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hundred,

in English history, a subdivision of a shire, first mentioned in the 10th cent. and surviving as a unit of local government into the 19th cent. It is thought that in origin the hundred comprised 100 geld hides, the geld hide being the basic Anglo-Saxon land unit for taxation purposes; but the hundreds varied considerably in size. The number of hundreds in a shire also varied, and their boundaries were continually changed. The hundred had its own court. The Saxon tithing groups, which had corporate responsibility for the crimes committed by their members, came before it, and personal pleas of debt and trespass were also brought there. Originally presided over by the king's reeves, the hundred courts continued to meet regularly every four weeks until the 13th cent., by which time many of them had been taken over by local lords. They gradually lost importance and from the 16th cent. had little more than a formal existence. In Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Leicestershire the unit equivalent to the hundred was called a wapentake; in Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, and Durham, a ward. Hundreds were also used as subdivisions of counties in some of the Thirteen Colonies, and continued to be used in Delaware as state legislative districts until the 1960s.

Bibliography

See H. M. Cam, The Hundred and the Hundred Rolls (1930, repr. 1963); F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (3d ed. 1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hundred

 

(German, Hundertschaft), a social and military organization among the ancient Germanic peoples during the period of transition from the primitive communal system to feudalism. The popular assembly of the hundred met under an elected hundred-leader and decided judicial, administrative, and other questions; the hundred was the basic unit of allotting troops among the Germanic tribes and tribal federations.

In continental Europe the hundred disappeared with the rise of feudalism. In England it gradually came under the authority of the king, in the person of the bailiff. The hundred endured until the late 19th century as an administrative-territorial unit with limited administrative and police functions. Several hundreds formed a shire.

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

hundred

1. the cardinal number that is the product of ten and ten; five score
2. a numeral, 100, C, etc., representing this number
3. Maths the position containing a digit representing that number followed by two zeros
4. History an ancient division of a county in England, Ireland, and parts of the US
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
But Daylight, who had panned the spotted rim of Carmack's claim and shaken coarse gold from the grass-roots, and who had panned the rim at a hundred other places up and down the length of the creek and found nothing, was curious to know what lay on bed-rock.
The Appeal to Reason was a weekly, and its regular circulation amongst the proletariat was seven hundred and fifty thousand.
Merely to keep their records requires two hundred and thirty-five million sheets of paper a year.
The short time I continued in England, I made a considerable profit by showing my cattle to many persons of quality and others: and before I began my second voyage, I sold them for six hundred pounds.
"Eight thousan', four hundred dollars just for rent the first year.
"I understand," answered Porthos, "I understand you perfectly, on my honor; two hundred louis, each of us, would be making a pretty thing of it; but what will people say?"
Pa will be in no hurry to give me more money soon, and I want, at this moment, near a hundred dollars' worth of articles of dress to make a decent appearance.
He wrote to Singletree, Darnley & Co., offering to sell out his rights in "The Shame of the Sun" for a hundred dollars, but they did not care to take the risk.
Whether sixty-five members for a few years, and a hundred or two hundred for a few more, be a safe depositary for a limited and well-guarded power of legislating for the United States?
In these simultaneous observations they thought themselves justified in estimating the minimum length of the mammal at more than three hundred and fifty feet, as the Shannon and Helvetia were of smaller dimensions than it, though they measured three hundred feet over all.
"Twelve hundred to my tailor," continued the abbe; "the fellow has made me take back seven suits of my people's, which compromises my liveries, and my mistress talks of replacing me by a farmer of the revenue, which would be a humiliation for the church."
Everything the good man said was full of affection, and I could hardly refrain from tears while he spoke; in short, I took one hundred of the moidores, and called for a pen and ink to give him a receipt for them: then I returned him the rest, and told him if ever I had possession of the plantation I would return the other to him also (as, indeed, I afterwards did); and that as to the bill of sale of his part in his son's ship, I would not take it by any means; but that if I wanted the money, I found he was honest enough to pay me; and if I did not, but came to receive what he gave me reason to expect, I would never have a penny more from him.