Department (subnational entity)
Department is the name given to the administrative
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...

 and political subdivision
Political division
A political division is a term of art of geography defining the concept of a geographic region accepted to be in the jurisdiction of a particular government entity...

s of many countries.

As a territorial unit, "department" was first used by the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

ary governments, apparently to emphasize that each territory was simply an administrative sub-division of the united sovereign nation. (The term "department", in other contexts, means an administrative sub-division of a larger organization.) This attempt to de-emphasize local political identity contrasts strongly with countries which are divided into "states" (implying local sovereignty).

Today, departments may exist either with or without a representative assembly
Representative assembly
A representative assembly is a political institution in which a number of persons representing the population or privileged orders within the population of a state come together to debate, negotiate with the executive and legislate...

 and executive
Senior management
Senior management, executive management, or management team is generally a team of individuals at the highest level of organizational management who have the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a company or corporation, they hold specific executive powers conferred onto them with and by...

 head depending upon the countries constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

al and administrative structure.

The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 used this designation for the "Department of Alaska
Department of Alaska
The Department of Alaska was the designation for the government of Alaska from its purchase by the United States of America in 1867 until its organization as the District of Alaska in 1884. During the department era, Alaska was variously under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army , the United States...

" during the early period of US rule in Alaska.

Countries using departments

Departments of Argentina
Departments form the second level of administrative division in the provinces of Argentina. There are no departments in the city of Buenos Aires, which has so far been divided into neighbourhoods as its administrative divisions, but is to be divided now into communes by a recently passed local act...

Departments of Benin
||Benin is divided into 12 departments , and subdivided into 77 communes . In 1999, the previous six departments were each split into two halves, forming the current 12...

Departments of Bolivia
Bolivia is divided into nine departments . Each of the departments is subdivided into provinces , which are further subdivided into municipalities ....

 Burkina Faso
Departments of Burkina Faso
The provinces of Burkina Faso are divided into 301 departments or communes. The departments are listed below, by province:-Balé:* Bagassi Department* Bana Department* Boromo Department* Fara Department* Oury Department* Pâ Department...

 Cameroon Colombia
Departments of Colombia
Colombia is an unitary republic formed by thirty-two departments and a Capital District . Each department has a Governor and a Department Assembly , elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The governor cannot be re-elected in consecutive periods...

 Republic of the Congo
Côte d'Ivoire
Departments of Côte d'Ivoire
The regions of Côte d'Ivoire are divided into 81 departments .A 1978 law created 27 self governing Communes in Cote 'Ivoire , alongside Sous-Prefectures, dividing each of the Departments. The Commune, , is administered by a Municipal Council, presided over by a Mayor...

 El Salvador
Departments of El Salvador
||A list of the departments of El Salvador in alphabetical order.Department :# Ahuachapán # Cabañas # Chalatenango # Cuscatlán # La Libertad # La Paz...

 France Gabon
Departments of Gabon
The provinces of Gabon are divided into thirty-seven departments. The departments are listed below, by province :-Estuaire Province:*Komo *Komo-Mondah *Noya * Cap Estérias Department...

Departments of Guatemala
||Guatemala is divided into 22 departments :#Alta Verapaz#Baja Verapaz#Chimaltenango#Chiquimula#Petén#El Progreso#El Quiché#Escuintla#Guatemala#Huehuetenango#Izabal#Jalapa#Jutiapa#Quetzaltenango#Retalhuleu#Sacatepéquez...

Departments of Haiti
The Communes of Haiti are the third-level divisions of Haiti. The 10 departments have 42 arrondissements which are divided into 140 communes.-Artibonite Department:*Dessalines Arrondissement**Desdunes**Dessalines**Grande Saline...

Departments of Nicaragua
Nicaragua is a unitary republic, and for administrative purposes, it is divided into 15 departments and two self-governing regions based on the Spanish model:-Zelaya Department:...

Departments of Niger
||The Regions of Niger are subdivided into 63 Departments . Before the devolution program on 1999-2005, these Departments were styled arrondissements. Confusingly, the next level up had, before 2002-2005 been styled Departments. Prior to a revision in 2011, there had been 36 Departments. A draft...

Departments of Paraguay
|Paraguay consists of 17 departments and one capital district . These are, with their capitals indicated in parentheses:- External links :...

 Peru Senegal
Departments of Senegal
The 14 Regions of Senegal are subdivided into 45 departments and 103 arrondissements and by collectivités locales which elect administrative officers.In 2006, the new department of Koungheul was created as a division of Kaolack Department...

Departments of Uruguay
||Uruguay consists of 19 departments :# Artigas . Formed in 1884 from part of Salto Department. The only department to border both Argentina in the west and Brazil in the north and east.# Canelones . One of the original 6 departments created in 1816...

 USA (historical, for Alaska)
Department of Alaska
The Department of Alaska was the designation for the government of Alaska from its purchase by the United States of America in 1867 until its organization as the District of Alaska in 1884. During the department era, Alaska was variously under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army , the United States...

Former countries using departments

Cisalpine Republic
Cisalpine Republic
The Cisalpine Republic was a French client republic in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.-Birth:After the Battle of Lodi in May 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte proceeded to organize two states: one to the south of the Po River, the Cispadane Republic, and one to the north, the Transpadane...

 French Empire Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state founded in Northern Italy by Napoleon, fully influenced by revolutionary France, that ended with his defeat and fall.-Constitutional statutes:...

 Italian Republic (Napoleonic)
Italian Republic (Napoleonic)
The Italian Republic was a short-lived republic located in Northern Italy. It was a vassal state of the First French Republic of Napoleon.-The republic:...

 Duchy of Warsaw
Administrative division of Duchy of Warsaw
Administrative division of Duchy of Warsaw was based on departments. Headed by a prefect, it was a solution adopted based on the French model, as entire Duchy was in fact created by Napoleon and based on French ideas, although departaments were divided into Polish powiats .There were 6 initial...

 Kingdom of Westphalia
Kingdom of Westphalia
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte...

See also

Administrative divisions
Departments of the Duchy of Warsaw
  • Departments of France
  • Overseas departments and territories of France
    Overseas departments and territories of France
    The French Overseas Departments and Territories consist broadly of French-administered territories outside of the European continent. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in the Parliament of France , and consequently the...

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