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A county seat is an
administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Township, commune is located. In countries with French as one of their administrative languages ( ...
,
seat of government The seat of government is (as defined by ''Brewer's Politics'') "the building, complex of buildings or the city from which a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state ...
, or capital city of a
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...
or
civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts ...
. The term is used in Canada, China, Hungary, Romania, and the United States. The equivalent term shire town is used in the
U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Due to this shared sovereignty, are both of t ...
of
Vermont Vermont () is a 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), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
and in some other English-speaking jurisdictions.
County town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer ...
s have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, as well as historically in Jamaica.


Function

In most of the United States,
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
are the
political subdivisions
political subdivisions
of a state. The city, town, or populated place that houses county government is known as the seat of its respective county. Generally, the county legislature, county courthouse, sheriff's department headquarters, hall of records, jail and correctional facility are located in the county seat, though some functions (such as highway maintenance, which usually requires a large garage for vehicles, along with asphalt and salt storage facilities) may also be located or conducted in other parts of the county, especially if it is geographically large. A county seat is usually, but not always, an incorporated municipality. The exceptions include the county seats of counties that have no incorporated municipalities within their borders, such as
Arlington County, Virginia Arlington County is a in the , often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. The county is situated in on the southwestern bank of the directly across from the , of which it was , under the name Alexandria County. The county ...
(where the county seat is the entire county).
Ellicott City Ellicott City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in, and the county seat of, Howard County, Maryland, Howard County, Maryland, United States. Part of the Baltimore metropolitan area, its population was 65,834 at the United ...

Ellicott City
, the county seat of Howard County, is the largest unincorporated county seat in the United States, followed by
Towson Towson () is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated community and a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The population was 55,197 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Baltimo ...
, the county seat of
Baltimore County, Maryland Baltimore County is the third-most populous county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers ...
. Likewise, some county seats may not be incorporated in their own right, but are located within incorporated municipalities. For example,
Cape May Court House, New Jersey Cape May Court House is an Local government in New Jersey#Unincorporated communities, unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Middle Township, New Jersey, Middle Township in Cape May County, New Jersey, Cape May Co ...
, though unincorporated, is a section of Middle Township, an incorporated municipality. In some of the colonial states, county seats include or formerly included "Court House" as part of their name, (e.g.
Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia Spotsylvania Courthouse is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been use ...
).


Canada

The Canadian
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are gene ...
of
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capi ...

Ontario
,
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
,
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Fredericton Fredericton (; ) is the capital of the Provinces and territor ...

New Brunswick
,
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 language, English (''d ...

Prince Edward Island
, and
Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , RegionalLang = French, Scots Gaelic , capital ...

Nova Scotia
have counties as an administrative division of government below the provincial level, and thus county seats. In the provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia the term "shire town" is used in place of county seat.


China

County seats in China are the administrative centers of the counties in the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
or the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
. ''Xian'' have existed since the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
and were set up nationwide by the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
. The number of counties in
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the -led to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of . There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultura ...

China proper
gradually increased from dynasty to dynasty. As
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dyna ...
reorganized the counties after his unification, there were about 1,000. Under the Eastern
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, the number of counties increased to above 1,000. About 1400 existed when the
Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earli ...

Sui dynasty
abolished the
commandery In the Middle Ages, a commandery (rarely commandry) was the smallest administrative division of the European landed estate, landed properties of a Military order (religious society), military order. It was also the name of the house where the knight ...
level (郡 jùn), which was the level just above counties, and demoted some commanderies to counties. In Imperial China, the county was a significant administrative unit because it marked the lowest level of the imperial bureaucratic structure; in other words, it was the lowest level that the government reached. Government below the county level was often undertaken through informal non-bureaucratic means, varying between dynasties. The head of a county was the
magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In , a ' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both and powers. In other parts of t ...
, who oversaw both the day-to-day operations of the county as well as civil and criminal cases. The current number of
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...

counties
mostly resembled that of the later years of
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
. Changes of location and names of counties in
Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

Chinese history
have been a major field of research in Chinese historical geography, especially from the 1960s to the 1980s. There are 1,355 counties in
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

Mainland China
out of a total of 2,851 county-level divisions. In Taiwan, the first counties were first established in 1661 by the
Kingdom of Tungning The Kingdom of Tungning (), also known as Tywan by the British at the time, pp. 347–348. was a dynastic Thalassocracy, maritime state that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan) and Penghu islands between 1661 and 1683, and regarded as th ...

Kingdom of Tungning
. The later ruler
Qing empire The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
inherited this type of administrative divisions. With the increase of
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
population in Taiwan, the number of counties also grew by time. By the end of Qing era, there were 11 counties in Taiwan. Protestant missionaries in China first romanized the term as hien. When
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...
became a
Japanese colony
Japanese colony
in 1895, the hierarchy of divisions also incorporated into the Japanese system in the period when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. By September 1945, Taiwan was divided into 8
prefectures A prefecture (from the Latin ''Praefectura'') is an administrative jurisdiction traditionally governed by an appointed prefect. This can be a regional or local government subdivision in various countries, or a subdivision in certain international ...

prefectures
( and ), which remained after the Republic of China took over Taiwan. Currently there are 13 county seats in Taiwan, which are in the forms of
county-administered city A county-administered city ( is a unit of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar ter ...
, urban township or rural township.


Lists of ROC county seats by county


United States


U.S. counties with more than one county seat

Most counties have only one county seat. However, some counties in
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
,
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
Iowa Iowa () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states: Wiscon ...

Iowa
,
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a 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), ...
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
,
Missouri Missouri is a 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), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
,
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the nor ...

New Hampshire
, New York, and
Vermont Vermont () is a 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), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
have two or more county seats, usually located on opposite sides of the county. An example is
Harrison County, Mississippi Harrison County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
, which lists both
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
and Gulfport as county seats, and
Hinds County, Mississippi Hinds County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 245,285, making it the most populous county in Mississippi. Its county seats are Raymon ...
, which lists both
Raymond Raymond is a male given name. It was borrowed into English from French (older French spellings were Reimund and Raimund (disambiguation), Raimund, whereas the modern English and French spellings are identical). It originated as the Germanic langu ...
and the state capital of
Jackson Jackson may refer to: People * Jackson (name), including a list of people with the surname or given name, with nicknames including "Jackson" "Jacky" or "Jack" Places Australia *Jackson, Queensland, a town in the Maranoa Region *Jackson North, ...
. The practice of multiple county seat towns dates from the days when travel was difficult. There have been few efforts to eliminate the two-seat arrangement, since a county seat is a source of pride (and jobs) for the towns involved. There are 36 counties with multiple county seats (no more than two each) in 11 states: *
Coffee County, Alabama Coffee County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is d ...
* St. Clair County, Alabama *
Arkansas County, Arkansas Arkansas County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 19,019. Located in the Arkansas Delta, the county has two county seats, De Witt, Arkans ...
*
Carroll County, Arkansas Carroll County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Clay County, Arkansas Clay County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is deri ...
*
Craighead County, Arkansas Craighead County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term i ...
*
Franklin County, Arkansas Franklin County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Logan County, Arkansas Logan County (formerly Sarber County) is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 22,353. Its two county seats are Booneville, Arkansas, Booneville and Paris, Arkansas, ...
*
Mississippi County, Arkansas Mississippi County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term ...
*
Prairie County, Arkansas Prairie County is in the Central Arkansas region of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The County (United States), county is named for the Arkansas Delta#Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, a subregion of the Arkansas Delta known for rice cultivation and aquacu ...
*
Sebastian County, Arkansas Sebastian County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William an ...
*
Yell County, Arkansas Yell County is a County (United States), county in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 22,185. The county has two county seats, Dardanelle, Arkansas, Dardanelle and Danville, Arkansas, ...
*
Columbia County, Georgia Columbia County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William ...
*
Lee County, Iowa Lee County, Iowa, was established in 1836. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 35,862. It has two county seats — Fort Madison, Iowa, Fort Madison and Keokuk, Iowa, Keokuk. Lee County is part of the Fort Madison& ...
*
Campbell County, Kentucky Campbell County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Kenton County, Kentucky Kenton County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and ...
*
Essex County, Massachusetts Essex County is a County (United States), county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. At the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, the total population was 809,829, making it the third-most populous county in the stat ...
*
Middlesex County, Massachusetts Middlesex County is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders on the Atlant ...
*
Plymouth County, Massachusetts Plymouth County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Bolivar County, Mississippi Bolivar County ( ) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term i ...
*
Carroll County, Mississippi Carroll County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is de ...
*
Chickasaw County, Mississippi Chickasaw County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Harrison County, Mississippi Harrison County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
Hinds County, Mississippi Hinds County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 245,285, making it the most populous county in Mississippi. Its county seats are Raymon ...
*
Jasper County, Mississippi Jasper County is located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 17,062. As of 1906, the state legislature established two county courts, one at the first county seat of Paulding, Missi ...
*
Jones County, Mississippi Jones County is in the southeastern portion of the of . As of the , the population was 67,246. Its s are and . Jones County is part of the . History Less than a decade after Mississippi became the country's 20th state, settlers organized thi ...
*
Panola County, Mississippi Panola County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 34,707. Its county seats are Sardis, Mississippi, Sardis and Batesville, Mississippi, B ...
*
Tallahatchie County, Mississippi Tallahatchie County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term ...
*
Yalobusha County, Mississippi Yalobusha County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 12,678. It has two county seats, Water Valley, Mississippi, Water Valley and Cof ...
*
Jackson County, Missouri Jackson County is located in the western portion of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primar ...
*
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire Hillsborough County is the most populous County (United States), county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, the population was 422,937. Its county seats are Manchester, New Hampshire, Manchester ...
*
Seneca County, New York Seneca County is located in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North Ame ...
*
Bennington County, Vermont Bennington County is a county 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 ...


Other variations


New England

In
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
, the town, not the county, is the primary division of local government. Historically, counties in this region have served mainly as dividing lines for the states' judicial systems.
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
(since 1960) and
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as ...
have no county level of government and thus no county seats, and
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
has dissolved many but not all of its county governments. In
Vermont Vermont () is a 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), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
, and
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...

Maine
the county seats are legally designated ''shire towns''. County government consists only of a
Superior Court In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' i ...
and
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 ...
(as an
officer of the court In common law jurisdictions the generic term officer of the court is applied to all those who, in some degree in the function of their professional or similar qualifications, have a part in the legal system. Officers of the court should not be conf ...
), both located in the respective shire town. Bennington County, Vermont has two shire towns (
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguis ...

Manchester
for the ''North Shire'', Bennington, for the ''South Shire''), but the Sheriff is located in Bennington.


Virginia

In
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a 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), '' ...

Virginia
, a county seat may be an
independent city An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity (such as a province). Historical precursors In the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imp ...
surrounded by, but not part of, the county of which it is the administrative center; for example, Fairfax City is both the county seat of
Fairfax County Fairfax County, officially the County of Fairfax, is located in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Part of Northern Virginia, Fairfax County borders both the City of Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria a ...
and completely surrounded by Fairfax County, but the city is politically independent of the county. When the county seat is in the independent city, government offices such as the courthouse may be in the independent city under an agreement, such as in Albemarle, or may in be
enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly ...
s of the county surrounded by the independent city, such as in Fairfax. Others, such as
Prince William Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982) is a member of the British royal family The British royal family comprises and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition ...
, have the courthouse in an enclave surrounded by the independent city and have the county government, the Board of Supervisors, in a different part of the county, far from the county seat. The following counties have their county seat in an independent city: *
Albemarle County Albemarle County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term i ...
(
Charlottesville Charlottesville, colloquially known as C'ville, is an independent city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is th ...
) * Alleghany County ( Covington) * Augusta County ( Staunton) *
Fairfax County Fairfax County, officially the County of Fairfax, is located in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Part of Northern Virginia, Fairfax County borders both the City of Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria a ...
( Fairfax) * Frederick County (
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...

Winchester
) * Greensville County ( Emporia) *
Henry County Henry may refer to: People *Henry (given name) *Henry (surname) * Henry Lau, a K-pop singer who performs under the mononym Henry Royalty * Portuguese royalty ** King-Cardinal Henry, King of Portugal ** Henry, Count of Portugal, Henry of Burgu ...
( Martinsville) *
James City County James City County is a county (United States), county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 67,009. Although politically separate from the county, the county seat is the adjace ...
( Williamsburg) *
Prince William County Prince William County is located on the Potomac River in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 402,002, on July 1, 2019, the population ...
( Manassas) * Roanoke County ( Salem) * Rockbridge County ( Lexington) *
Rockingham CountyRockingham County is the name of three counties in the United States of America: *Rockingham County, New Hampshire *Rockingham County, North Carolina *Rockingham County, Virginia {{Geodis, uscounty ...
( Harrisonburg) As well,
Bedford Bedford is a historic market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *M ...
was an independent city from 1968 to 2013, while also being the county seat of
Bedford CountyBedford County is the name of several counties in the United States: * Bedford County, Pennsylvania * Bedford County, Tennessee * Bedford County, Virginia Bedford County may also refer to: * Bedford County, Lower Canada, a historical county that ...
. Bedford reverted to an incorporated town, and remains the county seat, though is now part of the county.


South Dakota

Two counties in
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dakot ...

South Dakota
(
Oglala Lakota The Oglala (pronounced , meaning "to scatter one's own" in Lakota language Lakota (), also referred to as Lakhota, Teton or Teton Sioux, is a Siouan languages, Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. Lakota is mutually ...
and
Todd Todd or Todds may refer to: Places ;Australia: *Todd River, an ephemeral river ;United States: *Todd, California *Todd, Missouri *Todd, North Carolina *Todd County, Kentucky *Todd County, Minnesota *Todd County, South Dakota *Todd Fork, a river ...
) have their county seat and government services centered in a neighboring county. Their county-level services are provided by Fall River County, South Dakota, Fall River County and Tripp County, South Dakota, Tripp County, respectively.{{cite web, last= Sdcounties.org, title= Shannon County, South Dakota, url= https://oglalalakota.sdcounties.org/, access-date= 1 May 2015, archive-url= https://web.archive.org/web/20120425051054/https://oglalalakota.sdcounties.org/, archive-date= 1 May 2015,


Louisiana

In Louisiana, which is divided into List of parishes in Louisiana, parishes rather than counties, county seats are referred to as ''parish seats''.


Alaska

Alaska is divided into boroughs rather than counties; the county seat in these case is referred to as the "borough seat"; this includes six consolidated city-borough governments (one of which is styled as a "municipality"). The Unorganized Borough, which covers 49% of Alaska's area, has no borough government or borough seat.


Lists of U.S. county seats by state

The state with the most counties is Texas, with 254, and the state with the fewest counties is Delaware, with 3. {, border="0" , - , * List of Alabama county seats, Alabama * List of Alaska borough seats, Alaska * List of Arizona county seats, Arizona * List of Arkansas county seats, Arkansas * List of California county seats, California * List of county seats in Colorado, Colorado * List of Connecticut county seats, Connecticut * List of Delaware county seats, Delaware * List of county seats in Florida, Florida * List of county seats in Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia , * List of Hawaii county seats, Hawaii * List of Idaho county seats, Idaho * List of Illinois county seats, Illinois * List of Indiana county seats, Indiana * List of Iowa county seats, Iowa * List of Kansas county seats, Kansas * List of Kentucky county seats, Kentucky * List of Louisiana parish seats, Louisiana * List of Maine county seats, Maine * List of Maryland county seats, Maryland , * List of Massachusetts county seats, Massachusetts * List of Michigan county seats, Michigan * List of Minnesota county seats, Minnesota * List of Mississippi county seats, Mississippi * List of Missouri county seats, Missouri * List of Montana county seats, Montana * List of Nebraska county seats, Nebraska * List of Nevada county seats, Nevada * List of New Hampshire county seats, New Hampshire * List of New Jersey county seats, New Jersey , * List of New Mexico county seats, New Mexico * List of New York county seats, New York * List of North Carolina county seats, North Carolina * List of North Dakota county seats, North Dakota * List of Ohio county seats, Ohio * List of Oklahoma county seats, Oklahoma * List of Oregon county seats, Oregon * List of Pennsylvania county seats, Pennsylvania * List of Rhode Island county seats, Rhode Island * List of South Carolina county seats, South Carolina , * List of South Dakota county seats, South Dakota * List of counties in Tennessee, Tennessee * List of Texas county seats, Texas * List of Utah county seats, Utah * List of Vermont county seats, Vermont * List of Virginia county seats, Virginia * List of Washington county seats, Washington * List of West Virginia county seats, West Virginia * List of Wisconsin county seats, Wisconsin * List of Wyoming county seats, Wyoming


See also

* Administrative centre, Chef-lieu, administrative centres in Algeria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Tunisia * County seat war *
County town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer ...
, administrative centres in Ireland and the UK * Municipality, equivalent to ''county'' in many countries


References

{{reflist


External links


National Association of Counties
Counties, Seat