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A county was originally the administrative district headed by a count as judge , then the imperial direct property and later the class rule of a count ; also designation of a territory in France called Comté . Today a county ( county ) is a regional administrative unit in Great Britain (for England see county (England) ), the Republic of Ireland , Canada and the United States (see county (United States) ). For the Republic of Ireland and the USA, the term county is the better translation. There are also counties in other states such as Australia or Jamaica , but they are of no administrative relevance. The Komitat as the German name for the regional administrative units of Hungary is derived from the Latin comes (Graf), which means that the term Komitat also corresponds to a county.


According to the Sachsenspiegel from around 1230, the count is a special judge who sits in court on behalf of the king in certain cases “at Königsbann ”. The type of ban cases results from the nature of kingship: “The king is chosen to be the judge of land and fiefdoms and of the life of every person” (Ssp. Ldr. III / 52,2). From this follows the exclusive jurisdiction of the king - and thus of the count - in lawsuits against the nobility almost automatically. The court “bei Königsbann” included a jury's bench occupied by the nobility, the jury free. The area of ​​the county was in the order of magnitude of counties. In the creation of the states in the late Middle Ages, the acquisition - and thus the mediatization  - of counties by the sovereigns played an important role. The beginning of the late medieval sovereignty in the 14th century is also the end of the early and high medieval county. In 1521 there were 144 imperial counties in the Holy Roman Empire ("imperial counties").

Some districts in Lower Saxony , which could trace their territorial history back to counties, had this title in their official name; After the municipal reorganization at the end of the 1970s, only the Grafschaft Bentheim district is still called that.

Not to be compared with the counties are margraviate , palatinate or land counties , which were equal to the duchies . The current federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony go back to margraviates, Thuringia and Hesse to landgraviates.

Counties as territorial units in England go back to the 12th century. Today there are the administrative counties (today's administrative units ) as well as the traditional (existing until 1888) and the ceremonial counties .

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Web links

Wiktionary: County  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations