county

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county

[Fr., comté,=domain of a count], division of local governmentlocal government,
political administration of the smallest subdivisions of a country's territory and population. Characteristics and Types

Although there are special-purpose local government bodies (e.g.
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 in the United States, Great Britain, and many Commonwealth countries. The county developed in England from the shire, a unit of local government that originated in the Saxon settlements of the 5th cent. By the 11th cent. the shire system was fully established throughout most of England, with each shire being ruled by a shire-reeve, or sheriff, appointed by the crown. By the 14th cent. the office of justice of the peace had developed; in each county a court of three or four justices, also appointed by the king, assisted the sheriff in the administration of local affairs. With the passage of the Local Government Act of 1888, power passed from the king's appointed officials to the newly created county councils, elected by local residents. The county system of government was adopted in most of the nations settled by the British.

In the United States there are some 3,100 counties (254 in Texas alone); most are rural or suburban, but except where, as in Virginia, a city may be independent (not part of a county), every part of a state is also part of a county. Some cities, like New York (where the five boroughs are also counties) comprise more than one county. Louisiana, influenced by the French, has instead parishes, which are essentially similar to counties; Alaska has boroughs. The major functions of county government in the United States include law enforcement, the recording of deeds and other documents, and the provision and maintenance of public works such as roads and parks. Some states, though, notably Connecticut, have abolished almost all county governmental functions.

Bibliography

See H. S. Duncombe, County Government in America (1966); J. C. Bollens, American County Government (1969).

County

 

(1) In the feudal period, a hereditary feudal possession headed by a count.

(2) An administrative-territorial unit in several bourgeois countries. In the USA, 47 states are divided into counties (a total of more than 3,000 counties). Counties are governed by elected county councils. In Great Britain there are administrative counties and county boroughs. The administration of counties is directed by elected councils, including so-called aldermen, who are co-opted by the council. The administration of counties also includes representatives of the central government—for example, the lord lieutenant and sheriff. The Australian Commonwealth, some Canadian provinces, and New Zealand also have counties.

B. S. KRYLOV

county

1. 
a. any of the administrative or geographic subdivisions of certain states, esp any of the major units into which England and Wales are or have been divided for purposes of local government
b. (as modifier): county cricket
2. NZ an electoral division in a rural area
3. Obsolete the lands under the jurisdiction of a count or earl
References in classic literature ?
He heard that about half the members of the government had gathered at Birmingham, and that enormous quantities of high explo- sives were being prepared to be used in automatic mines across the Midland counties.
From every part of the eastern counties reports were received concerning the enormous immigration of birds.
while he has 220 pounds standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank.
The mutinies simmered down; the men of Somerset and the western counties came pouring into the market places; the men who died with Arthur and stood firm with Alfred.
If you had done with Cuffy what you ought to have done when he first came into Parliament, and had prevented him from going over to Duffy, you would have got him into alliance with Fuffy, you would have had with you the weight attaching as a smart debater to Guffy, you would have brought to bear upon the elections the wealth of Huffy, you would have got in for three counties Juffy, Kuffy, and Luffy, and you would have strengthened your administration by the official knowledge and the business habits of Muffy.
Radcliffe's works, and charming even as were the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the Midland counties of England, was to be looked for.
The combined monarchies of the thirty "kings" destroyed by Joshua on one of his famous campaigns, only covered an area about equal to four of our counties of ordinary size.
Old SmallWays went to his grave under an intricate network of wires and cables, for Bun Hill became not only a sort of minor centre of power distribution--the Home Counties Power Distribution Company set up transformers and a generating station close beside the old gas-works--but, also a junction on the suburban mono-rail system.
whatever more than usually ghastly thing in weather that may be), "occasional local thunder-storms, east wind, with general depression over the Midland Counties (London and Channel).
In some of the adjoining and near-by counties the proportion was not far from six coloured persons to one white.
Texas produced its array of twenty-six counties; Florida replied that twelve counties were better than twenty-six in a country only one-sixth part of the size.
For centuries, in their quiet, dogged, homespun way, they have been subduing the earth in most English counties, and leaving their mark in American forests and Australian uplands.