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Mexican municipal enclave

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  • Lowell G. McManus
    The Mexican federal constitution requires each Mexican state to divide its territory into only one level of administrative subdivisions, those to be called
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 11, 2010
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      The Mexican federal constitution requires each Mexican state to divide its territory into only one level of administrative subdivisions, those to be called "municipios."  As such, they are not the equivalent of municipalities in the USA, but they more equivalent to counties.
       
      Among the 51 municipios of the northeastern state of Nuevo León, there is one called Hualahuises that is entirely enclaved within (totally surrounded by) the municipio of Linares.  The Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México says that Hualahuises is unique in the country in this respect.
       
      See the map of Nuevo León's municipios at http://www.e-local.gob.mx/wb2/ELOCAL/EMM_nuevoleon .
       
      Lowell G. McManus
      Eagle Pass, Texas, USA
    • Goyta' F. Villela Jr.
      ... Brazil is in theory the same as Mexico, with states divided directly into municipalities and no further division. However, the Brazilian version
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 11, 2010
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        > The Mexican federal constitution requires each Mexican state to
        > divide its territory into only one level of administrative
        > subdivisions, those to be called "municipios." As such, they are
        > not the equivalent of municipalities in the USA, but they more
        > equivalent to counties.

        Brazil is in theory the same as Mexico, with states divided directly into municipalities and no further division. However, the Brazilian version corresponds biunivocally to a city (in fact, Brazilian law defines a "city" as the urban seat of a municipality, and they always have the same name), while as far as I know Mexican "municipios" often include several significant urban areas.

        So, Brazilian "municípios" actually have more to do with the American version - with the difference that together they cover the entire area of the state, with no gaps or areas outside of some municipality, as with American counties.

        There are often, of course, several smaller settlements within a Brazilian municipality, but they are usually small villages and only in very few cases one could call them "cities" or "towns" by even the common sense definition.


        > Among the 51 municipios of the northeastern state of Nuevo León,
        > there is one called Hualahuises that is entirely enclaved within
        > (totally surrounded by) the municipio of Linares. The Enciclopedia
        > de los Municipios de México says that Hualahuises is unique in the
        > country in this respect.

        There are two such cases in Brazil that I know of, although no true enclaves or exclaves may exist - the law expressly forbids any territorial discontinuity (though sometimes the contiguous area between two inhabited places within the municipality is through impassable wilderness, creating practical exclaves, and in at least two cases - Santos and São Vicente, State of São Paulo, neighbouring cities that share a coastal island but whose municipalities have parts on the mainland - the contiguity is over water).

        But the "Lesotho" or "San Marino" variety is allowed, and then the two cases are Águas de São Pedro, State of São Paulo, completely surrounded by the municipality of São Pedro, and Ladário, State of Mato Grosso do Sul, surrounded by Corumbá. The former is a beautiful small hydrothermal resort (I spent two periods of two weeks there, many years ago, helping on a summer specialization course). Ladário is an iron mining town.

        Until 1995, Águas de São Pedro also held the record of being the smallest Brazilian municipality at just 3.64 square kilometres, but then an even smaller one was created: Santa Cruz de Minas, State of Minas Gerais, at just 2.9 square kilometres. The other extreme is Altamira, State of Pará, at 161,446 square kilometres - about the size of England and Wales combined.

        Regards,

        Goytá
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