A hundred is a geographic division formerly used in England, Wales, Denmark, South Australia, some parts of the United States, Germany (Southern Schleswig), Sweden, Finland and Norway, which historically was used to divide a larger region into smaller administrative divisions.
The name "hundred" is derived from the number "one hundred". It may once have referred to an area liable to provide for a hundred men under arms, or containing roughly a hundred homesteads. It was a traditional Germanic system described as early as AD 98 by Tacitus (the centeni). Similar systems were used in the traditional administrative regimes of China and Japan.
England[edit | edit source]
In England, the hundred was a subdivision of most shires dating back to before the Conquest until District Councils were established by the Local Government Act (1894). Each hundred had its own court of freeholders which exercised a petty civil jurisdiction. Not all shires were simply subdivided into hundreds: the wapentakes were the rough equivalent in the Danelaw counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Lincolnshire; wards performed a similar role in the northern counties of Northumberland, Durham, and Cumberland as well as southern Scotland. In Yorkshire, the ridings were the larger subdivision above the wapentakes. In Kent, lathes; and in Sussex rapes were larger units made up of many hundreds.
References[edit | edit source]
- "hundred" in Edmund Wright (ed.) A Dictionary of World History (2nd ed., 2006, Oxford University Press; ISBN-13: 9780192807007) published to Oxford Reference Online (2007-2013, eISBN: 9780191726927) accessed 20 Jul 2013.
- "hundreds" in John Cannon, A Dictionary of British History (2009, Oxford University Press; ISBN-13: 9780199550371) published to Oxford Reference (2009-2013, eISBN: 9780191726514) accessed 20 Jul 2013.