- Autonomous area
An autonomous area is an area of a
countrythat has a degree of autonomy, or freedom from an external authority. Typically it is either geographically distinct from the country or is populated by a national minority. Countries that include autonomous areas are often federacies. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies and local autonomies.
The Meaning of Autonomy
Autonomy is independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions: the autonomy of the individual.
For a list of autonomous areas, see
List of autonomous areas by countryand List of territorial autonomies.
Many autonomous areas lie within two of the world's largest countries,
People's Republic of Chinaand Russia.
Iraqi Kurdistanis the only region which has gained official recognition internationally as an autonomous federal entity.
China (PRC) has five types of autonomous area.
Found only as divisions of Inner Mongolia. In effect, these are autonomous counties (see below).
The most numerous type of autonomous area in China, found both within and outside the larger autonomous prefectures and regions.
China has 30 prefectures that are autonomous, mostly in the periphery of the country.
A first-level administrative subdivision of China. There are five ARs in China. They are Inner Mongolia AR, Tibet AR, Ningxia Hui AR, Xinjiang Uyghur AR, and Guangxi Zhuang AR. Regardless of the names, these regions are in fact less autonomous than a "standard" region of China.
pecial administrative region
Although not autonomous in name, in practice China's special administrative regions (
Hong Kongand Macau) enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
Apart from its republics, which by definition have a degree of autonomy, Russia has two types of autonomies:
"Okrug" is a transliterated Slavic
loanwordusually translated as "district". The sizes of okrugs, however, vary more widely than other areas commonly identified as "districts", from large first-level divisions to third-level divisions within cities. As of 2008, Russia has four autonomous okrugs.
"Oblast" is a transliterated Slavic loanword usually understood to mean "province". , one autonomous oblast exists: the
Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
The other types of autonomous area to be found in the world are:
Four cities are formally designated by their countries as autonomous: the
capitalof Uzbekistan, Tashkent;the capital of Belgium Brussels; the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla; and the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. Another Argentinian city that has been pressing for autonomous status is Rosario, a city of around one million inhabitants that receives less subsidythan the smaller provincial capital Santa Fe.
Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, is described as an autonomous commune ("commune autonome").
The region-like areas into which Spain's provinces are grouped are known as autonomous communities ("comunidades autónomas"), as are the three
atolls constituting the New Zealandterritory of Tokelau.
Six countries formally designate areas of their territory as autonomous
* The Åland Islands, a part of
* The two provinces of
Trento(or Trentino) and Bolzano(or South Tyrol) in Italy.
* The Bougainville province in
Papua New Guinea.
Jeju-do, a South Korean offshore island.
Vojvodinain Serbia ( Kosovois also regarded an autonomous province by Serbia although it declared unilaterally its independence in 2008)
In addition to the
autonomous regions of Chinamentioned above, various other areas of the world are formally described as autonomous regions:
Faroe Islandsand Greenland[Also described as a "self-governing territory"Fact|date=May 2007.] , two autonomous regions within the Kingdom of Denmark.
* Rodrigues, an autonomous dependency within the Republic of
* the six
autonomous regions of India.
* the five "
autonomous regions with special statute" in Italy: Sicily, Sardinia, Aosta Valley, Trentino-Alto Adigeand Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
* the two
autonomous regions of Portugal(the Azoresand Madeira).
Mount Athosin Greece.
* Zelaya in
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, within the Philippines.
* the five municipalities, or caracoles in
Chiapas, in the southeast of Mexico.
Nunatsiavut, a self-governing region of Labrador Inuit in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Nisga'aof British Columbiaand Tli Choof the Northwest Territorieshave self-government as a result of treaties.
In addition to the Russian republics mentioned above, areas known as "
autonomous republics" exist within some of the countries established following the end of the Soviet Union:
* the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic within
Abkhaziaand the Autonomous Republic of Adjaria within Georgia.
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Provincewithin Tajikistan.
* the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within
* the Karakalpakstan Republic within
Palestinian Authoritywithin Israelexercises certain sovereign powers within its borders, but is not a fully independent government. The PA-administrated territories are internationally recognized as occupied by Israel, and not a proper part of that country.
Bissau Region, in which Guinea-Bissau's capital Bissauis found, is described as an "autonomous sector" ("sector autónomo").
Bantustansof apartheid-era South Africaand Namibia.
Subcarpathian Rutheniaand Slovakiawithin Czechoslovakia(1938-1939).
Grand Duchy of Finland.
Hungarian Autonomous Province.
Other areas that are autonomous in nature but not in name are areas designated for
indigenous peoples, such as those of the Americas:
* "Indian" (First Nation or Native American) reserves and reservations, in, respectively,
Canadaand the United States.
* the five "comarcas indígenas" ("indigenous regions") of
If elected, the
Action démocratique du Québecparty, now the official opposition in the Canadian province of Quebec, promises to work to make Quebec an autonomous region within the Canadian confederation.
List of autonomous areas by country
* List of autonomous regions leaders
* M. Weller and S. Wolff (eds), Autonomy, Self-governance and Conflict Resolution: Innovative Approaches to Institutional Design in Divided Societies. Abingdon, Routledge, 2005
* [http://www.minorityrights.org/admin/Download/pdf/NicaraguaMicro2007.pdf From Conflict to Autonomy in Nicaragua: Lessons Learnt] , report by Minority Rights Group International
* P.M. Olausson, Autonomy and Islands, A Global Study of the Factors that determine Island Autonomy. Åbo: Åbo Akademi University Press, 2007.
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