How Prince George County Got its Name.
A Danish County in Virginia
George. What a typically English name, right? Well, his name was actually Jørgen, and he was actually a Dane born in Copenhagen in 1653. A Dane, as in a norseman, or viking. You’ve seen Vikings on the History Channel, right? Prince Jørgen, or George in English, of Denmark lent his monikar to our fair County. In 1702, Prince George County was partitioned from Charles City County, as the distance required by travellers to go to court north of the river became too inconvenient. So, the Virginia assembly established the new county seat in 1703 and named it after Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain. You probably thought Game of Thrones was pure fantasy, right? All that conniving, murdering, those strange alliances and political marriages. Well, in fact, that sort of thing was very commonplace in times gone by. Prince George was wed to Anne of England to strengthen the alliance between Denmark and England. One of Britain’s chief rivals at the time was the great maritime trade power of Holland. Ever heard of William and Mary. Well, William of Orange, husband of Queen Mary and co-ruler of Britain, was of Dutch origin. You can probably guess that William and George didn’t get on too well. After all, the reason Prince George was married into the British royal family and came to England was to offset the power of William’s Dutch homeland. However, that was irrelevant once William & Mary died and George’s wife, Anne, took the throne. Confused yet? I can’t say I blame you. All this marrying, intruige, alliance building and war making will do your head in.
You may be thoroughly confused, but, at least now you know where the name comes from. Prince George County wasn’t named for yet another English guy named George. ”What’s the connection between Prince George County and Denmark?” That makes a good trivia question at your friend’s next BBQ. If you want to learn more about Prince George and the founding of Prince George County, visit the Prince George County Regional Heritage Center. This year, in celebration of the 315th anniversary of Prince George County’s founding, the PG Regional Heritage Center has opened a brand new exhibiton on the life of Prince George of Denmark. The exhibition opens Saturday, July 21st.