Município (Portugal)

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The Município is an administrative unit of Portugal and the second level of bodies (autarquias) in the local self-government in Portugal . A município is made up of freguesias . While Freguesias, as the smallest administrative unit in Portugal, roughly corresponds to a municipality, the Município is an association of municipalities or an association municipality.

The term concelho is often used synonymously . Originally Município describes the administration and the administrative place, while concelho describes the administered area.

Município should not be confused with the similar word Munícipe, which means "citizen" or "citizen".


The term município comes from the time of the Roman occupation (2nd century AD), when existing settlements before their colonization were recognized as municipium , which meant that certain privileges of their own administration were retained.

The term concelho also comes from this time. It probably goes back to the Latin con-cilium , although other derivatives are not uniform ( intercalare, convocare, con-sedere ).


When Portugal was formed for the first time after Visigothic and Moorish rule, areas to which several communities could belong were called concelho . The concelho was conceived as a separate legal personality opposing the royal power. For centuries, the term Concílio and later Concelho characterized supra-local units.

After the founding of the state in 1143, the king drove forward the division and administration of the country according to the new interests. With the award of the Cartas de Foral ( city ​​rights ) and the associated structure in concelhos, the central government protected the areas under its administration from being taken over by the feudal nobility .

In the following almost 900 years until today, the concelho has remained a constant in the administrative structure, at least in mainland Europe Portugal. The position and responsibilities were, however, changed again and again by the respective central government. Their number also varied over the centuries and the various administrative reforms.

Under King Manuel I (1469–1521) a general administrative reform took place at the beginning of the 16th century, in which the immediate royal territory was divided into six comarcas . These were areas that were administered by an administrative and a legal magistrate on behalf of the king. Ecclesiastical and feudal territorial rulers were exempt from this until 1790. In the 17th century, the comarcas became part of the newly formed provinces, but the provinces, apart from a military one, had a more statistical significance. During the period, the comarcas were increasingly divided into concelhos, which were presided over by a Provedor (head) as representative of the prefect of the comarca and who was advised by a later elected body, the forerunner of the Câmara Municipal. During the great administrative reforms of 1832 and 1835, districts were formed within the provinces to which the concelhos belonged. A large number of concelhos, which were often only larger communities, were dissolved. In 1836, the Código Administrativo, Portugal's first administrative code, was created. The administrative reform initiated by Manuel da Silva Passos increased local autonomy and at the same time reduced the number of concelhos from 800 to 351.

In the course of the democratization after the Carnation Revolution , local self-government was recently significantly strengthened in the 1976 constitution. Today's 308 municípios have since formed a strong counterweight to the central government.

Modern times

In modern times, the term Município was also used in Portugal to designate the territorial body that comprised several municipalities, as in the first modern regulation of the Autarquias Locais in the 1976 constitution. The term concelho was retained and is used in everyday language today often used in the same meaning as Município. But this does not correspond to the correct meaning. Concelho today marks the spatial area of ​​the Municípios. A community thus belongs to a município, but is located in a concelho. Therefore, in spatial terms, the municípios refer to themselves as concelho. One can therefore equate concelho with the German term Kreis, as it is used in any case in the federal states that designate the corresponding municipal body as a district . In terms of jurisdiction, a município is more like a district-free city because of its extensive original powers in municipal areas according to German legal understanding.

As a result of Portuguese colonial history , similar names can be found in all Portuguese-speaking countries. In Cape Verde, for example, the administrative structure is very similar to that in Portugal to this day. There is a difference between the terms municípios and concelhos in both countries . In Brazil, for example, despite all the administrative similarities, there was no longer any difference in structure and terminology, and the term concelho is no longer in use and has been replaced by the prefeitura .

Administrative structure

In Portugal there are 308 (on the mainland: 278) concelhos with a total of 3091 parishes (freguesias). Until the administrative reorganization in 2013 , they comprised 4,259 freguesias. There are seven concelhos in Portugal that consist of only one freguesia. The Concelho Barcelos has the highest number of freguesias with 61 parishes, up to 2013 it was 89.

The Câmara Municipal ("Municipal Chamber") designates the town hall as the location and is the name of the administration and government of the concelho housed there. She is the local executive . The Assembleia Municipal ("City Assembly") is the local legislature , the municipal parliament that elects the Câmara Municipal . The assembly is composed of the elected mayors of the district communities as born members and of the members elected at the municipal level in local elections, whose number must exceed the number of born members by one seat.

Within the framework of the statistical breakdown of the EU, the municípios form the fourth level (LAU 1; see also: NUTS: PT).

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dictionary Lello Escolar , Lello & Irmão Editores, Porto 1980, entries Concelho and Município
  2. cf. about this, in Portuguese; Faculdade do Direito, Universidade de São Paulo, Origem e Formação dos Municípios Luso-Brasileiros, Dos Municípios Ramanos aos Concílios Portugeses, [1]
  3. As Divisões Administrativas de Portugal, ao Longo dos Tempos, [2]
  4. António Henrique de Oliveira Marques : History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 385). Translated from the Portuguese by Michael von Killisch-Horn. Kröner, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-520-38501-5 , p. 431 ff.
  6. Archived copy ( memento of the original from August 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Administração local e municipal portuguesa do século XVIII às reformas Liberais (Alguns tópicos da sua Historiografia e nova História) ( Memento from June 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive )