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[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.


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

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Today there are 52 Catholics in all 484 square miles of Lewis County. That equals about one Catholic for every 9 square miles.
But, even when dollars are available, Cook County funds are not distributed quickly enough, advocates say.
The model includes covariates for the number of virus-positive tissue samples from dead and diseased wild birds and virus-positive mosquito pools, both provided by state health officials at the county level (Appendix).
When the proper payment was not received by March 2002, county officials initiated proceedings to either collect the $572 delinquency or sell the property at a sheriff's auction.
Amberley Drew, Laura Hunter, Catherine Smith, Sarah Richards, Catherine Gill, Katie O'Boyle,Hannah Brand,Sophie Lavin (West Kirby Gram), county; West Kirby U-14 girls,county runners-up; Mark Taylor,Michael Taylor,Ian Lednor,Richard Little (WirralGram),county; Wirral Grammar for Boys, U-18RAF Youth Cup runners-up; Jamie Devine,Barry Hopton (St Anselm's), NW U-16 dev squad; St Anselm's U-16 boys NW champions; David Edwards, Trevor Merrick, Sam Cooke (Calday Grange Gram), NW U-17.
The Charlottesville RMA; the City of Charlottesville; the non-RMA portion of Albemarle County; the Town of Louisa in Louisa County; and Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson Counties.
Florida: Brevard County, Clay County, Duval County, Flagler County, Glades County, Hendry County, Highlands County, Indian River County, Martin County, Nassau County, Okeechobee County, Osceola County, Palm Beach County, Putnam County, Seminole County, St.
The epicenter of the 4.9 temblor was located 37.2 kilometers south-southwest of Hualien County Hall at a shallow depth of 5 kilometers, based on CWB data.
Counties with the highest potential annual gross rental yields for 2019 were Baltimore City, Maryland (24.5 percent); Bibb County, Georgia in the Macon metro area (21.9 percent); Cumberland, New Jersey, in the Vineland-Bridgeton metro area (21.2 percent); Winnebago, Illinois, in the Rockford metro area (17.1 percent); and Wayne County, Michigan in the Detroit metro area (17.1 percent).
Jackson County had a total of 2,439 deer harvested; hunters in Adams County (Quincy), killed 2,340 deer and Randolph County had 2,271 deer taken.
As we celebrate some of the achievements we have realised at county levels, we must also reflect on challenges faced in setting up of devolved structures that operationalised county governments.As a legislative arm of county government, we are committed to serving wananchi for them to realise the fruits of devolution.

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