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The Districts of Portugal ( pt, Distritos de Portugal), are the most important first-level administrative subdivisions of
continental Portugal Continental Portugal ( pt, Portugal continental, ) or mainland Portugal comprises the bulk of the Portuguese Republic Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a whose mainland is located ...
. Currently, mainland Portugal is divided into 18
district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipal ...

district
s. The Portuguese Autonomous Regions of Açores and
Madeira Madeira ( , , ), officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira ( pt, Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in t ...

Madeira
are no longer divided into districts. As an administrative division, each district served mainly as the area of
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
of a civil governor, who acted as the local delegate of the Central Government of Portugal.


Overview

The Districts of Portugal were established by a royal decree of 18 July 1835. On the Portuguese mainland, they correspond to the current districts, with the exception of Setúbal District, which is the result of a split of Lisbon District in 1926. This decree didn't affect the then extensive colonial empire. The
Portuguese Constitution of 1976 The present Constitution of Portugal was adopted in 1976 after the Carnation Revolution. It was preceded by a number of constitutions including the Portuguese Constitution of 1822, first one created in 1822 (following the Liberal Revolution of ...
specifies that Portugal has only, as first level divisions, the
autonomous regions An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
(
Azores The Azores ( , also ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal The two Autonomous Regions of Portugal ( pt, Regiões Autónomas de Portugal) are the Azores (''Região ...

Azores
and
Madeira Madeira ( , , ), officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira ( pt, Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in t ...

Madeira
) and the
administrative regions 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 ...
(to be created in mainland Portugal). According to the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
, the districts shall be disestablished in the territories where an autonomous or administrative region has been created. So, the districts were abolished in
Azores The Azores ( , also ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal The two Autonomous Regions of Portugal ( pt, Regiões Autónomas de Portugal) are the Azores (''Região ...

Azores
and
Madeira Madeira ( , , ), officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira ( pt, Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in t ...

Madeira
when these
autonomous regions An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
were created, in 1976. In 1998, a proposal was submitted to
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
to create eight administrative regions in mainland Portugal, and, therefore, to extinguish the districts. This proposal was rejected in the ballot and so the districts continued to exist in mainland Portugal. It is worth noting that, despite their abolition in the autonomous regions, the areas of the three former districts of Azores are still used as areas of jurisdiction of some Government and non-government entities, like the district finance directorates (Tax Authority regional offices) or the district football championships. However, the importance of the districts has been decreasing. In recent years, some administrative, financial and political competencies have been delivered to the CCDR's (Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional, English:Commission for Regional Coordination and Development) and to the municipalities, to the detriment of the districts. In 2003, the Portuguese municipalities were allowed to organize themselves into intermunicipal communities (''comunidades intermunicipais'') and metropolitan areas (''áreas metropolitanas''), which allowed for a lessening in the importance of the districts. Besides, the abolition of the districts is a subject that came back for discussion in Portuguese society. In 2009, during the campaign for the legislative election of 2009, the leader of the
Socialist Party Socialist Party is the name of many different political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas abo ...
,
José Sócrates José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, Order of Prince Henry, GCIH (born 6 September 1957), commonly known as José Sócrates (), is a Portugal, Portuguese politician who was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 12 March 2005 to 21 June 2011. Fo ...

José Sócrates
, promised a new referendum to the administrative regions and therefore, the abolition of districts, if he won the election. Other personalities support the creation of administrative regions and therefore the abolition of districts. Nowadays, despite being in the process of being phased out due to the decentralisation policies of the government, the districts still remain the most relevant subdivision in the country, serving as a basis for a series of administrative divisions such as electoral constituencies,
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...

police
and
civil protection Civil defense (civil defence in UK English) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology Terminology is a general word for the ...
regional commands, sports district associations and championships. On September 8, 2011, a decree from the Portuguese Government ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' extinguished all the offices of civil governor, transferring most of their functions to other bodies. As the existence of the civil governors is still included in the Portuguese Constitution, its ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' extinction can only be done after a constitutional amendment.


Present purpose

In mainland Portugal, for administrative purposes, the districts are still used as the areas of jurisdiction of the local branches and field offices of several Government ministries and agencies. Some of the bodies that have each district as their jurisdiction area are: * District and metropolitan commands of the
Public Security Police In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociology, sociological concept of the ''Ö ...
; * Territorial commands of the
Portuguese National Republican Guard The National Republican Guard ( pt, Guarda Nacional Republicana) or GNR is the national gendarmerie force of Portugal. Members of the GNR are military personnel, subject to military law and organisation, unlike the agents of the civilian Políci ...
; * District rescue operations commands of the National Civil Protection Authority; * Finance directorates of the Ministry of Finance / Tax and Customs Authority (in this case, including the former districts of Azores, that are still used as the jurisdiction areas for the three finance directorates existing in this autonomous region); * District Social Security centers of the Portuguese Social Security; * District motor vehicle delegations of the Mobility and Land Transports Institute; * District archives of the Directorate-General of Archives; * Regional delegations of the
Estradas de PortugalIn November 2007, EP Estradas de Portugal SA became the successor to EP - Estradas de Portugal, E.P.E. (List of acronyms and initialisms: A#AK, a.k.a. Estradas de Portugal or EP) which had been the agency responsible for administering the roads in Po ...
(Road Agency). Furthermore: * The area of each of the 18 electoral constituencies (''círculo eleitoral'', electoral circle) of mainland Portugal coincides with the area of each district; * In the new judicial division of Portugal, the area of each of the ''
comarca A ''comarca'' (, or ) is a traditional region or local administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as ma ...
s'' (first instance judicial districts) of mainland Portugal coincides with the area of an administrative district (with the exception of the ''comarcas'' of
Greater Lisbon Grande Lisboa (; en, Greater Lisbon) is a former Portuguese NUTS III subregion integrated in the Lisboa Region. It was abolished at the January 2015 NUTS 3 revision. It is part of the historical Estremadura Province. It includes the capital a ...
and Greater Oporto). For non-Government purposes, the districts are used as the area of jurisdiction of many entities, including: * The regional organizations of the major political parties, * The regional organizations of most of the Portuguese sports federations (
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...
, athletics, roller skating, etc.) and its district championships (including the three former districts of Açores); * Regional federations of trade unions; * District delegations of the Institutions of Engineers.


List


Former districts of Portugal


Azores

* Angra do Heroísmo District – 1835 to 1976 * Horta District – 1835 to 1976 * Ponta Delgada District – 1835 to 1976


Madeira

* – 1835 to 1976


Mainland Portugal

* Lamego District – in 1835 and 1919


Districts of the Portuguese Overseas

Following the model of European Portugal, the major Portuguese overseas territories (
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...
,
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...
and
Portuguese India The State of India ( pt, Estado da Índia), also referred as the Portuguese State of India (''Estado Português da Índia'', EPI) or simply Portuguese India (''Índia Portuguesa''), was a List of states of the Portuguese Empire, colonial state ...

Portuguese India
) were also divided in districts. In these territories, each district was headed by a district governor, subordinated to the governor-general. In
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
and
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...

Mozambique
, the former district areas mostly coincide with the modern province areas. In the former Portuguese India, the Damão and Diu districts are still divisions of the present union territory of
Daman and Diu Daman and Diu (; Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''Damão e Diu''; ) is a district of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Harveli and Daman and Diu union territory in western India. It was a separate union territory u ...
, while the present state of
Goa Goa () is a state on the southwestern coast of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the ...

Goa
(former Goa District) is now divided into two districts.


Angola

* Bengo * Benguela District * Bié * Cabinda * Cuando-Cubango District * Cuanza Norte District * Cuanza Sul District * Cunene *
Huambo District
Huambo District
* Huíla * Luanda District * Lunda Norte District * Lunda Sul District *
Malanje District
Malanje District
* Moxico * Moçâmedes District * Uíge District * Zaire District


Mozambique

* Niassa District * Cabo Delgado District * Nampula District * Zambézia District * Tete District *
Manica District Manica District is a Districts of Mozambique, district of Manica Province in western Mozambique. The principal town is Manica, Mozambique, Manica. The district is located in the west of the province, and borders with Báruè District in the north, V ...
* Sofala District * Gaza District * Inhambane District * Lourenço Marques District


Portuguese India

*
Goa District
Goa District
* Damão District *
Diu District Diu district is one of the three Districts of Daman and Diu, districts of the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu of India. The district is made up of Diu Island and two small enclaves on the Indian mainland. The district ...


See also

* Ranked list of Portuguese districts *
Subdivisions of Portugal The subdivisions of Portugal are based on a complicated administrative structure. The second-level administrative division, after the 5 list of regions and sub-regions of Portugal, regions and 2 Autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions ...


References

;Notes ;Sources * * {{Administrative divisions of Portugal Subdivisions of Portugal
Districts A district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic ...
Portugal 1 Districts, Portugal