Charles "Cittie" was one of the first "incorporations" created by the Virginia Company of London in 1619. It became one of the original shires in 1634 after the Virginia Company lost its charter. Charles City is located in the Richmond - Petersburg area with its southern border on the James River.
The original central city of the county was Charles City Point, located south of the James River at the confluence of the Appomattox River. This location was later included in Prince George County and in modern times annexed by the independent city of Hopewell.
The first Charles City County courthouse was located on the north banks of the James River at Westover. The area of Charles City County south of the James River was severed to form Prince George in 1702, the new county's border stretching from the south side of the James River down to the North Carolina line. North of the river remained Charles City County.
Adjacent counties today are: New Kent County, James City County, Surry County, Prince George County, Chesterfield County and Henrico County.