Concelho (Portuguese pronunciation: [kõˈsɐʎu, kõˈseʎu]), is the Portuguese-language term for municipality, referring to the territorial division. In comparison, the word município (Portuguese pronunciation: [muniˈsipiu]) refers to the organs of State. This differentiation is still in use in Portugal and some of its former overseas provinces, but is no longer in use in Brazil following the abolition of these organs, in favour of the French prefecture system.


Portuguese municipalities population1
A map of the municipalities of Portugal showing the 20 largest (darker shade) and the 20 smallest (lighter shade) by population

After the civil parish (Portuguese: freguesias), the Portuguese concelho is the most stable territorial subdivision within the country, with over 900 years of history. Founded in the royal charters attributed to parcels and territorial enclaves, in order to establish a presence by the Crown, rather than personal fiefdoms of the nobility and aristocracy. This municipal institution changed throughout history: many were abolished and reconstituted based on the political necessity; first they were subject to the specifics of each charter (which varied based on conditions and circumstances), and then based on national laws established during the Liberal era.

Today, the municipalities are governed by the municípios, constituted by the Câmara Municipal (Municipal Chamber), its executive organ and by the Assembleia Municipal (Municipal Assembly), its delibrative body. The Câmara is the executive body that is charged with governing the territory and policies of the region. Owing to population, the municipal chamber can comprise a number of alderman (normally between 5 and 17) elected by lists, using direct, universal suffragan vote, based with or without political parties. The municipal assembly, sometimes parliament, is responsible principally for auditing the activities of the executive branch. Its members are elected by population and proportionally by civil parishes, using the same schema as the executive (by universal direct suffrage with or without political parties), but also represented by the presidents of the juntas de freguesia (civil parish council presidents).

Though a unitary state, the Portuguese model governance has undergone periods of centralized and decentralized tendencies:

"One of the interesting and innovative aspects of the 1976 Constitution, occurs in the consideration of decentralized democracy, particularly in the ambient of territorial decentralization...The Portuguese State continues to be unitary (Article 6, Paragraph 1) , with the ability to be also decentralized...or basically, capable of distribute functions and powers to community authorities, other entities and centres of existing interest. "

See also


  • Vocabulário de Termos e Conceitos de Ordenamento do Território (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Direcção-Geral do Ordenamento do Território e Desenvolvimento Urbano, 2005

Caconda is a municipality and town in the province of Huíla, Angola.

It is located the Plano Alto region, approximately 280 km North of Lubango, the provincial capital city, and approximately 700 km South from Luanda, the country's capital city. The Concelho (municipality) was officially founded on 1857. It has approximately 160,000 inhabitants (statistics of 1983). In the 19th century, Caconda was the most advanced point in the colonial territory of Portugal in Africa.

There is also another populated place in Angola called Caconda, in the province of Huambo, and a river, in the province of Uige.

Caconda has a place in the history of zoology, because it was in this region that the great Portuguese naturalist and explorer José Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta (1833–1897) carried out the greater part of his work. He died in 1897 in Caconda, while returning from an expedition.

The Caconda region was severely affected by the Angolan Civil War. It is an extremely poor area, with a more than 20% malnutrition rate and many families living on subsistence farming. A large number of people was displaced during the civil war. The United Nations relief program and the World Food Program have been essential in addressing the humanitarian catastrophe.


Cotai (Chinese: 路氹城; Cantonese Yale: Louhtáhm Sìhng; Portuguese: Zona do Aterro de Cotai) is a 5.2 square kilometers (2.0 sq mi) piece of newly reclaimed land on top of Seac Pai Bay between Taipa and Coloane islands in Macau, that has made two independent islands become one island, since 2005. The word (a combination of Coloane and Taipa) can also refer to the entire new island which was formed by the reclamation. In the second sense, the "Special Administrative Region" of Macau now consists of the Macau Peninsula plus Cotai Island, about a mile to the south.Cotai was created to provide Macau with a new gambling and tourism area since Macau is so densely populated and land is scarce, and many hotels and casinos can be found in the vicinity of the "Cotai Strip". In 2006, a new hospital was founded in the Cotai area, the MUST Hospital, which is associated with the Macau University of Science and Technology Foundation.


The word foral (European Portuguese: [fuˈɾaɫ], plural: forais) is a noun derived from the Portuguese word foro, ultimately from Latin forum, equivalent to Spanish fuero, Galician foro, Catalan fur and Basque foru.

The Carta de Foral, or simply Foral, was a royal document in Portugal and its former empire, whose purpose was to establish a concelho (Council) and regulate its administration, borders and privileges. A newly founded town would also need the king's approval through a Foral, in order to be considered one. In this case, the town's administration and privileges would be defined in that document. Forais were granted between the 12th and the 16th centuries.

The Foral was the basis for municipal foundation, thus the most important event of a city or town's history. It was critical to a successful land settling and an increase in crop yields, by giving more freedom and dignity, via a concession, to farmers, in an age when people were subject to near slave work, as servants of landlords. The Foral made a concelho free from feudal control, transferring power down to a neighbours council (concelho), with its own municipal autonomy. As a result, the population would become directly and exclusively under the dominion and jurisdiction of the crown, excluding the Lord from the power hierarchy. The Foral granted public lands to the collective use of the community, regulated taxes, tolls and fines and established protection rights and military duties within royal service.

A pillory (pelourinho) is directly linked to a Foral. It was raised after the Foral was granted and placed in the main square of the town.


Fragoso is a Portuguese freguesia ("civil parish"), located in the concelho ("municipality") of Barcelos. The population in 2011 was 2,193, in an area of 12.59 km².Its name is derived from the word fragoso, meaning "rocky" or "uneven". It is derived from the word fraga, meaning "cliff". Its Orago, or Patron Saint, is St. Peter the Apostle. The Count of Fragoso was a retainer of the Bishop of Braga.

Maio, Cape Verde

Maio is the easternmost of the Sotavento islands of Cape Verde. Maio is located south of the island of Boa Vista and east of Santiago. Administratively, the island forms one concelho (municipality): Maio.

Mosteiros, Cape Verde (municipality)

Mosteiros is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. Situated in the northeastern part of the island of Fogo, it covers 19% of the island area, and is home to 26% of its population. Its seat is the city Mosteiros (Igreja). Its population was 9,524 at the 2010 census, and its area is 89.45 km2.

Municipalities of Portugal

The municipality (Portuguese: município or concelho) is the second-level administrative subdivision of Portugal, as defined by the 1976 Constitution.As a general rule, each municipality is further subdivided into parishes (freguesias); the municipalities in the north of the country usually have a higher number of parishes. Six municipalities are composed of only one parish, and Barcelos is the municipality with most parishes, with 61. Corvo is, by law, the only municipality with no parishes.

Since the creation of a democratic local administration, in 1976, the Portuguese municipalities have been ruled by a system composed by an executive body (the municipal chamber) and a deliberative body (the municipal assembly). The municipal chamber is the executive body and is composed of the president of the municipality and a number of councillors proportional to the municipality's population. The municipal assembly is composed of the presidents of all the parishes that compose the municipality, as well as by a number of directly elected deputies, at least equal to the number of parish presidents plus one. Both bodies are elected for four years.Portugal has an entirely separate system of cities and towns. Cities and towns are located in municipalities but often do not have the same boundaries, even they are continuously built up. There are around twice as many cities and towns as there are municipalities.

Municipality of Ilhas

The Municipality of Ilhas (Portuguese: Concelho das Ilhas, literally "Municipality of the Islands") was one of the two municipalities of Macau. Its organs were the municipal council (Câmara Municipal das Ilhas) and the municipal assembly (Assembleia Municipal das Ilhas) (Câmara Municipal das Ilhas Provisória and Assembleia Municipal das Ilhas Provisória after December 20, 1999). It was abolished on December 31, 2001, and replaced by the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais (Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs) the following day.

Municipality of Macau

The Municipality of Macau (Portuguese: Concelho de Macau) was one of the two municipalities of Macau. Its bodies were the municipal council (Câmara Municipal de Macau) and the municipal assembly (Assembleia Municipal de Macau) (Câmara Municipal de Macau Provisória and Assembleia Municipal de Macau Provisória after December 20, 1999). It was abolished on December 31, 2001 and replaced by the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais (Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs) the following day.

Palácio dos Condes da Guarda, Cascais

The Palácio dos Condes da Guarda (Palace of the Counts of the Guard) is located in Cascais, Lisbon District, Portugal. The building now functions both as the headquarters of the Municipality of Cascais and, on the ground floor, as a museum that explains the history of the town.

Paços do Concelho

The Paços do Concelho is a public building in the city centre of Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. Built between 1860 and 1873, it houses the administration of the municipality of São Vicente.

Public holidays in Portugal

Public holidays celebrated in Portugal are a mix of religious (Roman Catholic), town, city, national holidays and holidays of the Autonomous regions of Portugal.

Ribeira Brava, Cape Verde (municipality)

Ribeira Brava is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. Situated in the eastern part of the island of São Nicolau, it covers 65% of the island area (224.8 km2), and is home to 59% of its population (7,580 at the 2010 census). Its seat is the city Ribeira Brava.

Ribeira Grande, Cape Verde (municipality)

Ribeira Grande is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. Situated in the northern part of the island of Santo Antão, it covers one fifth of the island area (166.5 km2), and is home to nearly half of its population (18,890 at the 2010 census). Its seat is the city Ponta do Sol.

Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Cape Verde

Ribeira Grande de Santiago is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. It is situated in the southwestern part of the island of Santiago. Its seat is the city Cidade Velha. Its population was 8,325 at the 2010 census, and its area is 137.3 km².

Santa Catarina do Fogo, Cape Verde

Santa Catarina do Fogo is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. Situated in the southeastern part of the island of Fogo, it covers 32% of the island area (152.95 km2), and is home to 14% of its population (5,299 at the 2010 census). Its seat is the city Cova Figueira. The Municipality of Santa Catarina do Fogo was created in 2005; before 2005, it was a parish of the Municipality of São Filipe.

São Domingos, Cape Verde (municipality)

São Domingos is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. It is situated in the southeastern part of the island of Santiago. Its seat is the city São Domingos (Várzea da Igreja). Its population was 13,699 at the 2010 census, and its area is 147.5 km2.

The two major settlements in the concelho are São Domingos and Praia Baixo, São Domingos (population about 3,000) being the largest settlement in the area. Smaller settlements in the area include Água do Gato, Achada Banana and Rui Vaz, which is situated on the edge of a 1 km high cliff overlooking Ribeirão Galinha. While Rui Vaz and Praia Baixo are the main tourist draws in the area, tourism does not constitute a major factor in the region’s overwhelmingly agrarian economy.

Farmlands cover the eastern and the central parts, where runoff from the center of the island allows a higher water table and loamier soils than the dense clays found on most of the island. Mountains dominate the western border, where the steep relief and lack of rainwater runoff makes large-scale agriculture impractical. Several dozen subsistence farming villages dot the main road leading towards Assomada, but produce negligible agricultural products for export.

Tarrafal, Cape Verde (municipality)

Tarrafal is a concelho (municipality) of Cape Verde. It is situated in the northern part of the island of Santiago. Its seat is the town Tarrafal. Its population was 18,565 at the 2010 census, and its area is 120.8 km2.


Táliga (Spanish: [ˈtaliɣa] or Talega (Portuguese: [tɐˈlɛɣɐ]) is a town and municipality located border area between Portugal and Spain. Like Olivenza, Táliga is part of the province of Badajoz, in the Spanish autonomous community of Extremadura, although this is disputed and unrecognized by Portugal, which considers Táliga as being de jure part of the occupied concelho of Olivenza since 1801.

Under Portuguese administration, Táliga was a freguesia (parish) of the concelho (municipality) of Olivenza. It became an independent municipality in 1850, already under Spanish administration.

Regional subdivisions
Local subdivisions

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