Esmeralda County was one of the first counties in Nevada when it was founded in 1861. The country was named after Esmeralda the gypsy dancer from the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by James Manning Cory, a California Miner from San Jose. The original jurisdiction was in the Nevada Territory south of the 39th parallel and Easy of Mason Valley. The territory was nearly cut in half with the foundation of Nye County in February 1864.
The original county seat Aurora, Nevada was maintained from 1861 to 1883. Hawthorne, Nevada held the honor from 1883 to 1907. The seat is currently held by Goldfield, Nevada. Esmeralda county contains 3,589 square miles and 783 people as of the 2010 census.