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A governorate is an administrative division of a state. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either states or provinces, the term governorate is often used in translation from non-English-speaking administrations.


The most common usage are as a translation of Persian "Farmandari" or the Arabic Muhafazah . [1] It may also refer to the guberniya and general-gubernatorstvo of Imperial Russia or the gobiernos of Imperial Spain.

Arab countries

The term governorate is widely used in Arab countries to describe an administrative unit. Some governorates combine more than one Muhafazah ; others closely follow traditional boundaries inherited from the Ottoman Empire's vilayet system.

With the exception of Tunisia, all translations into the term governorate originate in the Arabic word muhafazah.

Russian Empire

Congress Kingdom of Poland

Grand Duchy of Finland

Portuguese Empire

In the Portuguese Empire, a governorate general (Portuguese: governo-geral) were a colonial administration. They usually were created in order to be a centralized government over smaller colonies or territories of the Portuguese Empire.

Governorate Generals of the Portuguese Empire:

Spanish Empire

In the Spanish Empire, the gobernaciones ("governorships" or "governorates") were an administrative division, roughly analogous to a province directly beneath the level of the audiencia or captaincy general, and the viceroy in areas directly under the viceroy's administration. The powers and duties of a governor were identical to a corregidor but a governor managed a larger or more prosperous area than the former.

Italian Empire


In the modern German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as others in the past, there are sub-state administrative regions called Regierungsbezirk , which is sometimes translated into English as "governorate" or "county." [2] [3]

During the time of the Third Reich, a "General Government for the Occupied Polish Areas" (German: Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) existed. The German (based on a traditional Prussian term) is sometimes translated as General Governorate.


During World War II, Romania administrated three governorates: the Bessarabia Governorate, the Bukovina Governorate and the Transnistria Governorate.


When Ukraine claimed autonomy in 1917 and then independence from Russia in 1918, it inherited the imperial subdivision of its land with nine governorates, two okruhas, and three cities with special status. Each governorate (Ukrainian huberniia) was subdivided by the smaller unit of county ( povit ) and still smaller volost .

By the end of the Soviet-Ukrainian war in 1920, the Soviets had made them part of the Ukrainian SSR. [4] Soviet Ukraine was reorganized into twelve governorates, which were reduced to nine in 1922, and then replaced with okruhas in 1925. [5]

Vatican City

Under the Fundamental Law of Vatican City State, the pope's executive authority for Vatican City is exercised by the Governorate for Vatican City State. The President of Vatican City's legislative body is ex officio the President of the Governorate. The other key officers of the Governorate are the General Secretary and the Vice General Secretary. All three officers are appointed by the pope for five-year terms. [6]

Related Research Articles

An okrug is a type of administrative division in some Slavic states. The word okrug is a loanword in English, alternatively translated as area, district, or region.

A governorate, gubernia, province, or government, was a major and principal administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire. After the empire was ended by revolution, they remained as subdivisions in Belarus, the Russian republic, Ukraine, and in the Soviet Union from its formation until 1929. The term is also translated as government, governorate, or province. A governorate was ruled by a governor, a word borrowed from Latin gubernator, in turn from Greek κυβερνήτης.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wilayah</span> Administrative division approximating a state or province

A wilayah is an administrative division, usually translated as "state", "province" or occasionally as "governorate". The word comes from the Arabic root "w-l-y", "to govern": a wāli—"governor"—governs a wālāya, "that which is governed". Under the Caliphate, the term referred to any constituent near-sovereign state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slavo-Serbia</span>

Slavo-Serbia or Slaveno-Serbia, was a territory of Imperial Russia from 1753 to 1764. It was located by the right bank of the Donets River between the Bakhmutka River (Bahmutka) and Luhan River. This area today constitutes the territories of the present-day Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. The administrative centre of Slavo-Serbia was Bakhmut (Bahmut).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uezd</span> Historic Russian administrative subdivision

An uezd, or povit in a Ukrainian context, or Kreis in Baltic-German context, was a type of administrative subdivision of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Russian Empire, and the early Russian SFSR, which was in use from the 13th century. For most of Russian history, uezds were a second-level administrative division. By sense, but not by etymology, uezd approximately corresponds to the English "county".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heorhiy Narbut</span>

Heorhiy Narbut was the most important Ukrainian graphic designer of the twentieth century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Podolia Governorate</span> 1793–1925 governorate of the Russian Empire

The Podolia Governorate or Podillia Governorate, set up after the Second Partition of Poland, was a governorate of the Russian Empire from 1793 to 1917, of the Ukrainian People's Republic from 1917 to 1921, and of the Ukrainian SSR from 1922 to 1991. From 1991 onwards it has been part of Ukraine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kherson Governorate</span> 1802–1920 guberniya of the Russian Empire

The Kherson Governorate, was an administrative territorial unit, of the Russian Empire located between the Dnieper and Dniester Rivers. It was one of three governorates created in 1802 when the Novorossiya guberniya was abolished. It was known as the Mykolaiv or Nikolayev Governorate until 1803, when Nikolayev was separated into a special Nikolayev War Governorate as a center of the Black Sea Fleet and the governor seat was moved to Kherson.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wild Fields</span> Historical term for the Pontic Steppe

The Wild Fields is a historical term used in the Polish–Lithuanian documents of the 16th to 18th centuries to refer to the Pontic steppe in the territory of present-day Eastern and Southern Ukraine and Western Russia, north of the Black Sea and Azov Sea. According to Ukrainian historian Vitaliy Shcherbak the term appeared sometime in the 15th century for territory between the Dniester and mid-Volga when colonization of the region by Zaporozhian Cossacks started. Shcherbak notes that the term's contemporaries, such as Michalo Lituanus, Blaise de Vigenère, and Józef Wereszczyński, wrote about the great natural riches of the steppes and the Dnieper basin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kiev Governorate</span> Division of the Russian Empire in modern-day Ukraine

Kiev Governorate was an administrative division of the Russian Empire from 1796 to 1919 and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1919 to 1925. It was formed as a governorate in the right-bank Ukraine region after a division of the Kiev Viceroyalty into the Kiev and the Little Russia Governorates in 1796, with its administrative centre in Kiev. By the early 20th century, it consisted of 12 uyezds, 12 cities, 111 miasteczkos and 7344 other settlements. After the October Revolution, it became part of the administrative division of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1923 it was divided into several okrugs and on 6 June 1925 it was abolished by the Soviet administrative reforms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Okruhas of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic</span> Defunct transitional administrative divisions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1923–1930)

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Administrative divisions of Ukraine (1918–1925)</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kolomak Raion</span> Former subdivision of Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine

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  1. Law, Gwillim (November 23, 1999). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 Through 1998 . McFarland. ISBN   978-0-7864-6097-7.
  2. "English Translation of "Regierungsbezirk" | Collins German-English Dictionary". Collins German-English Dictionary. April 15, 2022. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  3. Leipzig, F.A. Brockhaus Verlag (1928). Der Grosse Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens, Volume 1 (in German). Leipzig, Germany: Brockhaus. p. 274.
  4. Zadorozhnii, Oleksandr (2016). International law in the relations of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Kyiv: Ukrainian Association of International Law. pp. 54, 60. ISBN   978-617-684-146-3. OCLC   973559701.
  5. Kohut, Zenon E.; Nebesio, Bohdan Y.; Yurkevich, Myroslav (2005). "Administrative Divisions of Ukraine". Historical dictionary of Ukraine. Bohdan Y. Nebesio, Myroslav Yurkevich. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN   0-8108-5387-6. OCLC   57002343.
  6. Pope John Paul II (November 26, 2000). "Fundamental Law of Vatican City State" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-23.