A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political parties or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle English to denote an encounter (meeting of adversaries) during battle, from the Latin congressus.
In the mid-1770s, the term was chosen by the 13 British colonies for the Continental Congress to emphasize the status of each colony represented there as a self-governing entity. Subsequent to the use of congress as the name for the legislature of the U.S. federal government (beginning in 1789), the term has been adopted by many nations to refer to their national legislatures.
Congresses of nations
The following congresses were formal meetings of representatives of different nations:
- The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668), which ended the War of Devolution
- The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), which ended the War of the Austrian Succession
- The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818)
- The Congress of Berlin (1878), which settled the Eastern Question after the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878)
- The Congress of Gniezno (1000)
- The Congress of Laibach (1821)
- The Congress of Panama, an 1826 meeting organized by Simón Bolívar.
- The Congress of Paris (1856), which ended the Crimean War
- The Congress of Troppau (1820)
- The Congress of Tucumán (1816)
- The Congress of Utrecht (1712-1713)
- The Congress of Verona (1822)
- The Congress of Vienna (1814-15), which settled the shape of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars
- The Congress of the Council of Europe.
Congresses within nations
Countries with Congresses and presidential systems:
- The Congress of Guatemala (Spanish: Congreso de la República) is the unicameral legislature of Guatemala.
- The National Congress of Honduras (Spanish: Congreso nacional) is the legislative branch of the government of Honduras.
- The Congress of Mexico (Spanish: Congreso de la Unión) is the legislative branch of Mexican government.
- The Congress of Paraguay is the bicameral legislature of Paraguay.
- The Congress of the Argentine Nation (Spanish: Congreso de la Nación Argentina) is the legislative branch of the government of Argentina.
- The Congress of the Dominican Republic is the bicameral legislature of the Dominican Republic.
- The Palau National Congress (Palauan: Olbiil era Kelulau) is the bicameral legislative branch of the Republic of Palau.
- The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is the unicameral legislature of the Federated States of Micronesia.
- The Congress of the Philippines (Filipino: Kongreso ng Pilipinas) is the legislative branch of the Philippine government.
- The Congress of the Republic of Peru (Spanish: Congreso de la República) is the unicameral legislature of Peru.
- The Congress of Colombia (Spanish: Congreso de la República) is the bicameral legislature of Colombia.
- The United States Congress is the bicameral legislative branch of the United States federal government.
- The National Congress of Bolivia was the national legislature of Bolivia before being replaced by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly.
- The National Congress of Brazil (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional) is the bicameral legislature of Brazil.
- The National Congress of Chile (Spanish: Congreso Nacional) is the legislative branch of the government of Chile.
- The National Congress of Ecuador was the unicameral legislature of Ecuador before being replaced by the National Assembly.
- France: Although France has a Parliament, the term Congress is used on two circumstances:
- the Congress of the French Parliament, name used specifically when both houses sit together as a single body, usually at the Palace of Versailles, to vote on revisions to the Constitution, to listen to an address by the President of the French Republic, and, in the past, to elect the President of the Republic
- the Congress of New Caledonia, a territorial assembly
- The Continental Congress (1774-1781) was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution.
- The Congress of the Confederation (1781-1789) was the legislature of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.
- The National Congress of Belgium was a temporary legislative assembly in 1830, which created a constitution for the new state.
Other countries with Congresses
- In France, the Congress of France (congrès) denotes a formal and rarely convened joint session of both houses of Parliament to ratify an amendment to the Constitution or to listen to a speech by the President of the French Republic.
- Spanish Congress of Deputies (Spanish: Congreso de los Diputados), the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch.
- The legislature of the People's Republic of China is known in English as the National People's Congress.
- The Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union was the legislature and nominal supreme institution of state power in the Soviet Union from 1989 to 1991.
Political parties and organizations
Congress is included in the name of several political parties, especially those in former British colonies:
- Canary Islands
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago
Many political parties also have a party congress every few years to make decisions for the party and elect governing bodies. This is sometimes called a political convention.
Miscellaneous political congresses
- National Congress of American Indians
- Iraqi National Congress
- Congress of Racial Equality
- Continental Congress 2.0
Congress is an alternative name for a large national or international academic conference.
For instance, the World Congress on Men's Health  is an annual meeting on men's medical issues.
Athletic sports congress
Organizations in some athletic sports, such as bowling, have historically been named "congresses". The predecessors to the United States Bowling Congress, formed in 1995, were the male-only American Bowling Congress founded in 1895, and the female-only Women's International Bowling Congress founded in 1927, which combined in 1995 to form the USBC.
A Chess congress is a chess tournament, in one city, where a large number of contestants gather to play competitive chess over a limited period of time; typically one day to one week.
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