Harju County (Harju maakond), or Harjumaa, (Latin: Harria), nowadays one of 15 counties of Estonia. It is situated in northern Estonia, on the south coast of Gulf of Finland, and borders Lääne-Viru County to the east, Järva County to the south-east, Rapla County to the south, and Lääne County to the south-west.
38.8% of the total population of Estonia live in Harju County.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is included in the county. The City Council of Tallinn has applied to the Government to be given a special status with its own law.
In the first centuries AD political and administrative subdivisions began to emerge in Estonia. Two larger subdivisions appeared: the parish (kihelkond) and the county (maakond). The parish consisted of several villages. Nearly all parishes had at least one fortress. The defense of the local area was directed by the highest official, the parish elder. The county was composed of several parishes, also headed by an elder. By the 13th century the following major districts had developed in Estonia: Saaremaa
(Rotalia or Maritima), Harjumaa
(Saccala), and Ugandi (Ugaunia
The County Government
) is led by Governor
), who is appointed by the Government of Estonia
for a term of five years. Since 2006 the Governor position is taken by Värner Lootsmann
The history of Harju County Government goes back to the year 1917.
Harju County Municipality has been founded by the regulation from 30 March 1917. The members of the Harju County Council were elected by the delegates of county municipalities. The first meeting was held on 1 July 1917 in Tallinn, Toompea Castle. Johannes Reinthal won the elections for the Chair of the Council. The language of procedure was decided to be Estonian.
The structure of Harju County Government has consisted of following departments from its beginning:
- general department (organised the work of different committees),
- food department (stored and registed the food products, provided the people and military etc),
- roads department,
- health care department,
- the government of rural schools (education department was formed later) and
- administrative department.
Executive Committee of Harju County Deputies Council was formed on January 1941. Its existence was stopped during the German occupation from the autumn of 1941 till autumn 1944. After the new rural regions were formed in Soviet Union, the Executive Committee of Harju County Deputies Council was abolished on 1950. The Executive Committee of Harju Region Labour Deputies Council was formed.
Harju County Government was formed on 1990.
The Chairs of Harju County Councils, the Heads of County Governments and the County Governors:
The county is subdivided into municipalities
. There are 6 urban municipalities (Estonian: linnad
- towns) and 18 rural municipalities (Estonian: vallad
) in Harju County.