|Category||2nd-level administrative division|
|Found in|| Administrative region |
The municipality (Portuguese : município or concelho ) is the second-level administrative subdivision of Portugal, as defined by the 1976 Constitution.
As a general rule, each municipality is further subdivided into parishes (freguesias); the municipalities in the north of the country usually have a higher number of parishes. Six municipalities are composed of only one parish, and Barcelos, with 61 parishes, has the most. Corvo is, by law, the only municipality with no parishes.
Since the creation of a democratic local administration, in 1976, the Portuguese municipalities have been ruled by a system composed of an executive body (the municipal chamber) and a deliberative body (the municipal assembly). The municipal chamber is the executive body and is composed of the president of the municipality and a number of councillors proportional to the municipality's population. The municipal assembly is composed of the presidents of all the parishes that compose the municipality, as well as by a number of directly elected deputies, at least equal to the number of parish presidents plus one. Both bodies are elected for four years.
Portugal has an entirely separate system of cities and towns. Cities and towns are located in municipalities but often do not have the same boundaries, even they are continuously built up. There are around twice as many cities and towns as there are municipalities.
The municipality has been the most stable subdivision of Portugal since the foundation of the country in the 12th century.They have their origin in the foral , a legal document, issued by the King of Portugal, which assigned privileges to a town or a region. The present subdivisions have their origins in the 19th century after the administrative reforms conducted by the middle of the 19th century by the governments of the constitutional monarchy.
The concelhos probably formed after the expulsion of the Visigothic rulers by the Moors during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Towns were thus left free to govern themselves, and the population started to organize in councils (concelhos in Portuguese) in order to govern the town and surrounding lands. These were also a reminder of Roman municipalities.
The existence since the Middle Ages of a large number of small municipalities with no financial resources and without people qualified to take part in municipal councils caused the stagnation of their growth. The Liberal revolution of 1836, resulted in the suppression/annexation of many of these smaller municipalities, which allowed the infusion of new revenues and facilitated growth in population and size.
There are 308 municipalities in Portugal: 278 in mainland Portugal and 30 in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira. They are usually named for their biggest city, or at least, their historically most important city or town. However, the municipality is not synonymous with the city (or urban centre) and can include various towns or cities. In Portugal, cities/towns are a social distinction based on population size and associated services and have no legal representation in law or constitution.
Portugal has no unincorporated areas; all the national territory belongs to a municipality, including uninhabited islands: Berlengas to Peniche, Desertas Islands to Santa Cruz, Selvagens Islands to Funchal, and Formigas Islets to Vila do Porto.
Portugal is divided into 18 continental districts (Portuguese : distritos) and two autonomous regions (Portuguese : regiões autónomas), Azores and Madeira. The table below is the distribution of the municipalities within these districts and the autonomous regions:
|16.||Viana do Castelo|
The biggest municipalities are those located in rural and inland areas where the dominating property type is the latifundia, such as Beja, Évora, or Portalegre in the south, and also in other less populated areas, such as Bragança or Castelo Branco.
The most populous municipalities are those located near the sea, and especially around the metropolitan areas of Lisbon, Porto, and Braga, while the less populous municipalities are located in the inland regions of Alentejo and Trás-os-Montes. The municipalities with the lowest population densities are also found in these inland regions, with smaller populations distributed over a greater area.
This chart gives the number of inhabitants in the municipality area and the area is in km2 (only for populations over 100,000).
|Rank||Municipality||Population||Land Area||Density||Metropolitan area|
|3||Vila Nova de Gaia||302,092||170.8||1,769||Greater Porto|
|17||Santa Maria da Feira||139,393||215.1||648||Greater Porto|
|18||Vila Franca de Xira||136,510||317.7||430||Greater Lisbon|
|20||Vila Nova de Famalicão||133,804||201.7||663|
The Azores, officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,400 km (870 mi) west of Lisbon, about 1,500 km (930 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,930 km (1,200 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-localised and has limited powers. While in some countries, "government" is normally reserved purely for a national administration (government), the term local government is always used specifically in contrast to national government – as well as, in many cases, the activities of sub-national, first-level administrative divisions. Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises a third or fourth tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government.
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The city has a population of 111,892, making it the sixth largest city in Portugal, and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries. Because of its high cultural and historical value, Funchal is one of Portugal's main tourist attractions. It is also popular as a destination for New Year's Eve, and it is the leading Portuguese port on cruise liner dockings.
The Districts of Portugal, are the most important first-level administrative subdivisions of continental Portugal. Currently, mainland Portugal is divided into 18 districts. The Portuguese Autonomous Regions of Açores and Madeira are no longer divided into districts.
Administratively, Portugal is de jure unitary and decentralized state. Nonetheless, operationally, it is a highly centralized system with administrative divisions organized into three tiers. The State is organized under the principles of subsidiarity, local government autonomy, and democratic decentralization of the public service.
Freguesia, usually translated as "parish" or "civil parish", is the third-level administrative subdivision of Portugal, as defined by the 1976 Constitution. It is also the designation for local government jurisdictions in the former Portuguese overseas territories of Cape Verde and Macau. In the past, was also an administrative division of the other Portuguese overseas territories. The parroquia in the Spanish autonomous communities of Galicia and Asturias is similar to a freguesia.
Concelho, is the Portuguese-language term for municipality, referring to the territorial division. In comparison, the word município refers to the organs of State. This differentiation is still in use in Portugal and some of its former overseas provinces, but is no longer in use in Brazil following the abolition of these organs, in favour of the French prefecture system. It is similar to borough and council.
The Lisbon Metropolitan Area is a metropolitan area in Portugal centered on Lisbon, the capital and largest city of the country. The metropolitan area, covering 18 municipalities is the largest urban area in the country and the 10th largest in the European Union, with a population in 2015 of 2,812,678 in an area of 3,015.24 km².
Odivelas is a city and a municipality in Lisbon metropolitan area, Portugal, in the Lisbon District and the historical and cultural Estremadura Province. The municipality is located 10 km northwest of Lisbon. The present Mayor is Hugo Martins, elected by the Socialist Party. The population in 2011 was 144,549, in an area of 26.54 km2 (10.25 sq mi).
Calheta is a municipality on the southwest coast of Madeira, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 11,521, in an area of 111.50 km2.
Machico is a municipality, parish and city in the southeast part of the island of Madeira, in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The easternmost municipality on the island, it is also the third-most populous area with a population of 21,828 in 2011. The town, proper, had a population of 10,894 in 2001.
The metropolitan area is a type of administrative division in Portugal. Since the 2013 local government reform, there are two metropolitan areas: Lisbon and Porto. The metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto were created in 1991. A law passed in 2003 supported the creation of more metropolitan areas, under the conditions that they consisted of at least nine municipalities (concelhos) and had at least 350,000 inhabitants. Several metropolitan areas were created under this law, but a law passed in 2008 abolished these, converting them into intermunicipal communities, whose territories are (roughly) based on the NUTS III statistical regions.
The Portuguese local elections of 1976 took place on 12 December. They were the first local elections in Portugal. The democratic revolution of 1974 introduced the concept of democratic local power, that should be exerted by the citizens in their towns and cities.
The subdivisions of Portugal are based on a complicated administrative structure. The second-level administrative division, after the 5 regions and 2 autonomous regions, is 308 municipalities (concelhos) which are further subdivided into 3091 civil parishes (freguesias).
Ponta Delgada is the largest municipality (concelho) and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. The population in 2011 was 68,809, in an area of 232.99 square kilometres. There are 17,629 residents in the three central civil parishes that comprise the historical city: São Pedro, São Sebastião, and São José. Ponta Delgada became the region's administrative capital under the revised constitution of 1976; the judiciary and Catholic see remained in the historical capital of Angra do Heroísmo while the Legislative Assembly of the Azores was established in Horta.
The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) is developed by Eurostat, and employed in Portugal for statistical purposes. The NUTS branch extends from NUTS1, NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions, with the complementary LAU sub-categorization being used to differentiate the local areas, of trans-national importance.
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:
The present Portuguese order of precedence is defined by the Law of the Precedences of Protocol of the Portuguese State of 25th August 2006. This defines the following precedence: