Accawmacke nation numbered around 2000, and were governed by a paramount chief Debedeavon, also known as "The Laughing King". He became a staunch ally to the English, and bestowed them several large land grants within his dwindling territory.
Accomac Shire was established in 1634 as one of the original eight shires of Virginia. The shire's name comes from the Native American word Accawmack, meaning "on the other side". In 1642 the name was changed to Northampton by the English, to eliminate heathen names in the New World. Northampton was split into two counties in 1663. The northern section assumed the original Accomac name, the southern, Northampton. In 1940, the General Assembly officially added a "k" to the end of the county's name to arrive at its current spelling. The name of "Accomack County" first appeared in the Decisions of the United States Board on Geographical Names in 1943.