Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Municipality, a town which enjoys certain rights of self-government, or the body in whom these rights are vested. The Roman municipia were under the government of two magistrates called duumviri, who corresponded to the consuls at Rome and were elected by the curia or decurumes, a body comprising a limited number of the inhabitants. Amidst the dissolution of the Roman Empire the municipia often succeeded in maintaining their privileges, and became models for the free cities of the Middle Ages. In countries, where few or no traces of Roman civilisation remained and institutions were derived mainly from Teutonic sources, the chartered town was simply a large village (tun) to which had been transferred the right of taxation, jurisdiction, and so forth, that had previously belonged to the lord of the manor or (on royal demesne) to the officers of the king. These duties involved an organised corporation, which was provided for in the charter. As life became more complex, the scope of the functions exercised by the corporation or its officers was gradually enlarged. In England a self-governing town of this time was called a "borough." a term which has been somewhat vaguely used: it was long held to imply parliamentary representation, but since the Municipal Corporations Act (1835) a distinction has been made between "parliamentary boroughs" and "municipal boroughs," the latter including all municipalities with a reformed corporation or a corporation modelled on the lines of the Act. The corporation of a borough consists of a mayor, aldermen, and burgesses.