Gloucester County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 36,858. Its county seat is Gloucester Courthouse. The county was founded in 1651 in the Virginia Colony and is named for Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester.
Gloucester County is included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located at the east end of the lower part of the Middle Peninsula, it is bordered on the south by the York River and the lower Chesapeake Bayon the east. The waterways shaped its development. Gloucester County is about 75 miles (121 km) east of Virginia’s capital, Richmond.
Werowocomoco, capital of the large and powerful Native American Powhatan Confederacy , was located on this part of the peninsula. In 2003 archeologists established that dense village had been located at this site from 1200CE to the early 17th century.
The county was developed by colonists primarily for tobacco plantations, based on the labor of enslaved Africans imported in the slave trade. Tobacco was one of the first commodity crops but fishing also developed as an important industry. The county was home to numerous planters who were among the First Families of Virginia and leaders before the American Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson wrote early works for Virginia and colonial independence while staying at Rosewell Plantation, home of John Page.
Gloucester County is rich in farmland. Its fishing industry is important to the state as well. It has a retail center located around the main street area of the county seat. Gloucester County and adjacent York County are linked by the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, a toll facility across the York River carrying U.S. Route 17 to the Virginia Peninsula area. Gloucester County is self-nicknamed the “Daffodil Capital of the World”; it hosts an annual daffodil festival, parade and flower show.