Beaufort was first called Pamptecough, the name being changed about 1712. It was named for Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort, who in 1709 became one of the Lords Proprietors. It is in the eastern section of the State and is bounded by Craven, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Pitt, and Washington counties. The present land area is 827.49 square miles and the 1990 population was 42,283. Bath, incorporated in 1705, was the first county seat. Washington was made the county seat in 1785.

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