Federal district

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A federal district is a type of administrative division of a federation, under the direct control of a federal government. Federal districts often include capital districts, and they exist in states and countries worldwide.

United States

The seat of the U.S. federal government in Washington, D.C. is a federal district known as the "District of Columbia", which is not part of any U.S. state. Other federally administered areas that are within a state, but not under its jurisdiction are called federal enclaves. In main addition, the U.S. government has several other kinds of "federal districts" which are not specifically related to a capital city:

Latin America

The term Distrito Federal, meaning "Federal District" in both the Portuguese and Spanish languages, is used to refer to:


In Malaysia, the term Federal Territory (Malay: Wilayah Persekutuan) is used for the three territories governed directly by the federal government, namely Kuala Lumpur (national capital), Putrajaya (federal government administrative centre) and Labuan (international offshore financial centre).

In India, the term Union Territory is used for the seven territories governed directly by the federal national government with its own Chief minister and Governor. They include — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. Of these Delhi and Puducherry possess partial state hoods with their own elected chief ministers.

In Pakistan, the term Federal Territory is used for the five zones and 12 union councils of Islamabad governed directly by the state government as Islamabad Capital Territory.


The Australian Capital Territory is enclaved within the state of New South Wales. Its only city is Canberra, the capital of Australia.


There are nine federal districts of Russia, which function as an additional administrative layer between other subdivisions and the Russian Federation as a whole state. But these have nothing to do with the territory surrounding a capital city. However, there are also three cities of federal significance, established by the Constitution — Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sevastopol. Each city is treated as separate subject of federation, and has its own legislative body. Such status is based on certain special functions which these three cities have, including location of federal government and federal judicial institutions.

See also