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A comarca (Spanish: [koˈmaɾka] , Portuguese: [kuˈmaɾkɐ] or [koˈmaʁkɐ] ) is a traditional region or local administrative division found in Portugal, Spain and some of their former colonies, like Panama, Nicaragua, and Brazil. The term is derived from the term marca, meaning a "march, mark", plus the prefix co-, meaning "together, jointly".
The comarca is known in Aragonese as redolada (IPA: [reðoˈlaða] ) and in Basque as eskualde (IPA: [es̺kualde] ). In addition, in Galician, comarcas are also called bisbarras (IPA: [bizˈβarɐs] ).
Although the English word "county" and its near synonym "shire" have similar meanings, they are usually translated into Spanish and Portuguese as condado, a term[ clarification needed ] which in the Iberian peninsula only refers to regions historically ruled by a conde (count or earl). However, "comarca" is occasionally used, with examples including the Spanish Wikipedia entry for "comarca" and some translations of The Lord of the Rings (see below).
From the Middle Ages until the 16th century, the comarcas corresponded to the large administrative divisions of Portugal. There were six such traditional divisions: Entre-Douro-e-Minho, Trás-os-Montes, Beira, Estremadura, Alentejo and Algarve, of which the last had the honorary title of "kingdom". In the 16th century, the comarcas started gradually to be referred to as "provinces".
The name "comarca" was then applied to the new administrative and judicial subdivisions of the provinces, created in the 17th century. Each comarca corresponded to the territorial area of jurisdiction of a corregedor , a high-ranking administrative and judicial officer who represented the Crown in the district.
In the 19th century, the comarcas were replaced by separate administrative and judicial divisions, reflecting the implementation of the separation of executive and judicial powers. The new administrative divisions became the administrative districts and the new judicial divisions kept the name comarca.
Nowadays, in Brazil, Portugal, and some other countries of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the comarca is the basic territorial division in the judicial system. It corresponds to the territorial area of jurisdiction of a court of first instance.
The comarca may correspond to a municipality or group several small municipalities together. Presently, in Brazil, there are 2,680 comarcas. A judiciary organization reform implemented in Portugal in 2014 reduced the number of comarcas from 231 to 23.
According to the new judicial division of 2015, Angola will be again subdivided into 60 comarcas, each with a court of first instance. The courts of comarca will replace the previous provincial and municipal courts.
Comarca is also the name of a suburb of Luanda, the capital of Angola.
The term comarca is used in several regions in Spain.
In other places, such as Extremadura, the comarca may simply refer to a loosely defined region.
Because of the comarca's long-standing use, it is sometimes used as the basis for the promotion of tourism, with emphasis on local cultural tradition and history.
The ninth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico is known as the Comarca Lagunera. The region is made up of 15 municipalities, including the cities of Torreón, Coahuila and Gómez Palacio, Durango.
In Panama, the comarca indígena is an administrative region for an area with a substantial Amerindian population. Four comarcas (Emberá-Wounaan, Guna Yala, Ngöbe-Buglé, Naso Tjër Di) exist as equivalent to provinces. Two smaller comarcas (Kuna de Madugandí and Kuna de Wargandí) are subordinate to a province and considered equivalent to a corregimiento .
Some Spanish-language editions of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's works use the term La Comarca as a translation for the English "The Shire".
In Spain, an autonomous community is a first-level political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978, with the aim of guaranteeing limited autonomy of the nationalities and regions that make up Spain.
This is a list of the 42 comarques into which Catalonia is divided. A comarca is a group of municipalities, roughly equivalent to a "county" in the U.S.A. or the U.K. However, in the context of Catalonia, the term "county" can be a bit misleading, because in medieval Catalonia, aside from the kings of Aragon, the most important rulers were counts, notably the Counts of Barcelona and of Urgell. Comarques have no particular relation to the "counties" that were ruled by counts.
Ribagorça or Ribagorza is a historical and natural region of Aragon and Catalonia. Located in the Pre-Pyrenees and Pyrenees area, most of its territory is mountainous. The region has been steadily losing population since mid 20th century.
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces. Spain's provincial system was recognized in its 1978 constitution but its origin dates back to 1833. Ceuta, Melilla and the Plazas de soberanía are not part of any provinces.
In Spain traditionally and historically, some autonomous communities are also divided into comarcas.
Camp de Tarragona is a natural and historical region of Catalonia, Spain. It includes a central plain, surrounded by the Serralada Prelitoral mountain chain on the west and in the north, with the Mediterranean sand beaches of the Costa Daurada on the east and limited in the south by the Coll de Balaguer. The main towns are Tarragona, Reus, Valls and Cambrils. Salou is an important resort destination.
Matarraña or Matarranya is a comarca in eastern Aragon, bordering the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Catalonia and Valencia. It is located in Teruel Province, in the mountainous Sistema Ibérico area.
La Franja is the area of Catalan-speaking territories of eastern Aragon bordering Catalonia, in Spain. It literally means "the strip" and can also more properly be called Franja d'Aragó, Franja de Ponent or Franja Oriental d'Aragó in Catalan.
El Vallès is a historical county in Catalonia, Spain, located in the center of the Catalan Pre-coastal range. It is nowadays represented by two separate administrative divisions (comarques) which are part of the Barcelona Province: the Western Vallès, which has two capitals, Sabadell and Terrassa; and the Eastern Vallès, with Granollers as its capital.
The languages of Spain, or Spanish languages, are the languages spoken or once spoken in Spain.
The comarcal council, also somewhat misleadingly referred to as county council, is a local administration and government organ in the comarcas of some territories, such as the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Aragon and Galicia.
The vegueria was the feudal administrative territorial jurisdiction of the Principality of Catalonia during the Middle Ages and into the Modern Era until the Nueva Planta decrees of 1716. The vegueria was headed by a veguer and its office was called a vigeriate.
Both the perceived nationhood of Spain, and the perceived distinctions between different parts of its territory are said to derive from historical, geographical, linguistic, economic, political, ethnic and social factors.
The municipalities of Spain are the basic level of Spanish local government.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Spain:
Àmbit metropolità de Barcelona is one of the seven territories defined by the Regional Plan of Catalonia. It is located in the central coast of Catalonia, in Barcelona and its influence area.
The political division of the Kingdom of Spain is defined in Part VIII of the Spanish constitution of 1978, which establishes three levels of territorial organization: municipalities, provinces and autonomous communities, the first group constituting the subdivisions of the second, and the second group constituting the subdivisions of the last. The State guarantees the realization of the principle of solidarity by endeavouring to establish an economic balance between the different areas of the Spanish territory.
The Office of the Public Prosecutor was created in the Autonomous communities of Spain by Royal Decree 1754/2007 of December 28.
There is a variety of Vernacular languages spoken in Spain. Spanish, the official language in the entire country, is the predominant native language in almost all of the autonomous communities in Spain. Six of the sixteen autonomous communities in Spain have other co-official languages in addition to Spanish. Bilingualism in different degrees and in distinct communicative situations between Spanish and another language is a habitual practice for many of the Spanish people who reside in one of these autonomous communities.