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The Spanish word municipio [ muniˈsipjo ] or [ muniˈθipjo ], in Portuguese município [ muniˈsipju ] and Catalan municipi (from Latin municipium ), denotes a political-state administrative unit in numerous Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries , which usually includes several localities . The administrative bodies and elected representative bodies of the municipios (Spanish) or municípios (Portuguese) and their competencies differ considerably from country to country. In some Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries are referred to the communities differently, such as in Portugal concelho , in Galicia and Asturias Conceyu and concello , in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires partido or in Chile and Angola comuna .

Definition in the respective countries


Angola is organized into 18 Províncias (provinces), 162 Municípios (counties) and 559 Comunas (municipalities). The municípios are i. d. Usually named after the largest city in the district.


In Argentina , the definition of the municipality is inconsistent and differs from province to province, but in all cases it is the smallest autonomous administrative unit with its own executive and legislative bodies. There are two fundamentally different models: the municipio con ejido no colindante , in which the municipalities only include the settlements themselves and partly their immediate surroundings and there are large municipalities-free areas (without a competent municipality), and the municipio con ejido colindante , in which the entire provincial area is divided into Municipios according to the type of districts. In the Province of Buenos Aires, the Municipios are also the only administrative unit among the provinces, where they are called Partido . In most of the other provinces, the Municipios are also subordinated to a department .

Since the constitutional reform of 1994, a municipality that has more than a minimum number of inhabitants, which is different from province to province, has been able to decide on its own Carta Orgánica . As a special feature, in some provinces there is also the Comuna , Comisión de Fomento or Junta Vecinal , which are smaller units than the Municipios and are not completely autonomous, but are not themselves subordinate to any other Municipio.


In Bolivia , a municipality is a direct sub-unit of a province and is roughly comparable to a district or municipality, the name of the municipality is almost always identical to the central location of the municipality. A municipality is further subdivided into cantons and, at the lowest level, into localidades .


In Brazil , a Município (German: the Munizip or the Munizipalstadt ) corresponds to the smallest political and administrative unit . According to the constitution, since the German Empire it is characterized by the right to self-government . This right to self-government is the decisive feature. However, it has only two different powers: an executive with a city prefect ( mayor ), the Prefeito Municipal , and a representative body with a city ​​council , the Câmara Municipal or City Chamber of Deputies, the number of which depends on the size of the population presided over by a president. The commune has no judicial power. A judiciary exists only at the state level and is mostly divided into local administrative districts ( comarca ). Brazil currently has 5570 municípios (as of 2016). The self-names of the municipalities such as “Vila” or “Cidade” only give indications of the legal status. By shortening the current geographical names different terms may be meant as an identically parish as Freguisa de ... or the judicial district as Comarca de ... . Quite often, a município only consists of a district of the same name, the seat of the district and the district town, referred to as Sede (seat), are specified as identical.

El Salvador

In El Salvador , a municipality is a direct sub-unit of a department . A municipality is further subdivided into cantones .


In Colombia , a municipality is a direct sub-unit of a department . A municipality is further subdivided into barrios (districts) and veredas (sidewalks), which in turn are part of a corregimiento .


In Cuba , a municipality is the direct sub-unit of a province and is roughly comparable to a district in Germany or a US county .


In Mexico , a municipality is the next higher administrative administrative level after the federal state, roughly comparable to a district or municipality in Germany.

East Timor

The 13 Municípios ( tetum Munisípiu ) in East Timor form the highest administrative level in the country. Until 2014 they were still referred to as districts .


In Portugal , a município is assigned to level LAU 1 (associations of municipalities).


In Spain , a municipality corresponds administratively to a municipality in the German-speaking countries and is equivalent to level LAU 2 .


In Venezuela , a municipality is an administrative district as a subdivision of the federal states (estados federales). It is further subdivided into parroquias (communities).

Individual evidence

  2. Municipios (PDF; 636 kB), publication of the Secretaría de Gabinete of the Argentine government
  3. Edmundo Zenha: O Município no Brasil (1532-1700) . Instituto Progresso Editorial, São Paulo 1948.
  4. The Municipios of Cuba