The Full Wiki

County: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on County

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Contents

A county is a land area of local government within a country. A county may have cities and towns within its area. Originally, in continental Europe, a county (comté, condado, Grafschaft) was the land under the jurisdiction of a count (comte, conde, Graf).

Counts are called earls in post-Celtic Britain, Ireland and France—the term is from Old Norse jarl and was introduced by the Vikings—but there is no correlation between counties and earldoms. Rather, county, from French comté, was simply used by the Normans after 1066 to replace the native English term scir ([ʃir])—Modern English shire.

Many county names derive from was the name of the county town with the word "shire" added on: for example, Gloucester, in Gloucestershire; Worcester, in Worcestershire; etc.[1].

Canada

Six of the ten Canadian provinces use county as a regional subdivision. These include all four original provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, as well as the fifth province, Prince Edward Island, and Alberta. Only portions of Ontario are comprised of counties: other divisions include districts, district municipalities, metropolitan municipalities, and regional municipalities. The same is the situation with Alberta, where out of its 64 subdivision entities, 45 are identified as a county (by the end of 2009), and other divisions include municipal districts, specialized municipalities, special areas, regional municipalities and improvement districts. Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan use census divisions instead of counties, and British Columbia uses Regional Districts.

China

The word "county" is used to translate the Chinese term xiàn (县 or 縣). On Mainland China under the People's Republic of China, counties are the third level of local government, coming under both the province level and the prefecture level.

The number of counties in China proper numbers about 2,000, and has remained more or less constant since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). The county remains one of the oldest levels of government in China and significantly predates the establishment of provinces in the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368). The county government was particularly important in imperial China because this was the lowest layer at which the imperial government functioned. The head of a county during imperial times was the magistrate.

In older context, "prefecture" and "district" are alternative terms to refer to xiàn before the establishment of the Republic of China. The English nomenclature "county" was adopted following the establishment of the ROC.

See also: Political divisions of China

Denmark

Denmark was divided into counties (amter) from 1662 to 2006. On 1 January 2007 the counties were replaced by five Regions. At the same time, the number of municipalities was slashed from 271 to 98.

The counties were first introduced in 1662, replacing the 49 fiefs (len) in Denmark-Norway with the same number of counties. This number does not include the subdivisions of the Duchy of Schleswig, which was only under partial Danish control. The number of counties in Denmark (excluding Norway) had dropped to c. 20 by 1793. Following the reunification of South Jutland with Denmark in 1920, four counties replaced the Prussian Kreise. Aabenraa and Sønderborg County merged in 1932 and Skanderborg and Aarhus were separated in 1942. From 1942 to 1970, the number stayed at 22.[2] The number was further decreased by the 1970 Danish municipal reform, leaving 14 counties plus two cities unconnected to the county structure; Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.

In 2003, Bornholm County merged with the local four municipalities, forming the Bornholm Regional Municipality. The remaining 13 counties were abolished on 1 January 2007 where they were replaced by five new regions. In the same reform, the number of municipalities was slashed from 270 to 98 and all municipalities now belong to a region.

Hungary

The administrative unit of Hungary is called megye, (historically, they were also called comitatus in Latin), which can be translated with the word county. It is the highest level of the administrative subdivisions of the country, although counties are grouped into seven statistical regions. Counties are subdivided to kistérségs, which literally means "little area", though translating this as a commune is more proper. Communes have statistical and organizational functions only, whilst they have their own "capital cities". Presently Hungary is subdivided into 19 "proper" counties, 22 urban counties (cities with the same rights as a whole county) and 1 capital, Budapest.

The comitatus was also the historic administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary, which included areas of present-day neighbouring countries of Hungary.

Although the Latin name (comitatus) is the equivalent of the French comté, historical Hungarian counties have never been sovereign jurisdictions. They were subdivisions of the royal administration and as such, should really be translated as shire. Even the word megye is a shortened form of the original vármegye, where the element vár means castle, thus denoting an area supervised and governed from a royal castle, much like an Anglo-Saxon shire indeed.

Iran

Counties of Iran

The provinces of Iran are further subdivided into counties called shahrestan (Persian: شهرستان shahrestān), an area inside an ostan, and consisting of a city centre, a few bakhsh (Persian: بخش bakhsh), and many villages around them. There are usually a few cities (Persian: شهر shahr) and rural agglomerations (Persian: دهستان dehestān) in each county. Rural agglomerations are a collection of a number of villages. One of the cities of the county is appointed as the capital of the county.

Each shahrestan has a government office known as Farmandari which coordinates different events and government offices. The Farmandar, or the head of Farmandari, is the governor of the Shahrestan.

Fars has the highest number of Shahrestans, with 23, while Semnan and South Khorasan have only 4 Shahrestans each; Qom uniquely has one, being coextensive with its namesake county. Iran had 324 Shahrestans in 2005.

Ireland

The island of Ireland was historically divided into 32 counties, of which 26 later formed the Republic of Ireland and 6 made up Northern Ireland.

These counties are traditionally grouped into 4 provinces - Leinster (12), Munster (6) Connacht (5) and Ulster (9). Historically, the counties of Meath, Westmeath and small parts of surrounding counties constituted the province of Mide, which was one of the "Five Fifths" of Ireland (in the Irish language the word for province, Cuige, from Cuig, five means "a fifth"); however, these have long since become the three northernmost counties of Leinster province. In the Republic each county is administered by an elected "county council", and the old provincial divisions are merely traditional names with no political significance.

The number and boundaries of administrative counties in the Republic of Ireland were reformed in the 1990s. For example County Dublin was broken into three: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin - the City of Dublin had existed for centuries before. In addition "County Tipperary" is actually two administrative counties, called North Tipperary and South Tipperary while the major urban centres Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford have been separated from the town and rural areas of their counties. Thus, the Republic of Ireland now has thirty-four 'county-level' authorities, although the borders of the original twenty-six counties are still officially in place.[3]

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils and the smaller town councils were abolished in 1973 and replaced by a single tier of local government. However, in the north as well as in the south, the traditional 32 counties and 4 provinces remain in common usage for many sporting, cultural and other purposes. County identity is heavily reinforced in the local culture by allegiances to county teams in Hurling and Gaelic football. Each GAA county has its own flag/colours (and often a nickname too), and county allegiances are taken quite seriously. See the counties of Ireland and the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Liberia

Liberia has 15 counties, each of which elects two senators to the Liberian Senate.

Lithuania

Apskritis (pl. apskritys) is the Lithuanian word for county. Since 1994 Lithuania has 10 counties; before 1950 it had 20. The only purpose with the county is an office of a state governor who shall conduct law and order in the county. See counties of Lithuania.

New Zealand

After New Zealand abolished its provinces in 1876, a system of counties similar to other countries' systems was instituted, lasting until 1989. They had chairmen, not mayors as boroughs and cities had; many legislative provisions (such as burial and land subdivision control) were different for the counties.

During the second half of the 20th century, many counties received overflow population from nearby cities. The result was often a merger of the two into a "district" (eg Rotorua) or a change of name to "district' (eg Waimairi) or "city" (eg Manukau).

The Local Government Act 1974 began the process of bringing urban, mixed, and rural councils into the same legislative framework. Substantial reorganisations under that Act resulted in the 1989 shake-up, which covered the country in (non-overlapping) cities and districts and abolished all the counties except for the Chatham Islands County, which survived under that name for a further 6 years but then became a "Territory" under the "Chatham Islands Council".

Norway

Norway is divided into 19 counties (sing. fylke, plur. fylke/fylker) since 1972. Up to that year Bergen was a separate county, but is today a municipality in the county of Hordaland. All counties form administrative entities called county municipalities (sing. fylkeskommune, plur. fylkeskommunar/fylkeskommuner), further subdivided into municipalities, (sing. kommune, plur. kommunar/kommuner). One county, Oslo, is not divided into municipalities, rather it is equivalent to the municipality of Oslo.

Each county has its own county council (fylkesting) whose representatives are elected every four years together with representatives to the municipal councils. The counties handle matters as high schools and local roads, and until 1 January 2002 hospitals as well. This responsibility was transferred to the state-run health authorities and health trusts, and there is a debate on the future of the county municipality as an administrative entity. Some people, and parties, such as the Conservative and Progress Party, call for the abolishment of the county municipalities once and for all, while others, including the Labour Party, merely want to merge some of them into larger regions.

Poland

A second-level administrative division in Poland is called a powiat. (This is a subdivision of a voivodeship and is further subdivided into gminas.) The term is often translated into English as county (or sometimes district). For more details see powiat and List of counties in Poland.

Romania

The administrative subdivisions of Romania are called judeţ (plural: judeţe), name derived from jude, a mayor and judge of a city (akin to English judge; both are derived from Latin) Presently Romania is subdivided into 41 counties and the capital, Bucharest having a separate status. See the list of counties of Romania.

Sweden

The Swedish division into counties was established in 1634, and was based on an earlier division into Provinces. Sweden is today divided into 21 counties, and each county is further divided into municipalities. At the county level there is a county administrative board led by a governor appointed by the central government of Sweden, as well as an elected county council that handles a separate set of issues, notably hospitals and public transportation.

The Swedish term used is län, which literally means "fief."

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is divided into a number of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. There are also ceremonial counties which group small non-metropolitan counties into geographic areas broadly based on the historic counties of England. The metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties had replaced in 1974 a system of administrative counties and county boroughs which were introduced in 1889.

Most non-metropolitan counties in England are run by county councils and divided into non-metropolitan districts, each with its own council. Local authorities in the UK are usually responsible for running education, emergency services, planning, transport, social services, and a number of other functions.

In England, in the Anglo-Saxon period, Shires were established as areas used for the raising of taxes, and usually had a fortified town at their centre. These became known as the shire town or later the county town. In most cases, the shires were named after their shire town (for example Bedfordshire) however there are several exceptions to this exist, such as Cumberland, Norfolk and Suffolk. In several other cases, such as Buckinghamshire, the town which came to be accepted as the county town is different from that after which the shire is named. (See Toponymical list of counties of the United Kingdom)

The name 'county' was introduced by the Normans, and was derived from a Norman term for an area administered by a Count (lord). These Norman 'counties' were simply the Saxon shires, and kept their Saxon names. Several traditional counties, including Essex, Sussex and Kent, predate the unification of England by Alfred the Great, and originally existed as independent kingdoms.

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils, if not their counties, were abolished in 1973 and replaced by 26 local government districts. The traditional six counties remain in common everyday use for many cultural and other purposes.

The thirteen historic counties of Wales were fixed by Statute in 1539 (although counties such as Pembrokeshire date from 1138) and most of the shires of Scotland are of at least this age.

The county boundaries of England have changed little over time. In the mediæval period, a number of important cities were granted the status of counties in their own right, such as London, Bristol and Coventry, and numerous small exclaves such as Islandshire were created. The next major change occurred in 1844, when many of these exclaves were re-merged with their surrounding counties (for example Coventry was re-merged with Warwickshire).

In 1965 and 1974-1975 a major re-organisation of local government created in England and Wales several new administrative counties such as Hereford and Worcester and also created several new metropolitan counties which served large urban areas as a single administrative unit. In Scotland county-sized local government was replaced by larger regions, which lasted until 1996. Modern local government in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a large part of England is based on the concept of smaller unitary authorities (a system similar to that which the Redcliffe-Maud Report proposed for most of Britain in the 1960s).

United States

Map of the United States with county outlines

As with the shires of Anglo-Saxon England, counties in U.S. states are administrative divisions of the state in which their boundaries are drawn. Where they exist, they are the intermediate tier of unitary state government, between the statewide tier and the immediately local government tier. Counties are used in 48 of the 50 unitary states; the other two states have abolished their counties as functional entities, a third state is in the process of doing so. Of these remaining 48 states, 46 use the term "county" while Alaska and Louisiana use different terms for slightly different but nevertheless analogous jurisdictions.

Depending on the individual state, counties or their differently named equivalent may be administratively subdivided themselves into civil townships, e.g., Michigan, which has civil townships and charter townships (or townships are called "towns" in states where "township" means "a town" or "village", e.g. New York); or counties may contain no large municipal corporations, e.g. Virginia, where all cities are independent cities; or they may contain cities and unincorporated areas, e.g., California, which historically divided its counties into townships but has abolished the latter.

Louisiana has entities equivalent to counties called parishes. Alaska is divided into boroughs, which typically provide fewer local services than do most U.S. counties, as the state government furnishes many services directly. Some of Alaska's boroughs have merged geographical boundaries and administrative functions with their principal (and sometimes only) cities; these are known as unified city-boroughs and result in some of Alaska's cities ranking among the geographically largest "cities" in the world. Nevertheless, Alaska considers such entities to be boroughs, not cities. Alaska is also unique in that more than half the geographic area of the state is in the "Unorganized Borough", a legal entity in which the state also functions as the local government.

New York has a unique system where 57 of its 62 counties are administrative divisions of the state, with normal county executive powers; while the remaining five are administrative divisions of the City of Greater New York. These five are each called borough in context of City government - Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island (formerly Richmond); but are still called "county" where state function is involved, e.g., "New York County Courthouse", not "Manhattan". The county names correlate to the borough names as New York County, Bronx County, Queens County, Kings County, and Richmond County.

In two states and parts of a third, county government as such has been abolished, and county refers to geographic regions or districts. In Connecticut,[4] Rhode Island[5] and parts of Massachusetts[6][7] counties exist only to designate boundaries for such state-level functions as park districts (Connecticut) or judicial offices (Connecticut and Massachusetts). In states where county government is weak or nonexistent (e.g., New Hampshire, Vermont), town government may provide some or all of the local government services.

Most counties have a county seat, usually a city, where its administrative functions are centered. Exceptions include the nation's smallest county, Arlington, Virginia, which contains no municipalities; the City and County of San Francisco, a metropolitan municipality in which city and county government have been merged into one jurisdiction, so the county seat is coextensive with the whole county; and, of course, New York City, which is coextensive with five counties that, thus, all have the same county seat - making the question superfluous. Some New England states use the term shire town to mean "county seat".

References

External links

Advertisements

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COUNTY (through Norm. Fr. counte, cf. O. Fr. cunte, conte, Mod. Fr. comte, from Lat. comitatus, cf. Ital. comitato, Prov. comtat; see Count), in its most usual sense the name given to certain important administrative divisions in the United Kingdom, the British dominions beyond the seas, and the United States of America. The word was first introduced after the Norman Conquest as the equivalent of the old English "shire," which has survived as its synonym, though occasionally also applied to divisions smaller than counties, e.g. Norhamshire, Hexhamshire and Hallamshire. The word "county" is also sometimes used, alternatively with "countship," to translate foreign words, e.g. the French comte and the German Grafschaft, which connote the territorial jurisdiction of a count (q.v.). The present article is confined to a sketch of the origin and development of English counties, which have served in a greater or less degree as the model for the county organizations in the various countries of the English-speaking world which are described under their proper headings.

About one-third of the English counties represent ancient kingdoms, sub-kingdoms Jr tribal divisions, such as Kent, Sussex, Norfolk, Devon; but most of the remaining counties take their names from some important town within their respective boundaries. The counties to the south of the Thames (except Cornwall) already existed in the time of Alfred, but those of the midlands seem to have been created during the reign of Edward the Elder (901-925) and to have been artificially bounded areas lying around some stronghold which became a centre of civil and military administration. There is reason, however, for thinking that the counties of Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon and Northampton are of Danish origin. Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland were not recognized as English counties until some time after the Norman Conquest, the last two definitely appearing as fiscal areas in 1177. The origin of Rutland as a county is obscure, but it had its own sheriff in 1154.

In the period preceding the Norman Conquest two officers appear at the head of the county organization. These are the ealdorman or earl, and the scirgerefa or sheriff. The shires of Wessex appear each to have had an ealdorman, whose duties were to command its military forces, to preside over the county assembly (scirgemot), to carry out the laws and to execute justice. The name ealdorman gave way to that of earl, probably under Danish influence, in the first half of the 11th century, and it is probable that the office of sheriff came into existence in the reign of Canute (1017-1035), when the great earldoms were formed and it was no longer possible for the earl to perform his various administrative duties in person in a group of counties. After the Norman Conquest the earl was occasionally appointed sheriff of his county, but in general his only official connexion with it was to receive the third penny of its pleas, and the earldom ceased to be an office and became merely a title. In the 12th century the office of coroner was created, two or more of them being chosen in the county court as vacancies occurred. In the same century verderers were first chosen in the same manner for the purpose of holding inquisitions on vert and venison in those counties which contained royal forests. It was the business of the sheriff (vicecomes) as the king's representative to serve and return all writs, to levy distresses on the king's behalf, to execute all royal precepts and to collect the king's revenue.' In this work he was assisted by a large staff of clerks and bailiffs who were directly responsible to him and not to the king. The sheriff also commanded the armed forces of the crown within his county, and either in person or by deputy presided over the county court which was now held monthly in most counties. In 1300 it was enacted that the sheriffs might be chosen by the county, except in Worcestershire, Cornwall, Rutland, Westmorland and Lancashire, where there were then sheriffs in fee, that is, sheriffs who held their offices hereditarily by royal grant. The elective arrangement was of no long duration, and it was finally decided in 13 4 0 that the sheriffs should be appointed by the chancellor, the treasurer and the chief baron of the exchequer, but should hold office for one year only. The county was from an early period regarded as a community, and approached the king as a corporate body, while in later times petitions were presented through the knights of the shire. It was also an organic whole for the purpose of the conservation of the peace. The assessment of taxation by commissioners appointed by the county court developed in the 13th century into the representation of the county by two knights of the shire elected by the county court to serve in parliament, and this representation continued unaltered save for a short period during the Protectorate, until 1832, when many of the counties received a much larger representation, which was still further increased by later acts.

The royal control over the county was strengthened from the 14th century onward by the appointment of justices of the peace.

This system was further developed under the Tudors, while in the middle of the 16th century the military functions of the sheriff were handed over to a new officer, the lord-lieutenant, who is now more prominently associated with the headship of the county than is the sheriff. The lord-lieutenant now usually holds the older office of custos rotulorum, or keeper of the records of the county. The justices of the peace are appointed upon his nomination, and until lately he appointed the clerk of the peace. The latter appointment is now made by the joint committee of quarter sessions and county council.

The Tudor system of -local government received little alteration until the establishment of county councils by the Local Government Act of 1888 handed over to an elected body many of the functions previously exercised by the nominated justices of the peace. For the purposes of this act the ridings of Yorkshire, the divisions of Lincolnshire, east and west Sussex, east and west Suffolk, the soke of Peterborough and the Isle of Ely are regarded as counties, so that there are now sixty administrative counties of England and Wales. Between 1373 and 1692 the crown granted to certain cities and boroughs the privilege of being counties of themselves. There were in 1835 eighteen of these counties corporate, Bristol, Chester, Coventry, Gloucester, Lincoln, Norwich, Nottingham, York and Carmarthen, each of which had two sheriffs, and Canterbury, Exeter, Hull, Lichfield, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Poole, Southampton, Worcester and Haverfordwest, each of which had one sheriff. All these boroughs, with the exception of Carmarthen, Lichfield, Poole and Haverfordwest, which remain counties of themselves, and fortyseven others, were created county boroughs by the Local Government Act 1888, and are entirely dissociated from the control of a county council. The City of London is also a county of itself, whose two sheriffs are also sheriffs of Middlesex, while for the purposes of the act of 1888 the house-covered district which extends for many miles round the City constitutes a county.

The county has always been the unit for the organization of the militia, and from about 1782 certain regiments of the regular army were associated with particular counties by territorial titles. The army scheme of 5907-5908 provided for the formation of county associations under the presidency of the lordslieutenant for the organization of the new territorial army.

See Statutes of the Realm; W. Stubbs, Constitutional History of England (1874-1878); F. W. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond (1897); Sir F. Pollock and F. W. Maitland, History of English Law (1895); H. M. Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions (1905), and The Victoria History of the Counties of England. (G. J. T.)


<< Country

County court >>


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to county article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Contents

English

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
county

Plural
counties

county (plural counties)

  1. (historical) The land ruled by a count or a countess.
  2. An administrative region of various countries, including Canada, China, Croatia, France, the Republic of Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro and Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  3. A definitive geographic region, without direct administrative functions, as in traditional county.

Usage notes

In the United Kingdom they are referred to as e.g. Kent and never Kent County; an organisation such as Kent County Council is the County Council of Kent, not the Council of Kent County.

Derived terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. Originally, in continental Europe, a county was the land under the jurisdiction of a count. Counts are called earls in post-Celtic Britain and Ireland—the term is from Old Norse jarl and was introduced by the Vikings—but there is no correlation between counties and earldoms. Rather, county, from French comté, was simply used by the Normans after 1066 to replace the native English term scir ([ʃir])—Modern English shire, as the Anglo-Saxon system of Shires was unique and thus hard for the Norman invaders to comprehend so they resorted to calling them "counties". A shire was an administrative division of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom (Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia, etc.), usually named after its administrative centre: for example, Gloucester, in Gloucestershire; Worcester, in Worcestershire; etc.[1] Thus, whereas the word comté denoted a sovereign jurisdiction in the original French, the English county denotes a subdivision of a sovereign jurisdiction.

Contents

Overview

Country/Area Language Singular Plural Number Notes
Counties of Canada English and French
Counties of Croatia Croatian županija županije 20
Counties of Denmark Danish amt amter 13 (last number) Established 1662.
Disbanded 2006.
Counties of Estonia Estonian maakond maakonnad 15
Counties of Finland Finnish and Swedish lääni/län läänit/län 6
Counties of Germany German Kreis or Landkreis Kreise / Landkreise 323
Counties of Hungary Hungarian megye megyék 19/22/1 for numbers: see main article
Counties of Ireland Irish and English contae contaethe 32*
Counties of Japan Japanese 郡(gun) same as singular
Counties of Latvia Latvian rajons rajoni 26
Counties of Liberia English 15
Counties of Lithuania Lithuanian apskritis apskritys 10
Counties of Moldova Romanian judeţ judeţe 9 disbanded in 2003
Counties of the Netherlands Dutch graafschap graafschappen only historic
Counties of Norway Norwegian fylke fylke/fylker 19
Counties of Poland Polish powiat powiaty 308
Counties of Romania Romanian judeţ judeţe 41+1
Counties of Russia Russian rayon (район) or okrug (округ) rayoni (районы) or okruga (округа) >1000
Counties of Serbia and Montenegro Serbian okrug okruzi 29+1/21
Counties of Sweden Swedish län län 21
Counties of the United Kingdom English
Counties of the United States English 3141

* The 32 refers to the counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland combined. For more information, see the sections on Ireland and United Kingdom below.

Australia

Main article: Cadastral divisions of Australia

The eastern Australian states, and parts of the other states, were divided into counties, mostly in the nineteenth century. These were further subdivided into parishes in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland; and hundreds in South Australia. The counties currently have no political function, and became dead letters for most purposes other than the registration of land ownership, and are unknown by most of the population today. Local Government Areas including shires, municipalities, and others are instead used in Australia as the second-level subdivision.

Canada

Main article: Census divisions of Canada

Five of Canada's ten provinces are divided into counties. In Ontario and Nova Scotia, these are local government units, whereas in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island they are now only geographical divisions. Most counties consist of several municipalities, but there are a few that consist of a single large city. In sparsely populated northern Ontario and Quebec, these units are called districts, not counties, and in densely populated areas of south-central Ontario new regional municipalities are used for local government instead of counties.

See also:

  • List of New Brunswick counties
  • List of Nova Scotia counties
  • Counties of Prince Edward Island
  • List of Ontario counties
  • List of Quebec counties
  • List of Quebec county regional municipalities

Divisions of the other provinces:

  • In Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador, instead of counties, divisions are used.
  • Alberta has several types of municipalities with varying degrees of local autonomy. While some rural municipalities are known as "counties", this no longer has any substantive meaning; Alberta counties were once rural municipalities which combined the local government and school board in one body.
  • In British Columbia, regional districts are used. (see List of British Columbia Regional Districts) British Columbia is also divided into 8 counties, but these serve only as judicial districts. (see Supreme Court of British Columbia).
  • The Yukon Territory is one district in itself.
  • The Northwest Territories and Nunavut are divided into districts.

Statistics

  • Census division statistics of Canada

China

Main article: County of China

The word "county" is used to translate the Chinese term xiàn (县 or 縣). On Mainland China under the People's Republic of China, counties are the third level of local government, coming under both the province level and the prefecture level. On Taiwan, the streamlining of Taiwan Province has left the county the major governmental level below the Republic of China central government.

The number of counties in China proper numbers about 2,000, and has remained more or less constant since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). The county remains one of the oldest levels of government in China and significantly predates the establishment of provinces in the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368). The county government was particularly important in imperial China because this was the lowest layer at which the imperial government functioned. The head of a county during imperial times was the magistrate.

In older context, "prefecture" and "district" are alternative terms to refer to xiàn before the establishment of the Republic of China. The English nomenclature "county" was adopted following the establishment of the ROC.

See also: Political divisions of China, Counties of Taiwan

Denmark

Denmark was divided into counties from 1662 to 2006. On January 1, 2007, the counties were replaced by five Regions. At the same time, the number of municipalities was slashed from 270 to 98.

The counties were first introduced in 1662, replacing the 49 fiefs (len) in Denmark-Norway with the same number of counties. This number does not include the subdivisions of the Duchy of Schleswig, which was only under partial Danish control. The number of counties in Denmark (excluding Norway) had dropped to c. 20 by 1793. Following the reunification of South Jutland with Denmark in 1920, four counties replaced the Prussian Kreise. Aabenraa and Sønderborg County merged in 1932 and Skanderborg and Aarhus were separated in 1942. From 1942 to 1970, the number stayed at 22.[1] The number was further decreased by the 1970 Danish municipal reform, leaving 14 counties plus two cities unconnected to the county structure; Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.

In 2003, Bornholm County merged with the local four municipalities, forming the Bornholm Regional Municipality. The remaining 13 counties were abolished on effective January 1, 2007 where they were replaced by five new regions. In the same reform, the number of municipalities was slashed from 270 to 98 and all municipalities now belong to a region.

See also: Counties of Denmark

Hungary

The administrative unit of Hungary is called megye, (historically, they were also called comitatus in Latin), which can be translated as county. It is the highest level of the administrative subdivisions of the country, although counties are grouped into seven statistical regions. Counties are subdivided to kistérségs, which literally means "little area", though translating this as a commune is more proper. Communes have statistical and organizational functions only, whilst they have there own "capital cities". Presently Hungary is subdivided into 19 "proper" counties, 22 urban counties (cities with the same rights as a whole county) and 1 capital, Budapest. See the list of counties of Hungary.

The comitatus was also the historic administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary, which included areas of present-day neighbouring countries of Hungary. See the list of historic counties of Hungary.

India

The administrative unit in India immediately next to the state is called a Zila in Hindi and district (never "county") in English.

Ireland

The island of Ireland was historically divided into 32 counties, of which 26 later formed the Republic of Ireland and 6 made up Northern Ireland.

These counties are traditionally grouped into 4 provinces - Leinster (12), Munster (6) Connacht (5) and Ulster (9). Historically, the counties of Meath ,West Meath and small parts of surrounding counties constituted the province of Meath was one of the "Five Fifths" of Ireland , In the Irish language the word province means a fifth ; but these have long since become the three northernmost counties of Leinster province. In the Republic each county is administered by an elected "county council", and the old provincial divisions are merely traditional names with no political significance.

The number and boundaries of administrative counties in the Republic of Ireland were reformed in the 1990s. For example County Dublin was broken into three: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin - the City of Dublin had existed for centuries before. In addition "County Tipperary" is actually two administrative counties, called North Tipperary and South Tipperary while the major urban centres Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford have been separated from the town and rural areas of their counties. Thus, though sometimes called the 'twenty-six counties', the Republic of Ireland now has thirty-four 'county-level' authorities.

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils and the smaller town councils were abolished in 1973 and replaced by a single tier of local government. However, in the north as well as in the south, the traditional 32 counties and 4 provinces remain in common usage for many sporting, cultural and other purposes. County identity is heavily reinforced in the local culture by allegiances to county teams in Hurling and Gaelic football. Each GAA county has its own flag/colours (and often a nickname too), and county allegiances are taken quite seriously. See the counties of Ireland and the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Japan

"County" is one of the translations of gun (郡), which is a subdivision of prefecture. It is also translated as rural district, rural area, or district. The translation "district" is not preferred, because it comes into conflict with the usual translation of "district", chome. In this wiki as in Wikipedia, district is used for gun. See Japanese translation note.

Presently, "counties" have no political power or administrative function. The division is mainly significant in postal services.

Liberia

Liberia has 15 counties, each of which elects two senators to the Liberian Senate.

Lithuania

Apskritis (pl. apskritys) is the Lithuanian word for county. Since 1994 Lithuania has 10 counties; before 1950 it had 20. The only purpose with the county is an office of a state governor who shall conduct law and order in the county. See counties of Lithuania.

New Zealand

Main article: Counties in New Zealand

After New Zealand abolished its provinces in 1876, a system of counties similar to other countries' systems was instituted, lasting until 1989.

They had chairmen, not mayors as boroughs and cities had; many legislative provisions (such as burial and land subdivision control) were different for the counties.

During the second half of the 20th century, many counties received overflow population from nearby cities. The result was often a merger of the two into a "district" (eg Rotorua) or a change of name to "district' (eg Waimairi) or "city" (eg Manukau).

The Local Government Act 1974 began the process of bringing urban, mixed, and rural councils into the same legislative framework. Substantial reorganisations under that Act resulted in the 1989 shake-up, which covered the country in (non-overlapping) cities and districts and abolished all the counties except for the Chatham Islands County, which survived under that name for a further 6 years but then became a "Territory" under the "Chatham Islands Council".

Norway

Norway is divided into 19 counties (sing. fylke, plur. fylke/fylker, literally "folk") as of 1972. Up to that year Bergen was a separate county, but it is today a municipality in the county of Hordaland. All counties are divided into municipalities, (sing. kommune, plur. kommunar/kommuner), the ones with incorporated cities being called city municipalities (sing. bykommune, plur. bykommunar/bykommuner). The county of Oslo is equivalent to the municipality of Oslo.

Each county has its own assembly (fylkesting) whose representatives are elected every 4 years together with representatives to the municipality councils. The counties handle matters as high schools and local roads, and until recently hospitals as well. This responsibility is now transferred to the state, and there is a debate on the future of the county as an administrative entity. Some people, and parties, such as the Conservative Party of Norway, call for the abolishment of the counties once and for all, while others merely want to merger some of them into larger regions.

Pakistan

The administrative unit in Pakistan immediately next to the state is called a Zilla in Urdu and district (never "county") in English.

Poland

Polish second-level administration unit powiat is usually translated into English as county or district. See List of counties in Poland

Romania

The administrative subdivisions of Romania are called judeţ (plural: judeţe), name derived from jude, a mayor and judge of a city (akin to English judge; both are derived from Latin) Presently Romania is subdivided into 41 counties and the capital, Bucharest having a separate status. See the list of counties of Romania.

Serbia and Montenegro

Subdivisions of Serbia (okrug) are sometimes translated as counties, though more often as districts. See District#Serbia and Montenegro

Sweden

The Swedish division into counties was established in 1634, and was based on an earlier division into Provinces. Sweden is today divided into 21 counties, and each county is further divided into municipalities. At the county level there is a county administrative board led by a governor appointed by the central government of Sweden, as well as an elected county council that handles a separate set of issues, notably hospitals and public transportation.

The Swedish term used is län, which literally means "fief."

United Kingdom

Main article: Counties of the United Kingdom

Present-day

The United Kingdom is divided into a number of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. There are also ceremonial counties which group small non-metropolitan counties into geographic areas broadly based on the historic counties of England. The metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties had replaced in 1974 a system of administrative counties and county boroughs which were introduced in 1889.

Most non-metropolitan counties in England are run by county councils and divided into non-metropolitan districts, each with its own council. Local authorities in the UK are usually responsible for running education, emergency services, planning, transport, social services, and a number of other functions.

Early times

In England, in the Anglo-Saxon period, Shires were established as areas used for the raising of taxes, and usually had a fortified town at their centre. These became known as the shire town or later the county town. In most cases, the shires were named after their shire town (for example Bedfordshire) however exceptions to this rule exist, such as Wiltshire. In several other cases, such as Devon, the shire has a county town different from that which it is named after. The name 'county' was introduced by the Normans, and was derived from a Norman term for an area administered by a Count (lord). These Norman 'counties' were geographically based upon the Saxon shires, and kept their Saxon names. Several traditional counties, including Essex, Sussex, and Kent, predate the unification of England by Alfred the Great, and originally existed as independent kingdoms.

The thirteen historic counties of Wales were fixed by Statute in 1539 (although counties such as Pembrokeshire date from 1138); and most of those of Scotland are of at least that age.

Boundary changes

The county boundaries of England have changed over time. In the mediæval period, a number of important cities were granted the status of counties in their own right, such as London, Bristol, and Coventry, and numerous small exclaves such as Islandshire were created. The next major change occurred in 1844, when many of these exclaves were re-merged with their surrounding counties (for example Coventry was re-merged with Warwickshire).

In 1965 and 1974 a major re-organisation of local government created several new administrative counties such as Hereford and Worcester and also created several new metropolitan counties which served large urban areas as a single administrative unit.

Modern local government in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and a large part of England is based on the concept of smaller unitary authorities, a system similar to that proposed for most of Britain in the 1960s.

United States

Main article: County (United States) The term county is used in 48 of the 50 states of the United States for a tier of organization immediately below the statewide tier and above (where created) the municipal or civil township tier.

Louisiana has entities similar to counties but calls them parishes.

Alaska is divided into boroughs, which typically provide fewer local services than most counties, as the state government provides more services directly. Some of Alaska's boroughs have merged geographical boundaries and administrative functions with their principal (and sometimes only) cities; these are known as unified city-boroughs and result in some of Alaska's cities ranking among the geographically largest "cities" in the world. However, Alaska officially considers such entities to be boroughs, not cities. Alaska is also unique among U.S. states in that over half the geographic area of the state is in the "Unorganized Borough", a legal entity where the state government also functions as the local government.

In two states and parts of a third, county government has been abolished, and county refers to geographic governmental regions or districts. In Connecticut,[2] Rhode Island[3] and parts of Massachusetts[4][5] counties exist only to designate boundaries for such state-level functions as park districts (Connecticut) or judicial offices (Massachusetts).

In states where county government is weak or nonexistent, town government may provide some or all of the local government services.

When possessing a functioning government, each county will have a county seat (a center of county administration), usually in an incorporated municipality.

Independent cities and census districts are termed county equivalents when they function as the first jurisdiction below state level but are not part of any county.

References

  1. ^ Etymology of the word county.
  2. ^ National Association of Counties (U.S.A.): Connecticut Counties
  3. ^ National Association of Counties (U.S.A.): Rhode Island Counties
  4. ^ National Association of Counties (U.S.A.): Massachusetts Counties
  5. ^ Massachusetts Leage of Women Voters: Massachusetts Government: County Government
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png

This article uses material from the "County" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Not to be confused with Country.

A county is the name for a piece of land. It has a different meaning in different languages. Originally the word was for the land under a count (in Great Britain an earl). Today a "county" is often something between a larger state and a smaller town or district.

County governments keep records and organize elections and laws.

Contents

Canada

Canada has ten provinces. Five of them have counties in them. In Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, these are local government units, but in Quebec and Prince Edward Island they are now only geographical units. Statistics

China

The word "county" is the English name for the Chinese word xiàn (县 or 縣). On Mainland China under the People's Republic of China, counties are the third level of local government. On Taiwan, the county is the highest governmental level below the Republic of China central government.

There are about 2,000 counties in China; this number is about the same as in the Han dynasty, 2,000 years ago. The county is one of the oldest levels of government in China.

Before, "prefecture" and "district" were names for xiàn, before the Republic of China. People started using the English name "county" after the start of the Republic of China.

The head of a county is the magistrate.

Croatia

Counties started to be units of regional self-government in Croatia in 1990. There are twenty counties and the city of Zagreb which has the same status. They are called županije and their leader is a župan.

France

There was a change in the historical counties of France in 1790 after the Revolution. The new government unit was the département. But French people use the word county (comté) in the name of the Franche-Comté region, the old Free County of Burgundy.

Hungary

The government unit of Hungary is megye, or in Latin: comitatus. This is the same as the word county. Today Hungary has 19 counties, 20 city counties and 1 capital, Budapest. The comitatus was also the unit in the Kingdom of Hungary.

Ireland

Ireland originally had 32 counties in the nineteenth century. 26 of these later formed the Republic of Ireland and 6 formed Northern Ireland. The counties were in 4 provinces - Leinster (12 counties), Munster (6) Connacht (5) and Ulster (9).

In the 1970s in Northern Ireland and in the 1990s in the Republic of Ireland, there was a change in the county numbers and borders (where they started and finished). In the Republic, for example, the change broke Dublin County into four parts: Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin. 'County Tipperary' is really two counties, Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding. The towns Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford are now separated from the countryside areas of their counties. So the Republic of Ireland now has thirty-four "county-level" units. But for sports, culture etc. people normally talk about the original 32 counties and 4 provinces.

Each county has a flag/colours and often a nickname too.

Japan

"County" is one name for gun (郡), which is a part of a "prefecture". Other names for gun are "rural district", "rural area" or "district". People do not like to use "district" because the usual translation of "district" is choume (丁目).

Today, "counties" have no political power or organisation use. Postal services use it.

New Zealand

After New Zealand ended its provinces in 1876, they began using a county system as in other countries. They used it until 1989.

During the second half of the 20th century, many people went to the country counties from nearby cities. Because of this, sometimes they put the two together, making a "district" (e.g. Rotorua). Or sometimes they changed the name to "district" (e.g. Waimairi) or "city" (e.g. Manukau).

In 1974 they had a big change; they made the organisation the same all over New Zealand. Today the country has cities and districts, but no counties.

Norway

Norway has 19 Counties (singular fylke, plural fylker, literally "folk"). Until 1972, Bergen was a county, but today it is a municipality in the county of Hordaland. All counties have municipalities (singular kommune, plural kommuner).

Each county has an assembly (fylkesting). Norwegians choose the people in the assembly every 4 years. The counties work with high schools and roads, etc. Some people, and political parties, such as the Conservatives, Høyre, want the end of the counties. Others want to make some of them into larger regions.

Poland

In English we normally call the Polish second-level organisation unit powiat a "county" or "district".

Romania

The smaller units of Romania are called judeţ (plural: judeţe). This name comes from jude, a judge of a city. Today Romania has 40 counties and the capital, Bucharest has a separate status.

Serbia and Montenegro

We sometimes call the units of Serbia (okrug) counties, but more often we call them districts.

Sweden

In 1634 the old provinces in Sweden had a new name: counties. Today there are 21 Counties, and in each County there are Municipalities. The Swedish name is Län.

United Kingdom

See also List of counties of the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom are 92 traditional counties. , Great Britain has 86 and Northern Ireland has 6. The British counties are different ages.

In England, in Anglo-Saxon times, Shires were units for getting taxes. They usually had a town at their centre. People called these towns the shire town. The shires had the same name as their shire town (for example Bedfordshire). Later people called these towns the county town. The name 'county' came from the Normans, from a Norman word for an area under a Count (lord).

In 1539 Wales got thirteen counties. The counties in Scotland are this age or older.

The county boundaries (borders) of England are different today. In medieval times, some important cities got the status of counties, for example London, Bristol and Coventry. Some small places, e.g. Islandshire, were also counties. In 1844, a lot of these small places returned to their old counties.

United States

The name "county" is also used in 48 of the 50 states of the United States, for the next government unit smaller than the state. Louisiana uses the name parishes and Alaska uses boroughs. The U.S. Census Bureau lists 3,141 counties or organisation units of this sort. The power of the county government is very different in every state.

In New England, counties are mostly for law. In Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, they have no governmental use; they are only geographic names. Most power is in the towns. In other places than New England, counties are for the police, water, gas and electricity, libraries, statistics and birth certificates. County sheriffs are the head of the police in some states, for areas outside of cities and towns. Other places have "County Police" and county sheriffs are for the law. Each county has a county seat, usually the biggest town, where the county offices are.

In Western states, for example California, the county is the basic unit of local government.


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message