A governor (from French gouverneur) is a governing official, usually the executive (at least nominally, to different degrees also politically and administratively) of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, a governor may be the title of each appointed or elected politician who governs a constituent state.
In some countries the heads of the constitutive states, provinces, communities and regions may be titled Governor, although this is less common in parliamentary systems such as in some European nations and many of their former colonies, which use titles such as President of the Regional Council in France and Minister-President in Germany, where in some states there are governorates (German: Regierungsbezirke) as sub-state administrative regions. Other countries using different titles for sub-national units include Spain and Switzerland.
The title also lies, historically, to executive officials acting as representatives of a chartered company which has been granted exercise of sovereignty in a colonial area, such as the British HEIC or the Dutch VOC. These companies operate as a major state within a state with its own armed forces.
There can also be non-political governors: high ranking officials in private or similar governance such as commercial and non-profit management, styled governor(s), who simply govern an institution, such as a corporation or a bank. For example, in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries there are prison governors ("warden" in the United States), school governors and bank governors.
The adjective pertaining to a governor is gubernatorial, from the Latin root gubernare.
Though the legal and administrative framework of provinces, each administrated by a governor, was created by the Romans, the term governor has been a convenient term for historians to use in describing similar systems in antiquity. Indeed, many regions of the pre-Roman antiquity were ultimately replaced by Roman 'standardized' provincial governments after their conquest by Rome.
From the creation of the earliest Roman subject provinces a governor was appointed each year to administer each of them. The core function of a Roman governor was as a magistrate or judge, and the management of taxation and public spending in their area.
Under the Republic and the early Empire, however, a governor also commanded military forces in his province. Republican governors were all men who had served in senior magistracies (the consulate or praetorship) in Rome in the previous year, and carried related titles as governor (proconsul or propraetor). The first Emperor, Octavianus Augustus (who acquired or settled a number of new territories; officially his style was republican: Princeps civitatis), divided the provinces into two categories; the traditionally prestigious governorships remained as before (in what have become known as "senatorial" provinces), while in a range of others he retained the formal governorships himself, delegating the actual task of administration to appointees (usually with the title legatus Augusti). The legatus sometimes would appoint a prefect (later procurator), usually a man of equestrian rank, to act as his deputy in a subregion of the larger province: the infamous character of Pontius Pilate in the Christian Gospels was a governor of this sort.
A special case was Egypt, a rich 'private' domain and vital granary, where the Emperor almost inherited the theocratic status of a Pharaoh. The Emperor was represented there by a governor sui generis styled praefectus augustalis (the very title evokes the religious cult of the Emperor).
Emperors Diocletian (see Tetrarchy) and Constantine in the third and fourth centuries AD carried out a root and branch reorganisation of the administration with two main features:
The prestige governorships of Africa and Asia remained with the title proconsul, and the special right to refer matters directly to the Emperor; the praefectus augustalis in Alexandria and the comes Orientis in Antioch also retained special titles. Otherwise the governors of provinces had various titles without obvious logic, some known as consularis, some as corrector, some as praeses. Apart from Egypt and the East (Oriens - viz greater Syria), each diocese was directed by a governor known as a vicarius. The prefectures were directed by praefecti praetorio (greatly transformed in their functions from their role in the early Empire).
This system survived with few significant changes until the collapse of the empire in the West, and in the East the breakdown of order with the Persian and Arab invasions of the seventh century. At that stage a new kind of governor emerged, the Strategos a role leading the themes which replaced provinces at this point, and involving a return to the amalgamation of civil and military office which had been the practice under the Republic and the early Empire.
While the Roman administration in the West was largely destroyed in the barbarian invasions, its model was remembered, and would again be very influential through two particular vehicles: Roman law and the Christian Church.
In the Ottoman empire, all Pashas (generals) administered a province of the Great Sultan's vast empire, with specific titles (such as Mutessaryf; Vali = Wāli was often maintained or even revived in oriental successor states; cfr. Beilerbei (rendered as Governor-general, as he is appointed above several provinces under individual governors) and Dey)
In the British Empire a governor was originally an official appointed by the British monarch (or in fact the cabinet) to oversee one of his colonies and was the (sometimes notional) head of the colonial administration. A governor's power could diminish as the colony gained more responsible government vested in such institutions as an Executive Council to help with the colony's administration, and in a further stage of self-government, Legislative Councils and/or Assemblies, in which the Governor often had a role.
Today crown colonies of the United Kingdom continue to be administered by a governor, who holds varying degrees of power. Because of the different constitutional histories of the former colonies of the United Kingdom, the term "Governor" now refers to officials with differing amounts of power.
Administrators, Commissioners and High Commissioners exercise similar powers to Governors. (Note: such High Commissioners are not to be confused with the High Commissioners who are the equivalent of Ambassadors between Commonwealth states).
Frequently the name 'Government House' is given to Governors' residences.
In the United Kingdom's remaining overseas territories the governor is normally a direct appointee of the British Government and plays an active role in governing and lawmaking (though usually with the advice of elected local representatives). The Governor's chief responsibility is for the Defence and External Affairs of the colony.
In Australia, each state has the governor as its formal representative of the Queen as head of the state government. It is not a political office but a ceremonial office. Each state governor is appointed by the Queen of Australia on the advice of the Premier who is the political chief executive of the state government (until 1986, they were appointed by the Queen of the United Kingdom on the advice of the British Government). State Governors have emergency reserve powers but these are rarely used. The Territories of Australia other than the ACT have Administrators instead of governors, who are appointed formally by the Governor-General. The Governor-General is the representative of and appointed by the Queen of Australia at a federal level on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia.
As with the Governors-General of Australia and other Commonwealth Realms, State Governors usually exercise their power only on the advice of a government minister.
In Canada, the federal governor is the Governor General of Canada and the vice-regals of each province is the Lieutenant-Governor. The Governor General is appointed by the Queen of Canada, who is head of state, on the advice of the Prime Minister, whereas the vice-regals are appointed by the Governor General of Canada with advice by the Prime Minister.
As for the three territories, they are headed by a Commissioner and are appointed by the Prime Minister. Unlike provincial lieutenant governor, they are not vice-regals nor appointed by the Governor General.
In India each state has a ceremonial Governor appointed by the President of India. These Governors are different from the Governors who controlled the British-controlled portions of the Indian Empire (as opposed to the princely states) prior to 1947. See Governors of India & Indian Governors for more information. He is the head of the state.Generally,one Governor is appointed for each state,but after the 7th Constitutional Amendment,1956,a Governor can be appointed for more than one state
In Malaysia the four non-monarchical states -Penang, Malacca, and the two on Borneo: Sabah and Sarawak- each have a ceremonial Governor styled Yang di-Pertua Negeri, appointed by the federal King Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, with a seat but no vote in the federal majlis Raja-raja (council of rulers). These states have a separate head of government who is the Chief Minister or Ketua Menteri.
All other states have royalty as head of state, no governor: a raja in Perlis, a Yang di-pertuan besar (elected from local rulers) in Negeri Sembilan, or a Sultan in the states of Selangor, Pahang, Johore, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. These states have a separate head of government who is the Chief Executive or Menteri Besar, literally in Malay "Big Minister".
In Nigeria (once a colony governed by a single British Governor before independence), the leaders of the regions, which in 1967 were divided into states, have been known as governors since 1954. Following a military coup in November 1993, President Sani Abacha suspended all the governors, and appointed administrators. When democracy was restored in 1999, the office of governor was revived and new governors were elected. The president of Nigeria can suspend state governors in a state of emergency and replace them with administrators. They are elected by popular vote.
In Pakistan, each of the four provinces has a Governor who is appointed by the President.The governor is the representative of the president in their province and is the ceremonial head of the province whereas the chief minister is the head of the provincial government.The governor exercises powers similar to the president's, in their province respectively.
In Papua New Guinea, the leaders of the provinces have been known as governors since August 1995. Previously they had been known as premiers.
The provincial councils of the 9 provinces of Sri Lanka are headed by a governor, as representatives of the President. Prior to 1948, when Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known back then, the Governor of Ceylon was head of the British Colony
In the Russian Empire, Governorate (Guberniya) and Governorate-General were the main units of territorial and administrative subdivision since the reforms of Peter the Great. These were governed by a Governor and Governor-General respectively.
A special case was the Chinese Eastern Railroad Zone, which was governed as a concession granted by Imperial China to the Russian 'Chinese Eastern Railroad Society' (in Russian Obshchestvo Kitayskoy Vostochnoy Zheleznoy Dorogi; established in 17 December 1896 in St. Petersburg, later moved to Vladivostok), which built 1,481 km of tracks (Tarskaya - Hilar - Harbin - Nikolsk-Ussuriski; 3 November 1901 traffic opened) and established on 16 May 1898 the new capital city, Harbin; in August 1898, the defense for Chinese Eastern Railroad (CER) across Manchuria was assumed by Russia (first under Priamur governor).
On 1 July 1903, the Chinese Eastern Railroad was opened and given authority of its own CER Administration (Russian: Upravleniye KVZhD), vested in the Directors of the Chinese Eastern Railroad, with the additional quality of Governors of the Chinese Eastern Railroad Zone (in Harbin; as such being 12 August 1903 - 1 July 1905 subordinated to the imperial Viceroyalty of the Far East, see Lüshunkou). The post continued to function despite various political changes until after World War II.
Currently, some of the administrative divisions of Russia are headed by governors, while others are headed by Presidents or heads of administration. From 1991 to 2005 they were elected by popular vote, but since 2005 they have been appointed by the federal president and confirmed by the province's legislature.
In Japan, the title "Governor" (知事 chiji ) refers to the highest ranking executive of a Prefectural Government. The Governor is elected by a direct vote from the people and had a fixed term of four years. He / she can be subjected to a recall referendum. In case of death, disability, or resignation, a government official known as Vice Governor would stand in as Governor or acting Governor.
See List of governors of Japan for a list of the current governors.
In the People's Republic of China, the title "Governor" (省长) refers to the highest ranking executive of a Provincial Government. The Governor is usually placed second in the provincial power hierarchy, below the Secretary of the provincial Communist Party of China (CPC) committee (省委书记), who serves as the highest ranking Party official in the Province. A Governor can be also used when referring to a County Governor (县长).
In the Republic of the Philippines, the title "Governor" refers to the highest ranking executive of a Provincial Government. The Governor is elected by a direct vote from the people and had a fixed term of three years. An incumbent Governor can only serve only up to three consecutive terms. He may however be suspended by either the Ombudsman or President (through the Secretary of Interior and Local Government). He may be removed by the President if he was found guilty of an administrative case or a criminal act during his incumbency. He can be subjected by a recall vote, but unlike a referendum, people would elect the governor of their choice. If in case of death, disability, resignation, forced removal or suspension, a government official known as Vice Governor would replace as Governor or acting Governor.
In the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao, a Regional Governor and Regional Vice Governor is elected by a block vote similar to the United States President.
In the United States, the title governor refers to the chief executive of each state or insular territory, not directly subordinate to the federal authorities, but the political and ceremonial head of the state.
In colonial America, when the governor was the representative of the monarch who exercised executive power, many colonies originally indirectly elected their governors (that is, through assemblies and legislatures), but in the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, the Crown began to appoint them directly. During the American Revolution, all royal governors were expelled (except one; see Jonathan Trumbull) but the name was retained to denote the new elected official.
Before achieving statehood, many of the fifty states were territories. Administered by the federal government, they had governors who were appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate rather than elected by the resident population.
In the United Mexican States, governor refers to the elected chief and head of each of the the nation's thirty one Free and Sovereign States, and their official title in Spanish is Gobernador. Mexican governors are directly elected by the citizens of each state for six-year terms.
Until the 1930 Revolution, the heads of the Brazilian Provinces then States were styled Presidents (presidentes), later governors (governadores) and intervators (interventores, appointed by the federal government) and finally in 1945 only governors.
A Landeshauptmann (German for "state captain", literally 'country headman'; plural Landeshauptleute or Landeshauptmänner as in Styria till 1861; Landeshauptfrau is the female form) is an official title in German for certain political offices equivalent to a Governor. It has historical uses, both administrative and colonial, and is presently used in federal Austria and a majority German-speaking province of Italy.
During the Ancien Régime in France, the representative of the king in his provinces and cities was the "gouverneur". Royal officers chosen from the highest nobility, provincial and city governors (oversight of provinces and cities was frequently combined) were predominantly military positions in charge of defense and policing. Provincial governors – also called "lieutenants généraux" – also had the ability of convoking provincial parlements, provincial estates and municipal bodies. The title "gouverneur" first appeared under Charles VI. The ordinance of Blois of 1579 reduced their number to 12, but an ordinance of 1779 increased their number to 39 (18 first-class governors, 21 second-class governors). Although in principle they were the king's representatives and their charges could be revoked at the king's will, some governors had installed themselves and their heirs as a provincial dynasty. The governors were at the height of their power from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th century, but their role in provincial unrest during the civil wars led Cardinal Richelieu to create the more tractable positions of intendants of finance, policing and justice, and in the 18th century the role of provincial governors was greatly curtailed.
In today's German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia there are - and earlier in more German states there were - sub-state administrative regions called in German: Regierungsbezirk, which is sometimes translated into English as governorate. Thus its respective head, in German: Regierungspräsident, is also translated as governor. Since in analogy to the US terminology the heads of the German states are - besides the translation of their German appellation as Minister-President (German: Ministerpräsident) - also translated as governors, using the term governor in both cases is ambiguous and somewhat confusing.
As a generic term, Governor is used for various 'equivalent' officers governing part of a state or empire, rendering other official titles such as:
And this also applies to non-western and/or antique cultures
The word governor can also refer to an administrator and/or supervisor (individually or collectively, see Board of Governors); the Governor of a national bank often holds ministerial rank.
GOVERNOR (from the Fr. gouverneur, from gouverner, 0. Fr. governer, Lat. gubernare, to steer a ship, to direct, guide), in general, one who governs or exercises authority; specifically, an official appointed to govern a district, province, town, &c. In British colonies or dependencies the representative of the crown is termed a governor. Colonial governors are classed as governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governors, according to the status of the colony or group of colonies over which they preside. Their powers vary according to the position which they occupy. In all cases they represent the authority of the crown. In the United States the official at the head of every state government is called a governor.
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governor (plural governors)
In the New Testament there are also different Greek words rendered thus.
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