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A county is a geographical
region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental geography). Geographic reg ...
of a country used for administrative or other purposes
Chambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William and Robert Chambers as ''Chambers's English Dictionary'' in 1872. It was an expanded version of ''Chambers's Etymological Dictionary'' of 1867, compiled by James Donald. A secon ...
, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh
in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. Rather than a unified language, Old French was really a linkage of Romance dialects, mutually intelligible yet diverse, spoke ...
or denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility in certain European countries, varying in relative status, generally of middling rank in the hierarchy of nobility.Pine, L. G. ''Titles: How the King Became His Majesty''. New York: B ...
(
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavian form ''jarl'', and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain ...
) or a
viscount A viscount ( , for male) or viscountess (, for female) is a title used in certain European countries for a noble of varying status. In many countries a viscount, and its historical equivalents, was a non-hereditary, administrative or judicial po ...
.The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, C. W. Onions (Ed.), 1966,
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of University of Oxford. It is the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is govern ...
Literal equivalents in other languages, derived from the equivalent of "count", are now seldom used officially, including , , , , , , , and ''zhupa'' in
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic, spoken during the Early ...
; terms equivalent to English language administrative terms such as municipality, district, circuit and commune/community are now often instead used. When the
Normans The Normans (Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la|Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from Norse Vikings (after whom Normandy was named), indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. The term is ...
conquered England, they brought the term with them. The
Saxons The Saxons ( la|Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang|Seaxan, osx|Sahson, nds|Sassen, nl|Saksen) were a group of early Germanic * * * * peoples whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country (Old Saxony, la|Saxonia) near the Nort ...
had already established the districts that became the
historic counties of England History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...
, calling them
shire A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and some other English-speaking countries. It was first used in Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the ...
s;Vision of Britai

— Type details for ancient county. Retrieved 31 March 2012
many county names derive from the name of the county town (
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and R ...
) with the word ''shire'' added on: for example,
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) (Welsh: Swydd Gaerloyw) is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean. The county to ...
and
Worcestershire Worcestershire ( , ; written abbreviation: Worcs) is a non-metropolitan administrative, ceremonial and historic county, situated in the West Midlands region of England. The area that is now Worcestershire was absorbed into the unified Kingdo ...
. The
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
terms ''earl'' and ''earldom'' were taken as equivalent to the
continental Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * ''Continental'' (album), an album by Saint Etienne * ...
terms "count" and "county" under the conquering Normans, and over time the two blended and became equivalent. Further, the later-imported term became a synonym for the native
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th centur ...
word () or, in
Modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English and Old English) is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed in roughly 1 ...
, ''shire'' – an equivalent administrative division of the kingdom. The term "county" evolved, consequently, to designate a level of
local administration Selsoviet ( be|сельсавет|r=sieĺsaviet, tr. ''sieĺsaviet''; rus|сельсовет|p=ˈsʲelʲsɐˈvʲɛt|r=selsovet; uk|сільрада, silrada) is a shortened name for a rural council and for the area governed by such a council (so ...
that was immediately beneath a national government, within a
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
(non-federal) system of government. County later also became used differently in some federal systems of government, for a local administrative division subordinate to a primary
subnational entity Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for geographical areas into which a particular, ...
, such as a Province (e.g. Canada) or a State (e.g. the United States); in these countries, a county is a level 3 territorial unit (NUTS 3). In the United States and Canada, founded 600 years later on the British traditions, counties are usually an administrative division set by convenient geographical demarcations, which in governance have certain officeholders (for example
sheriff A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated ...
s and their departments) as a part of the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our Sta ...
and
provincial Provincial may refer to: Government & Administration * Provincial capitals, an administrative sub-national capital of a country * Provincial city (disambiguation) * Provincial minister (disambiguation) * Provincial Secretary, a position in Canadi ...
mechanisms, including geographically common court systems. A county may be further subdivided into districts,
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 and preceding 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five score in order to differentiate the English and Germanic use of "hundred" to describ ...
s,
townships ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia, Canada, Scotland and pa ...
or other administrative jurisdictions within the county. A county usually, but not always, contains cities, towns,
townships ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia, Canada, Scotland and pa ...
,
village A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a population typically ranging from a few hundred to a ...
s, or other
municipal corporation#REDIRECT Municipal corporation#REDIRECT Municipal corporation {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s, which in most cases are somewhat subordinate or dependent upon county governments. Depending on the nation,
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipality'' may also mean the ...
, and local geography, municipalities may or may not be subject to direct or indirect county control — the functions of both levels are often consolidated into a city government when the area is densely populated. Outside
English-speaking countries#REDIRECT English-speaking world ...
, an equivalent of the term ''county'' is often used to describe subnational jurisdictions that are structurally equivalent to counties in the relationship they have with their national government; but which may not be administratively equivalent to counties in predominantly English-speaking countries.


Africa


Kenya

Counties are the current second-level political division in Kenya. Each county has an assembly where members of the county assembly (MCAs) sit. This assembly is headed by a Governor. Each county is also represented in the
Senate of Kenya The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of Kenya. The Senate was first established as part of Kenya's 1963 Constitution. After being abolished in 1966, the Senate was re-established by the 2010 Constitution. First Senate, 1963–1966 ...
by a senator. Additionally, a Women's Representative is elected from each county to the
Parliament of Kenya The Parliament of Kenya is the bicameral legislature of Kenya. It consists of two houses: *Senate (upper house) *The National Assembly (lower house) See also *Politics of Kenya *List of legislatures by country *Legislative branch References Ext ...
to represent women's interests. Counties replaced
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside ...
as the second-level division after the promulgation of the 2010
Constitution of Kenya The Constitution of Kenya is the supreme law of the Republic of Kenya. There have been three significant versions of the constitution, with the most recent redraft being enabled in 2010. The 2010 edition replaced the 1963 independence constituti ...
.


Liberia

Liberia Liberia (), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest. It has a po ...
has 15 counties, each of which elects two senators to the
Senate of Liberia The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislative branch of Liberia, and together with the House of Representatives comprises the Legislature of Liberia. Each of the fifteen counties are equally represented by two senators, elected to serv ...
.


The Americas


Argentina

Provinces in Argentina are divided into
departments Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
( es|departamentos), except in the
Buenos Aires Province#REDIRECT Buenos Aires Province#REDIRECT Buenos Aires Province {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, where they are called . The
Autonomous City of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata, on South America's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be trans ...

Autonomous City of Buenos Aires
is divided into communes ().


Canada

Five of Canada's provinces –
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") | image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | capital = Fredericton | largest_city = Moncton | largest_metro = Great ...
,
Nova Scotia ) | image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | official_lang = English (''de facto'') | RegionalLang = French | capital = Halifax | l ...
,
Ontario | Label_map = yes | image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg | map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. | coordinates = | capital = Toronto | largest_city ...
,
Quebec ) | image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | official_lang = French | capital = Quebec City | CapCoord = | largest_city ...
and
Prince Edward Island (''The small protected by the great'') | image_map = Prince Edward Island in Canada (special marker) 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | official_lang = English (''de facto'') | capital ...
– are divided into counties. In Ontario and Nova Scotia, provinces that have a two-tier system of municipal government, the counties constitute the upper tier and local municipalities form the lower tier.


New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

The counties of
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") | image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | capital = Fredericton | largest_city = Moncton | largest_metro = Great ...
and [[List of counties of Prince Edward Island|Prince Edward Island are historical and have no governments of their own today. However, they remain used as [[census divisions|census [[Census geographic units of Canada|divisions by [[Statistics Canada, and by locals as geographic identifiers.


Ontario

The primary administrative [[Ontario#Administrative divisions|division of Southern Ontario is its 22 counties, which are upper-tier local governments providing limited municipal services to rural and moderately dense areas—within them, there are a variety of lower-tier towns, cities, villages, etc. that provide most municipal services. This contrasts with Northern Ontario's 10 districts, which are geographic divisions but not local governments—although some towns, etc. are within them that are local governments, the low population densities and much larger area have significant impacts on how government is organized and operates. In both Northern and Southern Ontario, urban densities in cities are one of two other local structures: [[regional municipalities (restructured former counties which are also upper tiers) or single-tier municipalities.


Quebec

Quebec ) | image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg | Label_map = yes | coordinates = | official_lang = French | capital = Quebec City | CapCoord = | largest_city ...
's counties are more properly called "[[List of regional county municipalities and equivalent territories in Quebec|Regional County Municipalities" (). The province's [[List of former counties of Quebec|former counties proper were supplanted in the early 1980s.


Alberta

In [[Alberta, the term ''[[list of municipal districts in Alberta|county'' is synonymous with the term ''[[list of municipal districts in Alberta|municipal district'' – it is not its own incorporated municipal status that is different from that of a municipal district. As such, Alberta Municipal Affairs provides municipal districts with the opportunity to brand themselves either as ''municipal districts'' or ''counties'' in their official names. A ''county'' in Alberta used to be a type of designation in a single-tier municipal system; but this was changed to "[[list of municipal districts in Alberta|municipal district" under the ''Municipal Government Act'', when the ''County Act'' was repealed in the mid-1990s, at which time they were also permitted to retain the usage of ''county'' in their official names.


British Columbia

[[British Columbia has [[Counties of British Columbia|counties for the purposes of its justice system but otherwise they hold no governmental function. For the provision of all other governmental services, the province is divided into [[List of regional districts of British Columbia|regional districts that form the upper tier. They are subdivided into local municipalities that are partly autonomous, and unincorporated electoral areas that are governed directly by the regional districts.


Manitoba

The province of [[Manitoba was divided into [[List of former counties of Manitoba|counties; however, these counties were abolished in 1890.


Rest of Canada

The rest of Canada has only one level of municipal government. [[Manitoba and [[Saskatchewan are divided into rural and urban municipalities as their local subdivisions without any significant differentiation between the two. The [[Northwest Territories and [[Nunavut are divided into regions; however, these regional serve to streamline the delivery of territorial governmental services, and have no government of their own. [[Newfoundland and Labrador, and [[Yukon do not have any second-level administrative subdivision between the provincial/territorial government and their municipalities.


Jamaica

[[Jamaica is divided into 14 [[parishes of Jamaica|parishes which are grouped together into 3 historic [[counties of Jamaica|counties: [[Cornwall County, Jamaica|Cornwall, [[Middlesex County, Jamaica|Middlesex, and [[Surrey County, Jamaica|Surrey.


United States

Counties in [[U.S. states are [[Administrative division|administrative or [[political subdivision of the state in which their boundaries are drawn. In addition, the [[United States Census Bureau uses the term "county equivalent" to describe places that are comparable to counties, but called by different names. Today, 3,142 counties and county equivalents carve up the United States, ranging in number from 3 for [[Delaware to 254 for [[Texas. Forty-eight of the 50 U.S. states use the term "county", while Alaska and Louisiana use the terms "[[List of boroughs and census areas in Alaska|borough" and "[[List of parishes in Louisiana|parish", respectively, for analogous jurisdictions. A ''[[consolidated city-county'' such as [[Philadelphia and [[San Francisco is formed when a city and county merges into one unified jurisdiction. Conversely, an ''[[Independent city (United States)|independent city'' like [[Baltimore and [[St. Louis legally belongs to no county, i.e. no county even nominally exists in those places compared to a consolidated city-county where a county does legally exist in some form. The [[Washington, D.C.|District of Columbia, outside the jurisdiction of any state, is viewed by the U.S. Census Bureau as a single county equivalent. The specific governmental powers of counties vary widely between the states. They are generally the intermediate tier of state government, between the statewide tier and the immediately local government tier (typically a city, town/borough or village/township). Some of the governmental functions that a county may offer include judiciary, county prisons, land registration, enforcement of building codes, federally mandated services programs. Depending on the individual state, counties or their equivalents may be administratively subdivided into
townships ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia, Canada, Scotland and pa ...
, [[borough|boroughs or boros, or [[towns (in the [[New England states, [[New York (state)|New York, [[Pennsylvania, and [[Administrative divisions of Wisconsin|Wisconsin). For independent cities and consolidated city-counties, those places report directly to the state. [[New York City is a special case where the city is made up of [[Boroughs of New York City|five boroughs, each of which is territorially coterminous with a [[List of counties in New York|county of New York State. In the context of city government, the boroughs are subdivisions of the city but are still called "county" where state function is involved, e.g., "''New York County'' Courthouse". County governments in [[Rhode Island and [[Connecticut have been completely abolished but the entities remain for administrative or statistical purposes. Alaska's [[Unorganized Borough, Alaska|Unorganized Borough also has no county equivalent government, but the U.S. Census Bureau further divides it into statistical county equivalent subdivisions called [[List of boroughs and census areas in Alaska|census areas. The areas of each county also vary widely between the states. For example, the territorially medium-sized state of Pennsylvania has 67 counties delineated in geographically convenient ways. By way of contrast, [[Massachusetts, with far less territory, has massively sized counties in comparison even to Pennsylvania's largest, yet each organizes their judicial and incarceration officials similarly. Most counties have a
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and R ...
: a city, town, or other named place where its administrative functions are centered. Some [[New England states use the term [[shire town to mean "county seat". A handful of counties like [[Harrison County, Mississippi have two or more county seats, usually located on opposite sides of the county, dating back from the days when travel was difficult.


Asia–Pacific


Australia

In the [[eastern states of Australia, counties are [[lands administrative divisions of Australia|used in the administration of land titles. They do not generally correspond to a level of government, but are used in the identification of parcels of land.


People's Republic of China

The word ''county'' is used to translate the Chinese term ( or ). In [[Mainland China, governed by the People's Republic of China (PRC), counties are the [[County-level division|third level of local government, coming under both the [[Administrative divisions of China#Provincial level|province level and the [[Administrative divisions of China#County level|prefecture level. There are 1,464 counties in the PRC out of 2,862 county-level divisions. The number of counties 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, ''district'' was an older English translation of before the establishment of the [[Republic of China (1912–49)|Republic of China (ROC). The English nomenclature ''county'' was adopted following the establishment of the ROC. During most of the imperial era, there were no concepts like municipalities in China. All cities existed within counties, [[jun (country subdivision)|commanderies, prefectures, etc., and had no governments of their own. Large cities (must be imperial capitals or seats of prefectures) could be divided and administered by two or three counties. Such counties are called 倚郭縣 (, 'county leaning on the city walls') or (, 'county attached to the city walls'). The [[yamen or governmental houses of these counties exist in the same city. In other words, they share one county town. In this sense, a or is similar to a district of a city. For example, the city of [[Guangzhou (seat of the eponymous prefecture, also known as ''Canton'' in the Western world) was historically divided by [[Nanhai District#History|Nanhai County () and [[Panyu District#History|Panyu County (). When the first modern city government in China was established in Guangzhou, the urban area was separated from these two counties, with the rural areas left in the remaining parts of them. However, the county governments remained in the city for years, before moving into the respective counties. Similar processes happened in many Chinese cities. Nowadays, most counties in mainland China are administered by [[prefecture-level cities. However, they are all rural areas, and no longer serve as urban districts.


Iran

The [[Provinces of Iran|ostans (provinces) of [[Iran are further subdivided into counties called ( fa|شهرستان). County consists of a city centre, a few ( fa|بخش), and many villages around them. There are usually a few cities ( fa|شهر, ) and rural agglomerations ( fa|دهستان, ) 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 has a government office known as (), which coordinates different events and government offices. The , or the head of , is the governor of the . [[Fars Province has the highest number of , with 36, while [[Qom Province|Qom uniquely has one, being [[wiktionary:coextensive|coextensive with its [[Qom County|namesake county. Iran had 324 in 2005 and 443 in 2021.


Korea

County is the common English translation for the [[Korean character|character ( or ) that denotes the current second level political division in [[South Korea and one type of municipal-level division in [[North Korea.


New Zealand

After New Zealand abolished its [[provinces of New Zealand|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 [[subdivision (land)|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'' (e.g. [[Rotorua) or a change of name to either ''district'' (e.g. Waimairi) or ''city'' (e.g. [[Manukau City). The [[Local Government Act 1974 (New Zealand)|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".


Taiwan

''County'' is the common English translation for the [[chinese character|character ( zh|w=hsien4) that denotes the current first level political division in Taiwan and surrounding islands. However, [[provincial city (Taiwan)|provincial cities have the same level of authority as counties. Above county, there are [[special municipality (Taiwan)|special municipalities (in effect) and province (suspended due to economical and political reasons). There are currently 14 counties in Taiwan.


Europe


Denmark

[[Denmark was divided into counties ( da|amter) from 1662 to 2006. On 1 January 2007 the counties were replaced by five [[regions of Denmark|Regions. At the same time, the number of municipalities was slashed to 98. The counties were first introduced in 1662, replacing the 49 fiefs () 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 around 20 by 1793. Following the reunification of [[South Jutland County|South Jutland with Denmark in 1920, four counties replaced the [[Prussian . [[Aabenraa County|Aabenraa and [[Sønderborg County merged in 1932 and [[Skanderborg County|Skanderborg and [[Aarhus County|Aarhus were separated in 1942. From 1942 to 1970, the number stayed at 22. 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 five municipalities, forming the [[Bornholm|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.


France

A was a territory ruled by a
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility in certain European countries, varying in relative status, generally of middling rank in the hierarchy of nobility.Pine, L. G. ''Titles: How the King Became His Majesty''. New York: B ...
() in medieval France. In modern France, the rough equivalent of a county as used in many English-speaking countries is a [[departments of France|department ().


Germany

For the situation in Germany compare . Each administrative district consists of an elected council and an executive, and whose duties are comparable to those of a county executive in the United States, supervising local government administration. Historically, counties in the [[Holy Roman Empire were called .


Hungary

The administrative unit of [[Hungary is called (historically, they were also called ; in [[Latin), which can be translated with the word ''county''. The 19 counties constitute the highest level of the administrative subdivisions of the country together with the capital city Budapest, although counties and the capital are grouped into seven statistical regions. Counties are subdivided to municipalities, the two types of which are towns and villages, each one having their own elected mayor and council. 23 of the towns have the rights of a county although they do not form independent territorial units equal to counties. Municipalities are grouped within counties into subregions (), which have statistical and organizational functions only. The was also the historic administrative unit in the [[Kingdom of Hungary, which included areas of present-day neighbouring countries of Hungary. Its Latin name () is the equivalent of the French . Actual political and administrative role of counties changed much through history. Originally they were subdivisions of the royal administration, but from the 13th century they became self-governments of the nobles and kept this character until the 19th century when in turn they became modern local governments.


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 [[provinces of Ireland|four provinces: [[Leinster (12 counties), [[Munster (6), [[Connacht (5) and [[Ulster (9). Historically, the counties of [[County Meath|Meath and [[County Westmeath|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, , means 'a fifth': from , 'five'); however, these have long since been absorbed into Leinster. 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 divided into three: [[Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, [[Fingal, and [[South Dublin; the [[City of Dublin had existed for centuries before. The cities of [[Cork (city)|Cork and [[Galway have been separated from the town and rural areas of their counties. The cities of [[Limerick and [[Waterford were merged with their respective counties in 2014. Thus, the Republic of Ireland now has 31 'county-level' authorities, although the borders of the original twenty-six counties are still officially in place. 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 [[Gaelic Athletic Association county has its own flag/colours (and often a nickname), and county allegiances are taken quite seriously. See the [[counties of Ireland and the [[Gaelic Athletic Association.


Italy

In [[Italy the word ''county'' is not used; the administrative sub-division of a region is called . [[Italy|Italian provinces are mainly named after their principal town and comprise several administrative subdivisions called ('communes'). There are currently 110 provinces in Italy. In the context of pre-modern Italy, the Italian word generally refers to the countryside surrounding, and controlled by, the city state. The provided natural resources and agricultural products to sustain the urban population. In contemporary usage, can refer to a metropolitan area, and in some cases large rural/suburban regions providing resources to distant cities.


Lithuania

(plural ) 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.


Norway

Norway has been divided into 11 [[counties of Norway|counties ( nb|fylker, nn|fylke; singular: ) since 2020; they previously numbered 19 following a local government reform in 1972. Until that year [[Bergen was a separate county, but today it is a
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipality'' may also mean the ...
within the county of [[Vestland. All counties form administrative entities called county municipalities ( or ; singular: ), further subdivided into [[list of municipalities of Norway|municipalities ( or ; singular: ). One county, [[Oslo, is not divided into municipalities, rather it is equivalent to the municipality of Oslo. Each county has its own [[county council (Norway)|county council () whose representatives are elected every four years together with representatives to the [[municipal council (Norway)|municipal councils. The counties handle matters such as high schools and local roads, and until 1 January 2002 hospitals as well. This last responsibility was transferred to the state-run [[regional health authority (Norway)|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 Party (Norway)|Conservative and [[Progress Party (Norway)|Progress Party, call for the abolition of the county municipalities once and for all, while others, including the [[Labour Party (Norway)|Labour Party, merely want to merge some of them into larger regions.


Poland

A second-level administrative division in [[Poland is called a . This is a subdivision of a [[voivodeship (Poland)|voivodeship, or province, and is further subdivided into s. The term is often translated into English as ''county'' (or sometimes ''district'').


Romania

Romania is divided into [[counties of Romania|42 jurisdictions; a jurisdiction is called a . The Romanian word for county, , is not currently used for any Romanian administrative divisions.


Sweden

The Swedish division into [[counties of Sweden|counties was established in 1634, and was based on an earlier division into [[provinces of Sweden|provinces; [[Sweden is today divided into 21 counties. At the county level there is a [[county Administrative Boards of Sweden|county administrative board led by a governor appointed by the central [[government of Sweden, as well as an elected [[county councils of Sweden|county council that handles a separate set of issues, notably [[hospitals and [[public transportation for the [[municipalities of Sweden|municipalities within its borders. The Swedish term used is , which literally means '[[fief'.


United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is divided into a number of [[metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England|metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. There are also [[ceremonial counties of England|ceremonial counties which group small non-metropolitan counties into geographical areas broadly based on the
historic counties of England History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...
. In 1974, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties replaced the system of [[administrative counties of England|administrative counties and [[county boroughs which was introduced in 1889. The counties generally belong to level 3 of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics ([[Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics#Former EU state|NUTS 3). Most non-metropolitan counties in England are run by [[county councils and are divided into [[non-metropolitan districts, each with its own council. Local authorities in the UK are usually responsible for education, emergency services, planning, transport, social services, and a number of other functions. In England, in the [[Anglo-Saxon England|Anglo-Saxon period, ''shires'' were established as areas used for the raising of [[taxes, and usually had a fortified town at their centre. This became known as the ''shire town'' or later the [[county town. In many cases, the shires were named after their shire town (for example Bedford''shire''), but there are several exceptions, such as [[Cumberland, [[Norfolk and [[Suffolk. In several other cases, such as [[Buckinghamshire, the modern county town is different from the town after which the shire is named. (See [[Toponymical list of counties of the United Kingdom) The name "county" was introduced by the
Normans The Normans (Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la|Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from Norse Vikings (after whom Normandy was named), indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. The term is ...
, 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 were originally more or less 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. In the Gaelic form, Scottish traditional county names are generally distinguished by the designation —literally "sheriffdom", e.g. (Argyllshire). This term corresponds to the jurisdiction of the sheriff in the Scottish legal system. Until 1974, the county boundaries of England changed little over time. In the [[medieval 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. In 1844, most of these exclaves were transferred to their surrounding counties. In 1965 and 1974–1975, major reorganisations of local government in England and Wales created several new administrative counties such as [[Hereford and Worcester and also created several new [[metropolitan county|metropolitan counties based on large urban areas as a single administrative unit. In Scotland, county-level local government was replaced by larger [[local government areas of Scotland 1973 to 1996|regions, which lasted until 1996. Modern local government in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a large part of England is trending towards smaller unitary authorities: a system similar to that proposed in the 1960s by the [[Redcliffe-Maud Report for most of Britain.


Notes


References


External links

* {{Authority control [[Category:Counties| [[Category:Types of administrative division