from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A governorate is an area administered by a governor as the chief official. In German the term is often, but insufficiently , translated as province , and more accurately also as district because of the duties of the governor . The term governorate, which is derived from the English governorate , is linguistically incorrect.


In Germany the term government was used:

  1. in war: Gouvernement was the authority that was subordinate to the commander-in-chief of a large fortress or the capital and residence of a country - the governor. In the event of mobilization, special fortress government staffs were set up.
  2. in the case of the occupied countries, a general government was created on enemy territory . It was the authority that was used to administer a region as the war progressed. Examples: Generalgouvernement Warsaw , created in the conquered Congress Poland in 1915 ; Generalgouvernement (previously “Rest of Poland”), established in 1939 by Hitler on Polish territory.
  3. the governorates also existed in the so-called German protected areas ( German colonies e.g. Kiautschou ). The governors were at the same time the chief commanders of the military occupation and superiors of all military personnel and officials employed there.

Both in Germany and in Russia, the governor was entitled to the title of excellence .


The first eight Russian governorates (1708)

In 1708 Peter I created the eight governorates ( Russian губерния pronunciation : [ ɡubernija ], Polish gubernia ) as administrative districts . They carried this designation until 1815 and again in the years 1864 to 1929. By the end of the Russian Empire , the governors (Russian: губернатор, gubernator ) were nominated by the emperor.

With the introduction of the governorates in 1708, the previous corresponding administrative unit Ujesd (Russian Уезд) was abolished. It was not until 1727 with the administrative reform of Catherine I reintroduced.

The first eight Russian governorates from 1708 and the three new foundations from 1713 to 1719 are shown in the following table:

Surname Russian name center comment
Saint Petersburg Governorate Санкт-Петербургская губерния St. Petersburg to 1710 as government Ingermanland designated
(Ингерманландская губерния)
Moscow Governorate Московская губерния Moscow
Arkhangelsk Governorate Архангельская губерния Arkhangelsk until 1780 Archangelgorod Governorate
(Архангелогородская губерния)
Smolensk Governorate Смоленская губерния Smolensk 1713/1719 divided between the governorates of
Moscow and Riga
Kiev Governorate Киевская губерния Kiev
Kazan Governorate Казанская губерния Kazan
Azov Governorate Азовская губерния Azov
Siberia Governorate Сибирская губерния
Nizhny Novgorod Governorate Нижегородская губерния Nizhny Novgorod erected 1713–1719
Astrakhan governorate Астраханская губерния Astrakhan erected 1713–1719
Riga Governorate Рижская губерния Riga established in 1721, also Livonian governorate
Ливонская губерния

The governor was at the head of a government. Only the Ingermanland governorate and the Azov governorate were subordinate to a governor-general (генерал-губернатор). The provinces were subordinate to a voivode (воевода) and the districts to a soil commissioner or soil commissioner (земский комиссар). The governors created a branched administrative apparatus. They had power over the administration, police, finances and courts. At the same time they were in command of the troops in their governorate.

With the beginning of the reign of Catherine II , 40 governorates with 300,000–400,000 subjects each were created in place of the then existing 20 governorates. At the end of their rule there were 51 governorates because of the territories added.

Initially (1710) the governorates were divided into Doli (доли), from 1719 into 47 provinces, which in turn were divided into districts (дистрикт). The provinces were abolished at the end of the reign of Catherine II. Two to three governorates were combined to form a Namestnitschestwo (наместничество).

In 1816, instead of the large governorates, somewhat smaller administrative districts were created, which were called Oblast (Область). Around 1864 the governorates were introduced and various "Zemstva" ( Zemstvo , Земство) were founded. The governorates established last were the governorates of Bessarabia (1873), which had previously been an oblast, the Black Sea (1896) and Cholm in the Vistula region (1912).

The two Russian revolutions of 1917 initially did not change the administrative structures; it was not until 1929 that the USSR abolished the governorates and reintroduced the oblasti , which were subdivided into rajons .

With translation into German is inaccurate and instead of government of province of speaking, such as in the Russian Baltic provinces , bringing the Baltic countries are meant.

Arabic speaking states

The administrative units in Arabic-speaking countries are called in the German Gouvernement, in the French Gouvernorate and in the English Governorate. The Arabic name for this is Arabic محافظة muhāfaza , DMG muḥāfaẓa , which is often impreciselytranslated as province . This applies to the following Arabic-speaking countries, among others:

Alternatively, the name wilāya , Arabic, is also used in some countries ولاية, which means state or county. The head of administration is the Wālī , which in German is usually translated as the governor. This applies to the following Arabic-speaking countries:

See also


  • Georg von Alten (Hrsg.): Handbook for Army and Fleet. Encyclopedia of Martial Sciences and Allied Fields. Volume 4: G-Idstedt. Bong, Berlin et al. 1912.
  • губерния. In: Большая Советская Энциклопедия . Volume 7: Гоголь – Дебит. Том 7, 3-е издание "Советская энциклопедия", Москва 1972.