Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hundred (country subdivision)
A hundred is a geographic division used in England, Denmark, South Australia and some parts of the USA, Germany, Sweden (and today's Finland) and Norway, which historically was used to divide a larger region into smaller administrative units. Alternative names include wapentake, Herred (Danish, Norwegian), Härad (Swedish) and Kihlakunta (Finnish)
The name is derived from the number one hundred and it may in some areas once have referred to a hundred men under arms—in England, specifically, it has been suggested that it referred to the amount of land sufficient to sustain one hundred families defined as the land covered by one hundred "hides", the smallest land unit defined by the Anglo-Saxons for taxation purposes.
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.

Other terms
The term hundare (hundred) was used in Svealand (the core region of early Sweden) and present-day Finland. Eventually that division was superseded by introducing the härad, which was the name in the rest of Scandinavia (also Herred). This word was either derived from Proto-Germanic *harja-raiðō (warband) or Proto-Norse *harja-raiða (war equipment, cf. Wapentake)[3].
Hundreds were not organized in Norrland, the northern sparsely populated part of Sweden-Finland.
It is not entirely clear when hundreds were organised in the western part of Finland. The name of the province of Satakunta, roughly meaning hundred, hints at influences from the times before the Northern Crusades, Christianization, and incorporation into Sweden.

United States

Main article: Cadastral divisions of Australia