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Autonomous administrative division

  (Redirected from Autonomous area)
Countries with at least one area labelled "autonomous" or defined as such by law

An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subdivision or dependent territory of a country that has a degree of self-governance, or autonomy, from an external authority. Typically, it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency or to defuse internal conflicts. Countries that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.

List of autonomous subdivisions by designationEdit

Designation Division State Notes
Territory   Azad Kashmir   Pakistan Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are self-governing territories associated with Pakistan but have not formally been annexed to Pakistan as Kashmir conflict has not yet been resolved. Claimed by India.
  Kingdom of Denmark The two territories[1] of the realm of the Kingdom, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, each have an elected devolved legislature which has the ability to legislate in devolved matters. The Parliament of Denmark retains sovereignty (Denmark is an unitary state) and legislates in matters that are not devolved, as well as having the capacity to legislate in areas that are devolved (this does not normally occur without the agreement of the devolved legislature).
Banner Oroqen   People's Republic of China In effect, these are autonomous counties.
Morin Dawa Daur
City   Buenos Aires   Argentina Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina
  Ceuta   Spain The autonomous cities of Spain are two exclaves located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco, separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar.
  Tashkent   Uzbekistan Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan
Commune Bangui   Central African Republic Bangui is the capital and the largest city of the Central African Republic
There are 17 autonomous communities of Spain
Country   United Kingdom Three of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom, namely Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each have an elected devolved legislature which has the ability to legislate in devolved matters. The Parliament of the United Kingdom retains sovereignty (the United Kingdom is a unitary state) and legislates in matters that are not devolved, as well as having the capacity to legislate in areas that are devolved (this does not normally occur, by constitutional convention, without the agreement of the devolved legislature).
There are 117 autonomous counties of the People's Republic of China
District council There are 25 autonomous district councils in India   India Autonomous district councils are formed under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India
Island Tobago   Trinidad and Tobago The Tobago House of Assembly is an autonomous legislature that is responsible for the island of Tobago.[2]
There are 6 autonomous okrugs of Russia
Oblast   Jewish Autonomous Oblast   Russia
There are 30 autonomous prefectures of the People's Republic of China
Province   Jeju   South Korea
Kosovo and Metohija Claimed by:
In 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence. While Serbia has not formally recognised Kosovo's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognised by 112 UN member states.
Controlled by:
  South Tyrol   Italy
   Vojvodina   Serbia
  Aceh   Indonesia
  West Papua
  Vanuatu The provinces of Vanuatu are autonomous units with their own popularly elected local parliaments.
Region   Åland Islands   Finland
  Aosta Valley   Italy
  Azores   Portugal
  Bougainville   Papua New Guinea
  Friuli-Venezia Giulia   Italy
Guangxi   People's Republic of China
  Hong Kong
  People's Republic of China
  Hopi Reservation   United States
  Cherokee Nation   United States
  Choctaw Nation   United States
  Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation   United States
Inner Mongolia   People's Republic of China
  Iraqi Kurdistan   Iraq Iraqi Kurdistan is the only region that has gained official recognition internationally as an autonomous regional entity.
  South West State
Central Regions State
  Somalia Puntland Territory is the only autonomous region within Somalia.
  Madeira   Portugal
  Bangsamoro   Philippines
  Mount Athos   Greece
  Navajo Nation   United States
Ningxia   People's Republic of China
  Nisga'a Nation   Canada
  RAAN   Nicaragua
  Rodrigues   Mauritius
  Rojava   Syria
  Sardinia   Italy
Tibet   People's Republic of China
Tłı̨chǫ   Canada
Xinjiang   People's Republic of China
  Zanzibar   Tanzania
Republic   Nakhchivan   Azerbaijan
  Adjara   Georgia
Abkhazia Claimed by:
In 1999, the Republic of Abkhazia declared its independence from Georgia after the 1992–1993 war. Georgia and most of the U.N. member states have not recognized Abkhazia's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Republic; its independence is recognized by Russia and three other U.N. member states.
Controlled by:
Gorno-Badakhshan   Tajikistan
  Crimea Claimed by:
Controlled by:
  Karakalpakstan   Uzbekistan
Sector   Bissau   Guinea-Bissau
Territorial unit   Gagauzia   Moldova
Transnistria Claimed by:
In 1990, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union. While Moldova has not formally recognized Transnistria's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognized by 3 other non-UN member states.
Controlled by:
Entity   Bosnia and Herzegovina

Other autonomous regions include, Somaliland, Puntland, Jubaland, Ethiopian Controlled Somalia, The Netherlands (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands), Curacao (Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Saint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands).

List of other entities considered autonomousEdit

Overseas territoriesEdit

British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies

Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are self-governing Crown dependencies which are not part of the United Kingdom; however, the UK is responsible for their defence and international affairs. Gibraltar is a self-governing overseas territory of the UK. Most of the other 13 British Overseas Territories also have autonomy in internal affairs through local legislatures.

New Zealand dependent territories

New Zealand maintains nominal sovereignty over three Pacific Island nations. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing countries in free association with New Zealand that maintain some international relationships in their own name. Tokelau remains an autonomous dependency of New Zealand. The Chatham Islands—despite having the designation of Territory—is an integral part of the country, situated within the New Zealand archipelago. The territory's council is not autonomous and has broadly the same powers as other local councils, although notably it can also charge levies on goods entering or leaving the islands.[3]

Dutch constituent countries

Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, each with their own parliament. In addition they enjoy autonomy in taxation matters as well as having their own currencies.

French overseas collectivities, New Caledonia, and Corsica

The French constitution recognises three autonomous jurisdictions. Corsica, a region of France, enjoys a greater degree of autonomy on matters such as tax and education compared to mainland regions. New Caledonia, a sui generis collectivity, and French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity, are highly autonomous territories with their own government, legislature, currency and constitution. They do not, however, have legislative powers for policy areas relating to law and order, defense, border control or university education. Other smaller overseas collectivities have a lesser degree of autonomy through local legislatures. The five overseas regions, French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion, are generally governed the same as mainland regions; however, they enjoy some additional powers, including certain legislative powers for devolved areas.

Ethiopian special woredasEdit

In Ethiopia, "special woredas" are a subgroup of woredas (districts) that are organized around the traditional homelands of an ethnic minority, and are outside the usual hierarchy of a kilil, or region. These woredas have many similarities to autonomous areas in other countries.

Areas designated for indigenous peoplesEdit

Other areas that are autonomous in nature but not in name are areas designated for indigenous peoples, such as those of the Americas:

List of historical autonomous administrative divisionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b
    • Benedikter, Thomas (2006-06-19). "The working autonomies in Europe". Society for Threatened Peoples. Denmark has established very specific territorial autonomies with its two island territories
    • Ackrén, Maria (November 2017). "Greenland". Autonomy Arrangements in the World. Faroese and Greenlandic are seen as official regional languages in the self-governing territories belonging to Denmark.
    • "Greenland". International Cooperation and Development. European Commission. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2019-08-27. Greenland [...] is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark
    • "Facts about the Faroe Islands". Nordic cooperation. Archived from the original on 23 April 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2015. The Faroe Islands [...] is one of three autonomous territories in the Nordic Region
  2. ^ Tobago Division Of Tourism - About Tobago, Governance Archived 2007-07-10 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Chatham Islands Council Act 1995 No 41 (as at 01 July 2013), Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation".

Works cited