Autonomous administrative division

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Sovereign nations with at least one area labelled "autonomous" or defined as such by law

An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision or territory) is a subdivision or dependent territory of a country that has a degree of self-governance, or autonomy from an external authority. Typically it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency and/or to defuse internal conflicts. Countries that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.

List of autonomous subdivisions by designation[edit]

Designation Division State Notes
State Azad Kashmir  Islamic Republic of Pakistan Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is a self-governing state under Pakistani control, but under Pakistan's constitution the state is not formally a part of the country as the Kashmir conflict has not yet been resolved.
Banner Oroqen  People's Republic of China In effect, these are autonomous counties.
Morin Dawa Daur
City Buenos Aires  Argentina Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina
Ceuta  Spain The autonomous cities of Spain are two exclaves located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco, separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar.
Tashkent  Uzbekistan Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan
Commune Bangui  Central African Republic Bangui is the capital and the largest city of the Central African Republic
There are 17 autonomous communities of Spain
Country Scotland


Northern Ireland

 United Kingdom Three of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom, namely Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each have an elected devolved legislature which has the ability to legislate in devolved matters. The Parliament of the United Kingdom retains sovereignty however (the United Kingdom is a unitary state) and legislates in matters that are not devolved, as well as having the capacity to legislate in areas that are devolved (this does not normally occur, by constitutional convention, without the agreement of the devolved legislature).
There are 117 autonomous counties of the People's Republic of China
District Council
There are 8 autonomous district councils of India
There are 6 autonomous okrugs of Russia
Oblast Jewish Autonomous Oblast  Russia
There are 30 autonomous prefectures of the People's Republic of China
Province Aceh  Indonesia
Jeju  Republic of Korea
Kosovo and Metohija Claimed by:
In 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence. While Serbia has not formally recognized Kosovo's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognized by 109 UN member states.
Controlled by:
Papua  Indonesia
South Tyrol  Italy
Vojvodina  Serbia
West Papua  Indonesia






 Vanuatu The provinces of Vanuatu are autonomous units with their own popularly elected local parliaments.
Region  Åland Islands  Finland
Aosta Valley  Italy
Azores  Portugal
Philippines Bangsamoro  Philippines
Bougainville  Papua New Guinea
Friuli-Venezia Giulia  Italy
Guangxi  People's Republic of China
Hopi Reservation  United States
Cherokee Nation  United States
Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation  United States
Inner Mongolia  People's Republic of China
 Iraqi Kurdistan  Iraq Iraqi Kurdistan is the only region that has gained official recognition internationally as an autonomous regional entity.
Madeira  Portugal
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao  Philippines
Mount Athos  Greece
Navajo Nation  United States
Ningxia  People's Republic of China
Nisga'a Nation  Canada
RAAN  Nicaragua
Rodrigues  Mauritius
Sardinia  Italy
Tibet  People's Republic of China
Tłı̨chǫ  Canada
Xinjiang  People's Republic of China
Zanzibar  Tanzania
There are 14 autonomous regions of India, one of which is a de facto area
Republic Nakhchivan  Azerbaijan
Adjara  Georgia
Abkhazia Claimed by:
In 1999, the Republic of Abkhazia declared its independence from Georgia after the 1992–1993 war. Georgia and most of the U.N. member states have not recognized Abkhazia's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Republic; its independence is recognized by Russia and four other U.N. member states.
Controlled by:
Gorno-Badakhshan  Tajikistan
Crimea Claimed by:
Controlled by
Karakalpakstan  Uzbekistan
Sector Bissau  Guinea-Bissau
Territorial Unit Gagauzia  Moldova
Transnistria Claimed by:
In 1990, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union. While Moldova has not formally recognized Transnistria's independence and still has an administrative apparatus for the Autonomous Province, its independence is recognized by 3 other non-UN member states.
Controlled by:
Entity  Republika Srpska  Bosnia and Herzegovina

List of other entities considered autonomous[edit]

Overseas territories[edit]

British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies

Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are self-governing Crown dependencies which are not part of the United Kingdom, however the UK is responsible for their defence and international affairs. Gibraltar is a self-governing overseas territory of the UK. A number of other British Overseas Territories also have autonomy in internal affairs through local legislatures.

New Zealand dependent territories

New Zealand maintains nominal sovereignty over three Pacific Island nations. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing countries in free association with New Zealand that maintain some international relationships in their own name. Tokelau remains an autonomous dependency of New Zealand. The Chatham Islands—despite having the designation of Territory—is an integral part of the country, situated within the New Zealand archipelago. The territory's council is not autonomous and has broadly the same powers as other local councils, although notably it can also charge levies on goods entering or leaving the islands.[1]

Danish constituent countries

The Faroe Islands and Greenland are two autonomous countries within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Dutch constituent countries

Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, each with their own parliament. In addition they enjoy autonomy in taxation matters as well as having their own currencies.

French overseas collectivities, New Caledonia, and Corsica

The French constitution recognises 3 autonomous jurisdictions. Corsica, a region of France, enjoys a greater degree of autonomy on matters such as tax and education compared to mainland regions. New Caledonia, a sui generis collectivity, and French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity, are highly autonomous territories with their own government, legislature, currency and constitution. They do not however have legislative powers for policy areas relating to law and order, defense, border control or university education. Other smaller overseas collectivities have a lesser degree of autonomy through local legislatures. The five overseas regions, French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion, are generally governed the same as mainland regions, however enjoy some additional powers, including certain legislative powers for devolved areas.

Ethiopian special woredas[edit]

In Ethiopia, "special woredas" are a subgroup of woredas (districts) that are organized around the traditional homelands of an ethnic minority, and are outside the usual hierarchy of a kilil, or region. These woredas have many similarities to autonomous areas in other countries.

Areas designated for indigenous peoples[edit]

Other areas that are autonomous in nature but not in name are areas designated for indigenous peoples, such as those of the Americas:

List of historical autonomous administrative divisions[edit]

See also[edit]