Freguesia (ˌfɾɛɣɨˈzi.ɐ) is the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 term for a secondary local administrative unit
Local administrative unit
Generally, a local administrative unit is a low level administrative division of a country, ranked below a province, region, or state. Not all countries describe their locally governed areas this way, but it can be descriptively applied anywhere to refer to counties, municipalities, etc.In the...

 in 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...

 and some of its former colonies, and a former secondary local administrative unit in Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, roughly equivalent to an administrative parish. A freguesia is a subdivision of a concelho
Concelho , in the Portuguese language, is the word municipality, when referring to the territory. The word município is used when municipality means the organ of State...

, the Portuguese synonym term for 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...

. Most often, a parish takes the name of its seat, which is usually the most important (or the single) human agglomeration within its area; in cases where the seat is itself divided into more than one parish, each one takes the name of a landmark within its area or of the patron saint from the usually coterminous Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 parish (paróquia in Portuguese).

Each parish is administered by a junta de freguesia (ˈʒũtɐ ðɨ ˌfɾɛɣɨˈzi.ɐ), drawn from a publicly elected four-year-term assembleia de freguesia.

Municipalities in Portugal are usually divided into multiple freguesias, but six municipalities are not: Alpiarça
Alpiarça is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 95.0 km² and a total population of 8,157 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 1 parish, and is located in Santarém District....

, Barrancos
Barrancos is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 168.3 km² and a total population of 1,825 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of one parish, being one of the six Portuguese municipalities composed of only one parish, and is located in Beja District, close to the Spanish...

, Porto Santo
Porto Santo Island
Porto Santo Island is a Portuguese island northeast of Madeira Island in the North Atlantic Ocean; it is the northernmost and easternmost island of the archipelago of Madeira, located in the Atlantic Ocean west of Europe and Africa.- History :...

, São Brás de Alportel
São Brás de Alportel
São Brás de Alportel is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 153.4 km² and a total population of 11,205 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 1 parish, and is located in the District of Faro....

 and São João da Madeira
São João da Madeira
São João da Madeira , in English St. John's Wood, is a municipality in northwestern Portugal. Its part of Porto Metropolitan Area, the second largest of Portugal. It has a land area of 8.11 km² and a total population of 21 685 inhabitants...

 all consist of a single civil parish, and Corvo
-Portugal:* Rio Corvo, a tributary of the Ceira River in the Serra do Acor, PortugalIn the archipelago of the Azores:* Corvo Island, an island in the Western Group of islands** Vila do Corvo, the only municipality on the island of Corvo-People:...

 is a special case of a municipality without civil parishes. Barcelos is the municipality with the most civil parishes: 89.

According to the Portuguese Statistics Bureau
Instituto Nacional de Estatística
The Instituto Nacional de Estatística is the National Statistical Institute of Portugal. Its headquarters are located in Lisbon. It also calls itself Statistics Portugal in English. The first census in Portugal was carried out in 1864...

, there were 4,259 freguesias in Portugal .

In Spain a parroquia is similar to a freguesia.

See also

  • List of parishes of Portugal (freguesias)
  • Municipalities of Macau
    Municipalities of Macau
    The councils and assemblies of the municipalities of Macau were abolished on 1 January 2002, and their functions transferred to the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais, slightly more than 2 years after Macau became a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China...

  • Administrative divisions of Cape Verde
    Administrative divisions of Cape Verde
    The territory of Cape Verde is divided into 22 concelhos , and subdivided into 32 freguesias ....

  • Bairro
    Bairro is a Portuguese word and refers to a community or region within a city or municipality. Bairros exist in the majority of large cities in the world. Related words in English include neighborhood, district, borough or subdivision...

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