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A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of the politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal, largely ceremonial power, while others have complete power over the entire government.

The title Governor is less common in parliamentary systems such as in some European nations and many of their former colonies, which use titles such as President of the Regional Council in France, President of the Regional Junta (commonly called Governatore in recent years) in Italy and Ministerpräsident in Germany, where in some states there are governorates (German: Regierungsbezirke{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}) as sub-state administrative regions. Other countries using different titles for sub-national units include Mexico, United States and Switzerland.

Historically, the title can also apply to executive officials acting as representatives of a chartered company which has been granted exercise of sovereignty in a colonial area, such as the British East India Company or the Dutch East India Company. These companies operate as a major state within a state with its own armed forces.

There can also be non-political governors: high-ranking officials in private or similar governance such as commercial and non-profit management, styled governor(s), who simply govern an institution, such as a corporation or a bank. For example, in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries there are prison governors ("wardens" in the United States), school governors and bank governors.

The adjective pertaining to a governor is gubernatorial, from the Latin root gubernare.<ref>The Mavens' Word of the Day</ref> The historical female form is governess, though female officials are referred to by the gender-neutral form governor (without the gender specific suffix) of the noun to avoid confusion with other meanings of the term.


Governor sections
Intro  Pre-Roman empires  Holy Roman/ Habsburg Empires and successor states  Turkish rule  British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations  Other colonial empires  Russia and former Soviet Union  Other European countries and empires  Other modern Asian countries  Other modern countries in North America  Other modern countries in South America  Modern equivalents  Other meanings of the word  In popular culture  See also  References  

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