A municipality is usually a single urban or administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and state laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.
The term municipality may also mean the governing or ruling body of a given municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district.
The term is derived from Frenchmunicipalité and Latinmunicipalis. The English word municipality derives from the Latin social contractmunicipium (derived from a word 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).
Powers 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.