Banffshire was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided for administrative purposes. It was a long narrow county which stretched from the area around Tomintoul in the Cairngorms to Banff and Macduff on the Moray Firth. It was bordered on its north-west by the County of Moray and on its south-east by Aberdeenshire, while to the west it also bordered Inverness-shire.
Traditionally, Banffshire also had two stray exclaves in Aberdeenshire, the most significant being the parish of St Fergus, north of Peterhead. The reorganisation of counties in 1890 tidied up the map of Scotland in a number of areas, and Banffshire's exclaves were lost to Aberdeenshire.
The 1975 reorganisation removed the traditional counties from the map, replacing them with a two-tier structure of 12 Regions, many of which were subdivided into districts. Banffshire became part of Grampian Region. Much of its area, including Buckie, Cullen, Dufftown, Findochty, Keith and Tomintoul was joined to the old County of Moray to form the new Moray District. Meanwhile, the north-eastern chunk of Banffshire, including Banff, Macduff, Aberchirder and Portsoy became part of the district of Banff and Buchan.
When the regions and districts were replaced by unitary council areas in 1996, those parts of Banffshire which had gone to Banff and Buchan ended up in Aberdeenshire, while those parts which had gone to Moray District ended up in Moray.