Established December 23, 1833, Attala County was one of sixteen counties to originate from the Choctaw cession of 1830. Attala county is named for Attala, a fictional Native American heroine from an early-19th-century novel by François-René de Chateaubriand. The original boundaries of 1833, which haven't changed, are:
"Beginning at the northeast corner of Leake County, and running thence west with the line between townships, 12 and 13, to the line between ranges five and six east; thence south with said line between ranges five and six to the center of township 12, of range 5 east; thence directly west to the Big Black River; thence up said river to the point at which the line between 16 and 17 crosses said river; thence east with the line between nine and ten east; thence south to the place of beginning."
The Choctaw boundary line of 1820 (treaty of Doak’s Stand) runs through the extreme southwestern corner of the county. Kosciusko is the largest town and the county seat of Attala County. Cities and Towns include Ethel, Kosciusko, McCool, Sallis, McAdams, and Zama.
The Attala County Court House has burned on three occasions. The first, on 28 July 1858, was the most devastating. All records were destroyed. For this reason, no records exist prior to August 1858. The second fire was in July 1860 but no records were lost. The third fire occurred on 26 July 1896 and some records were lost including the county marriage records.
The county has a total area of 737.10 square miles, the smallest county in Mississippi, of which 735.13 square miles is land and 1.97 square mile (0.27%) is water. The population recorded in the 1840 Federal Census was 4,303. The 2010 census recorded 19,564 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Montgomery County (north), Choctaw County (northeast), Winston County (east), Leake County (south), Madison County (southwest), Holmes County (west), and Carroll County (northwest). Communities in the county include Kosciusko, Ethel, McCool, Sallis, McAdams, Williamsville, Zama.