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A sołectwo [sɔˈwɛt͡stfɔ] (listen) (Polish plural: sołectwa) is an administrative unit in Poland, an optional subdivision of a gmina. In many cases it consists of one village, but sometimes large villages may be divided into several sołectwos, while in other cases one sołectwo may consist of several villages or hamlets. Like the dzielnica and osiedle, a sołectwo is an auxiliary unit (jednostka pomocnicza) of a gmina. Only rural locations are assigned to sołectwos, while the comparable administrative unit in town is either dzielnica or osiedle.
The elected head of a sołectwo is a sołtys (both office and its name being derived from the German Schultheiß). In Polish villages the house of the current holder of that post is customarily marked with a red plaque bearing the word SOŁTYS. The sołtys may be assisted by an elected sołectwo council (rada sołecka).
Originally, rich peasants in Poland were called sołtyses.
Categories: Subdivisions of Poland | Poland geography stubs
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