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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 administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government re ...
,
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 (po ...
, or capital city of 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 derived from the Old French ...
or
civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authorit ...
. 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 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 America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a W ...
of
Vermont Vermont () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York (state), New York to the west, and the Provinces and territories of ...

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 County (United States), county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River direct ...
(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, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain mo ...
. 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 , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capital = Toronto , larges ...

Ontario
,
Quebec ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = Quebec French, French , capital = Quebec City , CapCoord = , l ...

Quebec
,
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Fredericton , largest_city = Moncton , largest_metro = ...

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 (''de facto In law an ...

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 billion ...
or the
Republic of China 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 No ...

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 and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest ...
and were set up nationwide by the 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 Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

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 dynas ...
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 and reinstalled the rule of ethnic Han in the entirety of China proper, along with sinicization ...
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 ancient Rome, a '' magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both judici ...
, 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 ...
mostly resembled that of the later years of
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
. 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 (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient histo ...

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 Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since Proclamation of ...

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 () or Kingdom of Formosa was a government that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, Peopl ...

Kingdom of Tungning
. The later ruler
Qing empire The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford Univers ...
inherited this type of administrative divisions. With the increase of
Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
Hanzu, or Han peopleProtestant missionaries in China first romanized the term as hien. When
Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main islan ...
became a 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 in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the north ...
, 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 (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery , LargestCity = Huntsville, Alabama, Huntsville , LargestCounty = Baldwin County, Ala ...
,
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 lan ...
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Wester ...
,
Iowa Iowa () is a state in the Midwestern region of 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 Ameri ...

Iowa
,
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to the north; West Virginia and Virginia to ...
,
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 Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island ...

Massachusetts
,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of 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 No ...
,
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 C ...

Missouri
,
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) 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 newspap ...

New Hampshire
, New York, and
Vermont Vermont () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York (state), New York to the west, and the Provinces and territories of ...

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 seats of Harrison County, Mississippi, United States (the other seat being the adjoining city of Gulfport). The 2010 United States Census The United States Census of 2010 was the twenty-third Unit ...
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, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
*
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, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term ...
*
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 (United States), county located in the Northern Kentucky, northern part of the Kentucky, Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 159,720, making it the List of countie ...
*
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 state ...
*
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 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 loca ...
*
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. Its county seats are Water Valley, Mississippi, Water Valley and Coffeeville ...
*
Jackson County, Missouri Jackson County is located in the western portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, the population was 717,204. The estimated population in 2021 is 719,511 making it the second-most populous county in ...
*
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 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 400,721. The population was estimated at 417,025 in 2019. Its county se ...
*
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 (United States), county in the U.S. state of Vermont. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 37,125. The shire towns (county seats) are jointly Bennington, Vermont, Bennington ("The Souths ...


Other variations


New England

In
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

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 New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by ...
(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: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode ...
have no county level of government and thus no county seats, and
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 Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island ...

Massachusetts
has dissolved many but not all of its county governments. In
Vermont Vermont () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York (state), New York to the west, and the Provinces and territories of ...

Vermont
,
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 Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island ...

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 Atlantic Ocean 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 systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administra ...
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 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 ...
), both located in the respective shire town. Bennington County, Vermont has two shire towns (
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England North West England is one of nine official regions of England and consists of the counties of Cheshire, Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial cou ...

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 U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States, between the East Coast of the United St ...

Virginia
, a county seat may be an independent city 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 of Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern ...
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 ...
s of the county surrounded by the independent city, such as in Fairfax. Others, such as
Prince William A prince is a male ruler (ranked below a king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a ...
, 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 of Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern ...
( 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: R ...

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 and the county town of Bedfordshire, England. At the 2011 Census, the population of the Bedford built-up area (including Biddenham and Kempston) was 106,940, whilst the Borough of Bedford had a population of 157 ...
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: /otʃʰeːtʰi ʃakoːwĩ/) are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The modern Sioux consist of two major divisions based on lang ...

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 and 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 Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard v ...

Louisiana
, which is divided into
parishes A parish is a territorial entity in many Christianity, Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese. A parish is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a priest#Christianity, priest, often termed a parish priest, ...
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