What is Municipality?

Legal Definition
A municipality is usually a single urban administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and state laws, to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished from the county, which may encompass rural territory and/or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets. The term municipality may also mean the governing or ruling body of a given municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district. The term is derived from French "municipalité" and Latin "municipalis".

The English word "Municipality" derives from the Latin social contract municipium (derived from a word meaning duty holders), referring to the Latin communities that supplied Rome with troops in exchange for their own incorporation into the Roman state (granting Roman citizenship to the inhabitants) while permitting the communities to retain their own local governments (a limited autonomy).

A municipality can be any political jurisdiction from a sovereign state, such as the Principality of Monaco, or a small village, such as West Hampton Dunes, New York.

The territory over which a municipality has jurisdiction may encompass

  • only one populated place such as a city, town, or village
  • several of such places (e.g., early jurisdictions in the state of New Jersey (1798–1899) as townships governing several villages, Municipalities of Mexico)
  • only parts of such places, sometimes boroughs of a city such as the 34 municipalities of Santiago, Chile.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A political unit with a defined territory, corporate status, and usually some powers of autonomous government. Examples include cities, towns, and villages.
Legal Definition
The body of officers, taken collectively, belonging to a city, who are appointed to manage its affairs and defend its interests.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A municipal corporation; a city, town, borough or incorporated village. Also the body of officers, token collectively, belonging to a city.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary