What is a Municipality

A municipality is, at the same time, a territorial division and one administrative entity of local level, made up of territory, population and public powers. In this sense, it is an organizational entity within the State that enjoys governmental and administrative autonomy, whose function is to manage the interests of a community and provide solutions to its problems. The word comes from the Latin municipĭum.

Among the Romans, responsible for the ideation of the concept of municipality as a legal entity, the municipality was a principal, free and autonomous city, governed by its own laws, and whose inhabitants could aspire to the same privileges, rights and obligations as the citizens of Rome.

For his part, within modern statethe municipality came to designate the smallest administrative division of the State, that is, the basic cell from which the political organization of a nation is constituted.

A municipalityAs such, it includes a legitimately delimited territory, it is constituted by one or several localities (cities, towns, villages, towns or hamlets), its inhabitants and a series of goods or own patrimony. Municipalities, in this sense, have four fundamental elements: territory, political authorities, population, and common interests and objectives, around which they are organized and articulated.

The municipalityIn addition, it has an organ of local governmentcalled town hallconstituted by the mayorhighest local executive authority, and a city ​​Councilmade up of councilors, who govern and administer the municipality, and are periodically elected through popular elections to represent the interests of its citizens.

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Therefore, we can also use the word municipality to refer to the municipality, the mayor’s office or the municipal council itself. Likewise, we can use it to refer to the territory that corresponds to this administrative division.

In Latin Americanot all countries designate by the name of municipality the smaller administrative divisions. In countries like Peru, Paraguay or Panama, they are known by the name of district; in Costa Rica they are called a canton, and in Chile, a commune. On the other hand, in the Federal District of Mexico, instead of municipality, these territorial divisions are called delegations, while in Buenos Aires, in Argentina, they are called parties, and in the Capital District of Bogotá, in Colombia, localities. . For their part, in Spain, more specifically in Asturias, they are designated as councils.

See also: City Hall