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A capital district, capital region or capital territory is normally a specially designated administrative division where a country's seat of government is located. As such, in a federal model of government, no state or territory has any political or economic advantage relative to the others because of the national capital lying within its borders. A capital territory can be a specific form of federal district.

A distinction should be made from administrative divisions which include national capitals, but have no special designated status legally (for example, Île de France has no distinct quality from other regions of France). Some federal countries (like Belgium and Germany), give their national capitals the status as full, equal federal units.

Some federal countries have made no distinction administratively for the territory around the capital. A few federal countries have their national capitals located in the capital city of a federal state: Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of federal units and de jure capital of Republika Srpska, the other federal unit; further, Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is the capital of the Canton of Bern.

Two national capitals in federal countries are neither federal units, special capital districts, nor capitals of federal units: Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and Palikir, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia. The Canadian government does designate the Ottawa area as the National Capital Region, although this term merely represents the jurisdictional area of the government agency that administers federally owned lands and buildings, and is not an actual political unit. The city of Ottawa is governed as a regular city.

In some non-federal countries there are capital cities that do not belong to any region, but have a special status, for example Oslo in Norway. In some countries the region including the capital does not have special significance, but have names hinting that. For example, the Capital Region of Denmark is a name of a normal national region.

The following have a special administrative district or territory for their national capital cities:

Terminology

Class name Term for capital Example
Capital area Yes Seoul Capital Area
Capital district Yes Distrito Capital (Colombia); Capital District (Venezuela); Capital District, New York; Niamey Capital District
Capital region Yes Capital Region of Denmark
Capital territory Yes Australian Capital Territory, Islamabad Capital Territory
Federal capital territory Yes Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Federal district No Distrito Federal (Mexico)
National capital district Yes Île de France has no distinct quality from other regions of France). Some federal countries (like Belgium and Germany), give their national capitals the status as full, equal federal units.

Some federal countries have made no distinction administratively for the territory around the capital. A few federal countries have their national capitals located in the capital city of a federal state: Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of federal units and de jure capital of Republika Srpska, the other federal unit; further, Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is the capital of the Canton of Bern.

Two national capitals in federal countries are neither federal units, special capital districts, nor capitals of federal units: Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and Palikir, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia. The Canadian government does designate the Ottawa area as the National Capital Region, although this term merely represents the jurisdictional area of the government agency that administers federally owned lands and buildings, and is not an actual political unit. The city of Ottawa is governed as a regular city.

In some non-federal countries there are capital cities that do not belong to any region, but have a special status, for example Oslo in Norway. In some countries the region including the capital does not have special significance, but have names hinting that. For example, the Capital Region of Denmark is a name of a normal national region.

The following have a special administrative district or territory for their national capital cities:

The Buenos Aires city, previously in the Federal District of Argentina. In 1996, under the 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution, the city gained autonomous city status, and changed its formal name to Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, and held its first mayoral elections. Buenos Aires is represented in the Argentine Senate by three senators and in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies by 25 national deputies.

Australia

The Australian Capital Territory is one of two self-governing internal territories of the Commonwealth of Australia, the other being the Northern Territory. Created in 1911, the ACT was originally called the Federal Capital Territory, the current name being acquired in 1938. The ACT was constituted specifically to house the seat of government, the goal being to avoid situating the new nation's capital Canberra in either New South Wales or Victoria, the two most populous states. The ACT is an enclave of New South Wales.

Although the ACT has its own Chief Minister and its own legislature (the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly), the Federal Parliament retains the right to overrule ACT legislation. While governing the entire ACT, the Legislative Assembly acts as a municipal/state government. The Governor-General of Australia exercises certain rights that in the states would be exercised by the governor, such as the power to issue writs for elections.

At a federal level, the ACT and the NT both elect two Senators, with the ACT electing 3 members of the House of Representatives and the NT two. The terms of the territory senators are tied to the term of the House of Representatives, not to the term of the Senate. This means that if there is an election for the Senate only (as last happened in 1970), this would involve only half the state senators, and the territory senators' terms would continue. Conversely, if there is an election for the House of Representatives only (as last happened in 1972), this would also involve the territory senators but not the state senators.

Brazil

Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is set within the Federal District. Its territory includes several other cities, officially called administrative regions, since the Federal District cannot be divided into municipalities in the same manner as the states of Brazil.

The Federal District is a special unit of the federation, as it is not organized the same manner as a municipality, does not possess the same autonomy as a state (but is ranked among them) and is closely related to the central power.

The District Governor is elected directly for a 4-year term. Local laws are issued by a legislative chamber also elected by the local population. Judiciary affairs are carried out by the Union, instead of being appointed by the governor as in the other states of Brazil. The Federal District has the status of a federal state in many aspects. It has representatives both in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of congress) and in the Federal Senate (upper house of congress).

The Brazilian federal government was transferred to the current Federal District, separate from the state of Goiás and the border with the state of Minas Gerais on April 21, 1960, when the planned city of Brasília was inaugurated. Before the transfer, the Brazilian capital was the city of Rio de Janeiro. After the transfer, the territory where the former Federal District was located became the state of Guanabara, where the city of Rio de Janeiro was included, this state that existed from 1960 to 1975, when the state of Guanabara was merged with the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Colombia

In Colombia the Capital District, containing the city of Bogotá was created as Special District in 1955 by Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. The district is made up by 20 localities.

Dominican Republic

In Dominican Republic the Nacional District, containing the city of The Australian Capital Territory is one of two self-governing internal territories of the Commonwealth of Australia, the other being the Northern Territory. Created in 1911, the ACT was originally called the Federal Capital Territory, the current name being acquired in 1938. The ACT was constituted specifically to house the seat of government, the goal being to avoid situating the new nation's capital Canberra in either New South Wales or Victoria, the two most populous states. The ACT is an enclave of New South Wales.

Although the ACT has its own Chief Minister and its own legislature (the Chief Minister and its own legislature (the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly), the Federal Parliament retains the right to overrule ACT legislation. While governing the entire ACT, the Legislative Assembly acts as a municipal/state government. The Governor-General of Australia exercises certain rights that in the states would be exercised by the governor, such as the power to issue writs for elections.

At a federal level, the ACT and the NT both elect two Senators, with the ACT electing 3 members of the House of Representatives and the NT two. The terms of the territory senators are tied to the term of the House of Representatives, not to the term of the Senate. This means that if there is an election for the Senate only (as last happened in 1970), this would involve only half the state senators, and the territory senators' terms would continue. Conversely, if there is an election for the House of Representatives only (as last happened in 1972), this would also involve the territory senators but not the state senators.

Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is set within the Federal District. Its territory includes several other cities, officially called administrative regions, since the Federal District cannot be divided into municipalities in the same manner as the states of Brazil.

The Federal District is a special unit of the federation, as it is not organized the same manner as a municipality, does not possess the same autonomy as a state (but is ranked among them) and is closely related to the central power.

The District Governor is elected directly for a 4-year term. Local laws ar

The Federal District is a special unit of the federation, as it is not organized the same manner as a municipality, does not possess the same autonomy as a state (but is ranked among them) and is closely related to the central power.

The District Governor is elected directly for a 4-year term. Local laws are issued by a legislative chamber also elected by the local population. Judiciary affairs are carried out by the Union, instead of being appointed by the governor as in the other states of Brazil. The Federal District has the status of a federal state in many aspects. It has representatives both in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of congress) and in the Federal Senate (upper house of congress).

The Brazilian federal government was transferred to the current Federal District, separate from the state of Goiás and the border with the state of Minas Gerais on April 21, 1960, when the planned city of Brasília was inaugurated. Before the transfer, the Brazilian capital was the city of Rio de Janeiro. After the transfer, the territory where the former Federal District was located became the state of Guanabara, where the city of Rio de Janeiro was included, this state that existed from 1960 to 1975, when the state of Guanabara was merged with the state of Rio de Janeiro.

In Colombia the Capital District, containing the city of Bogotá was created as Special District in 1955 by Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. The district is made up by 20 localities.

Dominican Republic