Starost(a) (elder Cyrillic: Старост/а) is a title for an official or unofficial position of leadership that has been used in various contexts through most of Slavic history. It can be translated as 'elder'. Territory administered by a starost was called a starostwo.

  1. In the early Middle Ages the starosta was the head of a Slavic community; in Russia the word was used until the early 20th century to denote the elected leader of obshchina.
  2. From the 14th century in the Polish Crown and later through the era of the joint state of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth till the partitions of Poland in 1795 the starosta was a royal official. His deputy was known as podstarości. There were several types of starosta:
    • starosta generalny was the official in administration of a specific territorial unit: either the representative of the King or Grand Duke or a person directly in charge.
    • starosta grodowy was a county- (powiat-) level official responsible for fiscal duties, police and courts, and he was responsible for the execution of judicial verdicts.
    • starosta niegrodowy was the overseer of the Crown lands
  3. In Galicia and Bukovina under Austrian rule a starosta supervised the county administration.
  4. In Poland between 1918 and 1939 and 1944-1950 the starosta was the head of county (powiat) administration, subordinate to voivode
  5. In Poland since 1 January 1999 the starosta has been the head of the county (powiat) executive (zarząd powiatu), and the head of the county administration (starostwo powiatowe). He is elected by the county council (rada powiatu).
  6. The starosta is the master of ceremonies in the traditional Carpatho-Rusyn and Polish wedding.
  7. The starosta was a head of various communities: church starosta, artel starosta, etc.
  8. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, starosta is the title of a mayor of a town or village (mayors of major cities use the title primátor).
  9. In Lithuania since 1991, starosta (seniūnas) is the title of the head of a province.

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