1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Municipality

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MUNICIPALITY, a modern term (derived from Lat. municipium; see below), now used 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, together with the simple corporators, who are represented by the governing body; it acts as a person by its common seal, and has a perpetual succession, with power to hold lands subject to the restrictions of the Mortmain laws; and it can sue or be sued. Where necessary for its primary objects, every corporation has power to make by-laws and to enforce them by penalties, provided they are not unjust or unreasonable or otherwise inconsistent with the objects of the charter or other instrument of foundation.

See Borough, Commune, Corporation, Local Government, Finance, &c., and for details of the functions of the municipal government see the sections under the general headings of the different countries and the sections on the history of these countries.