A municipality is usually an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government or jurisdiction. The term municipality is also used to mean the governing, ruling body of a municipality.A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district. The term is derived from French "municipalité" and Latin "municipalis".The English word "Municipality" derives from the Latin social contract "municipium", meaning duty holders, referring to the Latin communities that supplied Rome with troops in exchange for their own incorporation into the Roman state (granting Roman citizenship to the inhabitants) while permitting the communities to retain their own local governments (a limited autonomy).
The power of municipalities range from virtual autonomy to complete subordination to the state. Municipalities may have the right to tax individuals and corporations with income tax, property tax, and corporate income tax, but may also receive substantial funding from the state.
In various countries, municipalities are sometimes referred to as "communes", from Latin, notably in Romance languages such as French commune (Benin, France), Italian comune, Romanian comună, and Spanish comuna (Chile), and in Germanic languages such as German Kommune, Swedish kommun, and Norwegian/Danish kommune. Other terms include Spanish ayuntamiento, and municipalidad (cognate to "municipality") and Polish gmina.
In the United Kingdom, the term was used until 1974 in England and Wales, and until 1975 in Scotland and 1976 in Northern Ireland, "both for a city or town which is organized for self-government under a municipal corporation, and also for the governing body itself. Such a corporation in Great Britain consists of a head as a mayor or provost, and of superior members, as aldermen and councillors". Since local government reorganisation, the unit in England, Northern Ireland and Wales is known as a district, and in Scotland as a council area. A district may be awarded borough or city status, or can retain its district title.