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 church structures, as well as in antiquity
''Prefecture'' originally refers to a self-governing body or area since the tetrarchy
, when Emperor Diocletian
divided the Roman Empire
into four districts (each divided into dioceses
), grouped under ''a Vicarius
'' (a number of Roman province
s, listed under that article), although he maintained two pretorian prefectures as an administrative level above the also surviving dioceses (a few of which were split).
As canon law
is strongly inspired by Roman law, it is not surprising that the Catholic Church has several offices under a prefect. That term occurs also in otherwise styled offices, such as the head of a congregation or department of the Roman Curia
. Various ecclesiastical areas, too small for a diocese
, are termed prefects.
Brazilian equivalent of ''prefecture''
, the prefecture (''prefeitura'' or ''prefeitura municipal'' in Portuguese
) is the executive branch
of the government of each Brazilian municipality
(''município'' in Portuguese). The term also refers to the office of the mayor
(''prefeito'' in Portuguese).
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic
is divided into sixteen prefectures
Greek equivalent of ''prefecture''
From 1836 until 2011, modern Greece
was divided into (, singular , ) which formed the country's main administrative units. These are most commonly translated into English
as "prefectures" or "counties".
Each was headed by a prefect (, ), who was a ministerial appointee until ca. 1990, but was then elected by direct popular vote in a process of decentralization that saw the prefectures become local government
units. Municipal elections in Greece are held every four years and voting for the election of prefects and mayors was carried out concurrently but with separate ballots.
The 2010 Kallikratis plan
, which took effect on 1 January 2011, abolished the prefectures as separate administrative units, and transformed them into regional units
within the country's thirteen administrative regions
Chinese equivalents of ''prefecture''
The ancient sense
When used in the context of Chinese history
, especially China before the Tang Dynasty
, the word "prefecture" is used to translate ''xian'' (). This unit of administration is translated as "county" when used in a contemporary context, because of the increase of the number of "xian" and the decrease of their sizes over time in the Chinese history.
;Zhou () or Fu ()
In the context of Chinese history during or after the Tang Dynasty
, the word "prefecture" is used to translate ''zhou'' (Wade–Giles ''chou'' (), another ancient unit of administration in China, equivalent to the modern ''province''.
The modern sense
In modern-day China
, the prefecture (; pinyin
: ) is an administrative division found in the second level
of the administrative hierarchy. In addition to prefectures, this level also includes autonomous prefectures, leagues
, and prefecture-level cities
. The prefecture level comes under the province level
, and in turn oversees the county level
a ''prefettura'' is the office of prefetto
; like in France
he is the representative of the Government in each provincia
, a ''préfecture'' is the capital
city of a ''département
''. As there are 101 départements in France, there are 101 ''préfectures''. A ''préfecture de région'' is the capital city of a ''région
''. This is the city where the préfet
- the appointed government representative - resides.
Japanese sense of ''prefecture''
In English, "prefecture" is used as the translation for , which are the main subdivisions of Japan. They consist of 43 prefectures (県 ken) proper, two urban prefectures (府 fu, Osaka and Kyoto), one "circuit" or "territory" (道 dō, Hokkaido) and one "metropolis" (都 to, Tokyo). Before the end of World War II, the word was also used for overseas areas 庁 (chō)、州 (shu) and 道 (dō, in Korea).
Korean equivalents of ''prefecture''
Until 1894 (; ) was the lowest level administrative division in Korea and can be translated into "Petty Prefecture" in the modern sense. It was below (, ; "county") in the administrative hierarchy.
(; ) was a higher level administrative division and can be translated into "Protectorate General", "Greater Prefecture", "Metropolitan Prefecture", or "Martial Prefecture" in the modern sense. The capital, Hanyang (Seoul
), can sometimes be translated as "Hanseong Prefecture".
In 1895, and divisions were abolished. From 1910 to 1949, the term "prefecture" was used to translate (; ). Since 1949 neither nor have been used, and there has been no division in either the South Korean or North Korean administrative system which translates as "prefecture".
Mongolian prefectures (Aimags
) were adopted during Qing Dynasty's rule
. Today these are usually translated as "provinces".
, the 75 second-level administrative subdivisions
are 13 prefectures and 62 provinces
. They are subdivisions of the 12 regions of Morocco
. Each prefecture and province are subdivided in their turn into district
s (''cercles'', sing. ''cercle''), municipalities
(''communes'', sing. ''commune'') or urban municipalities (''communes urbaines'', sing. ''commune urbaine''), and ''arrondissement
s'' in some metropolitan areas.
Traditionally the prefecture as being the City Hall
and the prefect as being the equivalent of a mayor and commissioner until recently; now the prefectures and prefect are analogous with the figure of Town Clerk
*Prefectures of China
*Politics of the People's Republic of China
*Prefectures of Japan
*Politics of Japan
*Politics of the Republic of China
*Politics of Mongolia
Category:Types of administrative division