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Village
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Village

A village is a human settlement commonly found in rural areas. It is usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town or city. Villages have been the normal unit of community living in most areas of the world throughout its history, up until the Industrial revolution and the ongoing process of urbanization. In many U.S. states, a village is a type of municipal government (see below).

Although many types and organizational patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defense, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.

In England the main historical distinction between a hamlet and a village is that the latter will have a church, and will therefore usually have been the worship centre of a parish. A village is traditionally distinguished from a town in that a village lacks a regular market.

There is much dispute over which is the largest village in England. Places claiming to be the largest include Cranleigh in Surrey, Cottingham in the East Riding of Yorkshire, both Haddenham and Wendover in Buckinghamshire, Braunton in Devon, Birchington in Kent, Horsforth in West Yorkshire, Street in Somerset, Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, Ruskington in Lincolnshire and Kidlington in Oxfordshire.

In many parts of the United States, for example New York and Vermont, the term "village" refers to a specific form of incorporated local government, similar to a city but with less authority and geographic scope. However, this is a generality; in many states, there are villages that are an order of magnitude larger than the smallest cities in the state. The distinction is not based on population, but on the relative powers granted to the different types of municipalities and correspondingly, different obligations to provide specific services to residents.

Villages in New York are often physically within a town and may be coterminous with it, but in other cases may be in two towns or even two counties. In some other parts of the U.S., a "village" is simply a populated place, with no legal standing or charter, as is a hamlet in New York.

See also