A comarca is a traditional region or local administrative division
Administrative division
An administrative division, subnational entity, or country subdivision is a portion of a country or other political division, established for the purpose of government. Administrative divisions are each granted a certain degree of autonomy, and are required to manage themselves through their own...

 found in parts of Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, and Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. The term is derived from the term marca, meaning a "march, mark", plus the prefix co- meaning "together, jointly".

comarca is known in Aragonese
Aragonese language
Aragonese is a Romance language now spoken in a number of local varieties by between 10,000 and 30,000 people over the valleys of the Aragón River, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in Aragon, Spain...

redolada (reðoˈlaða) and in Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

eskualde (es̺kualde). In addition, in Galician
Galician language
Galician is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is co-official with Castilian Spanish, as well as in border zones of the neighbouring territories of Asturias and Castile and León.Modern Galician and...

comarcas are also called bisbarras (bizˈβaras).


The term
comarca is used in several regions of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

  • In Cantabria
    Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

    , the
    comarca exists as a traditional or historical division, usually identified with the greatest rivers of the region.
  • In Catalonia
    Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

     and Aragon
    Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

    , the
    comarca exists as a local government area, and has a representative comarcal council
    Comarcal council
    The comarcal council , also somewhat misleadingly referred to as county council, is a local administration and government organ in the comarcas of some territories, such as the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Aragon and Galicia.The comarcal council is normally constituted by...

  • In the Valencian Community
    Valencian Community
    The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

    , the
    comarca exists only as a traditional region with no administrative competences. They are legally referred as homologated territorial demarcations instead of as comarques.
  • In Galicia the comarca or bisbarra are traditional divisions of the land and enjoy limited official recognition, but have no administrative relevance. However, the Galician government
    Xunta de Galicia
    The Xunta de Galicia is the collective decision-making body of the government of the autonomous community of Galicia, composed of the President, the Vice-President and the specialized ministers ....

     is attempting to transform the
    bisbarras into territorial administrative tiers, forming up a new regional network allegedly more balanced and efficient. Galician comarcas also have a comarcal council
    Comarcal council
    The comarcal council , also somewhat misleadingly referred to as county council, is a local administration and government organ in the comarcas of some territories, such as the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Aragon and Galicia.The comarcal council is normally constituted by...


In other places, such as Extremadura
Extremadura is an autonomous community of western Spain whose capital city is Mérida. Its component provinces are Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by Portugal to the west...

, the
comarca may be simply a loosely-defined region.

Because of the
comarcas long-standing use, it is sometimes used as the basis for the promotion of tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

, with emphasis on local cultural tradition and history.


In Panama, the comarca indígena is an administrative region for an area with a substantial Indian population. Three comarcas (Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Kuna Yala
Kuna Yala
Guna Yala is an autonomous territory or comarca in Panama, inhabited by the Kuna indigenous people.The name means "Guna-land" or "Guna mountain" in the Kuna language...

, Ngöbe-Buglé
Ngöbe-Buglé is a comarca in Panama. It was formed in 1997 with lands from the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, and Veraguas. The capital is Chichica...

) exist as equivalent to a province, with two smaller comarcas (Kuna de Madugandí
Kuna de Madugandí
Kuna de Madugandi is a comarca in Panamá. It was created in 1996 from the east part of the province of Panamá, in the district of Chepo. The primary ethnicity is Kuna.The comarca is not divided into districts. Its capital is Akua Yala....

 and Kuna de Wargandí
Kuna de Wargandí
Kuna de Wargandí is a comarca indígena in Panamá. It was created in 2000 from the province of Darién, from the district of Pinogana. It has an area of 299 square miles . It is inhabited by the Kuna people....

) subordinate to a province and considered equivalent to a corregimiento
Corregimiento is a term used in Colombia to define a subdivision of Colombian departments. According to the Colombian Constitution of 1991 and Decree 2274 of October 4, 1991, Corregimiento is an internal part of a Department or province, which includes a population core...


Portugal and Brazil

Nowadays, both in Portugal and Brazil, the comarca is a territorial division in the judicial system. It indicates the area covered by a lower level court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

. It may correspond to a municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, or group together several small municipalities under one court.

Until the 16th century, the comarca was a large administrative region of Portugal. There were six tradicional comarcas, Entre-Douro-e-Minho, Trás-os-Montes, Beira
Beira, Portugal
Beira was one of the six traditional provinces or "comarcas" of Portugal.-Administrative history:The medieval province of Beira was divided in 1832 into* Beira Alta Province* Beira Baixa ProvinceBeira Litoral...

, Estremadura
Estremadura may refer to:* Estremadura Province * Estremadura Province * Lisboa VR, a Portuguese wine region called Estremadura until 2009...

, Alentejo and Algarve, of which the last had the honorary title of "kingdom". In the 16th century, the comarcas started to be known as "provinces". The name "comarca" was given to the administrative and judicial subdivisions of the provinces, introduced in the 17th century and replaced by the current administrative districts and judicial comarcas in the 19th century.


Some Spanish-language editions of J R R Tolkien's works use La Comarca to translate "The Shire".

See also

  • Comarcas of Aragon
  • Comarcas of Asturias
    Comarcas of Asturias
    Asturias, an autonomous community in Spain, is divided into eight comarcas. These comarcas are not an administrative division of the autonomous community. The comarcas in Spain are a grouping of municipalities that are encouraged to work together to achieve objectives...

Comarcas of Galicia
  • Comarcas of Spain
    Comarcas of Spain
    In Spain traditionally and historically, some autonomous communities are also divided into comarcas .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing comarca.*Galician , sing. comarca....

  • Comarques of Catalonia
    Comarques of Catalonia
    This is a list of the comarques of Catalonia . A comarca is roughly equivalent to a US "county" or a UK "district". However, in the context of Catalonia, the term "county" can be a bit misleading, because in medieval Catalonia, the most important rulers were counts, notably the Counts of Barcelona...

  • Comarques of the Valencian Community
  • List of terms for country subdivisions
  • Provinces of Panama
    Provinces of Panama
    Panama is divided into nine provinces and three provincial-level indigenous regions...

  • Commune
    Commune may refer to:In society:* Commune, a human community in which resources are shared* Commune , a township or municipality* One of the Communes of France* An Italian Comune...

  • Kecamatan

External links

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