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As Borough (br. Engl. [Bʌrə] on. Engl. [Bɜrəʊ] od. [Bʌrəʊ]) (German municipality , district ) is called an administrative unit in various English-speaking countries.

The concept of dividing the national territory into boroughs originally came from England . The term borough comes from the word burh , which means "fortified place" in Old English (see castle ).

The status conferred by the borough is often reflected in the ending bury in place names, especially in southern England ; in the Midlands ending in borough . In Scotland and northern England, the name burgh was used instead.

The ending bury is also found in the US Neuengland- states ; In the southern and western United States , on the other hand, the ending burg is common. The ending brough (pronounced 'bruh') is also common.

In England, both borough and burgh [ ˈbʌɹə ] are pronounced. Both words [[ bɜːɹə ] are pronounced in Scotland . In the United States, the pronunciation for borough is [ ˈbʌɹoʊ ] or [ ˈbɜːɹoʊ ], for burgh it is [ bɝːg ] or [ ˈbʌɹoʊ ].

United Kingdom


Boroughs were originally formed to give a place its own rights vis-à-vis the local landlord. The boroughs were typically administered by a council that determined its own members. Boroughs were less often managed by an individual.

The status of the borough was granted to a place by a royal charter ( Royal Charter ). However, whether the borough could also send a representative to the English parliament was decided by the House of Commons , the lower house. In many cases the mayors or councils of a borough were not represented in parliament; conversely, there were representatives in parliament who were not part of the administration of a borough.

With the Reform Act 1832 many boroughs that were previously over-represented (some of them, the so-called rotten boroughs , were practically uninhabited) lost their representation in parliament. The reform debate showed that there were very different types of administration at local level. A royal commission was set up and, as a result of its work, local government was uniformly regulated in 1835. In the future, all councils had to be elected and were given fixed rights. At the same time, a procedure was set up whereby a place could petition Parliament to obtain borough status.

In 1888, the existing boroughs were divided into two different types: the County Boroughs received competences of the counties (those counties ) was comparable; In contrast, the municipal boroughs only received the powers of a local government. Small places were made urban districts in 1894 , which, unlike the boroughs, did not have the right to elect a mayor.

Boroughs today

The traditional distinction between counties and boroughs ended in 1974 when the counties were divided into districts . Urban districts usually have borough status. See also List of Districts in England .

This change was partially reversed in the 1990s when some districts were given the status of a unitary authority , which has the same powers as a county. Unitary authorities with an urban character all have borough status.

Today the boroughs are divided into metropolitan boroughs (large city districts) and non-metropolitan boroughs (districts or unitary authorities). The boroughs of Greater London , with the exception of the City of London , are London Boroughs . See also the administrative division of England .

United States

The boroughs of New York City are boroughs. They are also counties of the state of New York :

The US state of Alaska is also divided into boroughs; they correspond to the counties in the other states. However, large parts of Alaska do not belong to any borough; For statistical purposes, census areas were created here , see list of boroughs and census areas in Alaska .

A self-governing city ( city ) is called borough in some US states, for example in Pennsylvania , and sometimes also boro . In some states, several boroughs are combined into one township .


In Québec , the term borough is used as an English translation of the French arrondissement .

New Zealand

In New Zealand , the term borough [ ˈbʌɹə ] was previously used for self-governing cities that did not have the status of a city .

Web links

Wiktionary: borough  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Dominik Nagl: No Part of the Mother Country, but Distinct Dominions - Legal Transfer, State Building and Governance in England, Massachusetts and South Carolina, 1630–1769 . Berlin 2013, pp. 81f., 145ff. on-line