Last updated

A comarca (Spanish:  [koˈmaɾka] , Portuguese:  [kuˈmaɾkɐ] or [koˈmaʁkɐ] , Galician:  [koˈmaɾkɐ] , pl. comarcas; Catalan:  [kuˈmaɾkə] , pl. comarques) is a traditional region or local administrative division found in Portugal, Spain and some of their former colonies: Panama, Nicaragua, and Brazil. The term is derived from the term marca, meaning a "march, mark", plus the prefix co-, meaning "together, jointly".

In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions. English and other languages present number categories of singular or plural, both of which are cited by using the hash sign (#) or by the numero signs "No." and "Nos." respectively. Some languages also have a dual, trial, and paucal number or other arrangements.

Administrative division A territorial entity for administration purposes

An administrative division, unit, entity, area or region, also referred to as a subnational entity, constituent unit, or country subdivision, is a portion of a country or other region delineated for the purpose of administration. Administrative divisions are granted a certain degree of autonomy and are usually required to manage themselves through their own local governments. Countries are divided up into these smaller units to make managing their land and the affairs of their people easier. A country may be divided into provinces, which, in turn, may be divided in whole or in part into municipalities.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.


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] ).

Aragonese language Romance language

Aragonese is a Romance language spoken in several dialects by 10,000 to 30,000 people in the Pyrenees valleys of Aragon, Spain, primarily in the comarcas of Somontano de Barbastro, Jacetania, Alto Gállego, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza/Ribagorça. It is the only modern language which survived from medieval Navarro-Aragonese in a form distinctly different from Spanish.

Basque language Language of the Basque people

Basque (; euskara[eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language spoken in the Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.

Although the English word county and its near synonym shire have similar meanings, they are usually translated into Spanish as condado, a term[ clarification needed ] which in Iberia only refers to regions historically ruled by a count. However, "comarca," is occasionally used: examples include the Spanish Wikipedia entry for "comarca" and some translations of The Lord of the Rings (see below).

County Geographical and administrative region in some countries

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc..

A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and some other English-speaking countries. It was first used in Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the rest of England in the tenth century. In some rural parts of Australia, a shire is a local government area; however, in Australia it is not synonymous with a "county", which is a lands administrative division.


According to the new judicial division of 2015, Angola (a Portuguese-speaking country) will be 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.

Luanda City in Angola

Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city in Angola, It is Angola's primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban centre. Located on Angola's northern coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative centre. It is also the capital city of Luanda Province. Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, with over 8 million inhabitants in 2019, a third of Angola's population; it is the third most populous Portuguese-speaking city, after the Brazilian cities of Sāo Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

Angola country in Africa

Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.

Brazil and Portugal


Until the 16th century, large administrative regions were divided into comarcas. There were six traditional comarcas: 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 were gradually referred to as "provinces".

Trás-os-Montes Province the 15th century historical comarca, later province/prefecture, of Portugal

Trás-os-Montes Province is one of the medieval provinces of Portugal.

Estremadura Province (historical) historical province of Portugal

Estremadura Province is one of the six historical provinces of Portugal. It is located along the Atlantic Ocean coast in the center of the country and includes Lisbon, the capital. The name of this province originates from the Spanish and Portuguese struggle with the Moors, and the Christian reclaiming of their land in the 12th century. These provinces were called Extrema Durii, which means "farthest from the Douro River."


The Alentejo is a geographical, historical and cultural region of south central and southern Portugal. In Portuguese, its name means "beyond the Tagus river" (Tejo).

The name "comarca" was applied to the administrative and judicial subdivisions of the provinces from 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.

The Corregedor was a position established by the Portuguese crown in the 14th-15th century, with the authority to "correct" acts of a local, administrative or judicial nature within the kingdom. Although common throughout the kingdom, the role was more common and important in the administration of the Azores.

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.


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. Three comarcas (Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Guna Yala, Ngöbe-Buglé) 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 (municipality).


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".

See also

Related Research Articles

Autonomous communities of Spain first-level political and administrative division of Spain

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.

Comarques of Catalonia Wikimedia list article

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.

Province of Girona Province of Spain

Girona is a province of Spain, in the northeastern part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. It is bordered on the northwest by the province of Lleida, on the southwest by the province of Barcelona, on the north by France, and on the east by the Mediterranean Sea.

Ribagorça Natural region in Spain

Ribagorça or Ribagorza is a historical and natural region of Aragon and historical 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.

Provinces of Spain provinces of Spain

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.

Selva Comarca in Catalonia, Spain

Selva is a coastal comarca (county) in Catalonia, Spain, located between the mountain range known as the Serralada Transversal or Puigsacalm and the Costa Brava. Unusually, it is divided between the provinces of Girona and Barcelona, with Fogars de la Selva being part of Barcelona province, and all other municipalities falling inside Girona province. Also unusually, its capital, Santa Coloma de Farners, is no longer among its larger municipalities, with the coastal towns of Blanes and Lloret de Mar having far surpassed it in size.

Tarragonès Comarca in Catalonia, Spain

Tarragonès is a comarca (county) in Catalonia, Spain. It is one of the three comarques formed in the 1936 comarcal division of Camp de Tarragona. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, between the comarques of Baix Penedès to the northeast and Baix Camp to the south. Over 60% of the population live in the capital, Tarragona.

Matarraña Comarca in Aragon, Spain

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.


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.

Municipio and município are country subdivisions in Italy and several Hispanophone and Lusophone nations, respectively. They are often translated as "municipality". In the English language, a municipality often is defined as relating to a single city or town; however, in Spanish, the term "municipio" may not mean a single city or town, but rather a jurisdiction housing several towns and cities, like a township, county, borough or civil parish. The Italian term "municipalità" refers either to a single city or a group of cities and towns in a township, but the Portuguese use is almost entirely restricted to group of cities or towns like in a county, township and so forth.

Minho or Miño may refer to:

<i>Vegueria</i> jurisdiction in Catalonia

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.

Municipalities of Catalonia Wikimedia list article

Catalonia is divided into 947 municipalities.

Municipalities of Spain administrative territorial entity of Spain

The municipalities of Spain are the basic level of Spanish local government.

Penedès natural and historical region of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain

Penedès is a natural and historical region of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. It is located in the south of the Principality of Catalonia between the pre-coastal mountain range and the Mediterranean Sea. The comarcal division of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1936 and 1987, divided Penedès into three administrative comarques: Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès and Garraf, and their capitals are Vilafranca del Penedès, el Vendrell and Vilanova i la Geltrú.

Outline of Spain Overview of and topical guide to Spain

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Spain:

Àmbit metropolità de Barcelona

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.

Provinces of Portugal socio-cultural divisions within Portugal

The term "provinces" has been used throughout history to identify regions of continental Portugal. Current legal subdivisions of Portugal do not coincide with the provinces, but several provinces, in their 19th- and 20th-century versions, still correspond to culturally relevant, strongly self-identifying categories. They include:

Political divisions of Spain subclass of administrative territorial entities

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.

Moianès Comarca in Catalonia, Spain

Moianès is a comarca in the centre of Catalonia, Spain. It became a comarca in May 2015, following approval in a local referendum and by the Parliament of Catalonia. Its 10 municipalities were in the comarques of Bages, Osona, and Vallès Oriental. It had previously been recommended in 2000 in the "Report on the revision of Catalonia's territorial organisation model", known as the "Roca Report", commissioned by the Catalan government.