A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either states, provinces, or colonies, the term governorate is often used in translation from non-English-speaking administrations.
The term governorate is widely used in Arab countries to describe an administrative unit. Some governorates combine more than one wilayah; others closely follow traditional boundaries inherited from the Ottoman Empire's vilayet system.
With the exception of Tunisia, all translations into the term governorate originate in the Arabic word muhafazah.
In the Portuguese Empire, a governorate general (Portuguese: governo-geral) were a colonial administration. They usually were created in order to be a centralized government over smaller colonies or territories of the Portuguese Empire.
Governorate Generals of the Portuguese Empire:
In the Spanish Empire, the gobernaciones ("governorships" or "governorates") were an administrative division, roughly analogous to a province directly beneath the level of the audiencia or captaincy general, and the viceroy in areas directly under the viceroy's administration. The powers and duties of a governor were identical to a corregidor but a governor managed a larger or more prosperous area than the former.
In today's German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia, there are - and earlier in many more German states there were - sub-state administrative regions called Regierungsbezirk, which is sometimes translated into English as governorate.
During the time of the Third Reich, a "General Government for the Occupied Polish Areas" (German: Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) existed. The German (based on a traditional Prussian term) is sometimes translated as General Governorate.
Under the Fundamental Law of Vatican City State, the pope's executive authority for Vatican City is exercised by the Governorate for Vatican City State. The President of Vatican City's legislative body is ex officio the President of the Governorate. The other key officers of the Governorate are the General Secretary and the Vice General Secretary. All three officers are appointed by the pope for five-year terms.