Dumfriesshire, also known as the County of Dumfries, was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided for administrative purposes. It lay at the heart of southern Scotland and shared a length of border with England as well as having a coastline along the north shore of the Solway Firth.
Dumfriesshire was bordered to the west by Kirkcudbrightshire and Ayrshire; to the north by Lanarkshire; to the north-east by Peeblesshire, Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire; and to the south-east by England. The main settlements were Annan, Dumfries, Langholm, Lockerbie and Moffat. The county town was Dumfries. A tidying up of the map of counties which reduced their number to 33 in 1890 had no effect on Dumfriesshire, which as a result remained a county in its own right until reorganisation in 1975 swept all the counties away in favour of 12 regions.
The regions formed in 1975 were the upper tier of a two tier local authority system, and the area which had formed Dumfriesshire became part of the region of Dumfries & Galloway. Most regions were divided into a number of district council areas, and Dumfries & Galloway had four of them.
The area that had formed Dumfriesshire was divided by two new district council areas, Annandale & Eskdale in the eastern part of the old county, and Nithsdale in the western part of the old county. Nithsdale also inherited parts of the traditional county of Kirkcudbrightshire, and as a result extended further west than Dumfriesshire had done.
Regions and districts disappeared from the scene in a major reorganisation in 1996, being replaced by 32 unitary council areas. What had started out as the traditional county of Dumfriesshire is today the eastern part of the unitary council area of Dumfries & Galloway. For administrative purposes, Dumfries & Galloway continues to be divided into four management areas based on the former districts. As a result, the area of Dumfriesshire now lies within the Annandale & Eskdale and Nithsdale management areas.