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Harju County (Estonian: Harju maakond), or Harjumaa (German: Harrien, Latin: Harria), one of 15 counties of Estonia. It is situated in northern Estonia, on the south coast of the 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. Around 528,468 people live in Harju County – constituting 39.4% of the total population in Estonia (as of January 2011). 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.
The history of Harju County Government goes back to the year 1917. In the first centuries AD political and administrative subdivisions began to emerge in Estonia. Two larger subdivisions appeared: the parish (Estonian: kihelkond) and the county (Estonian: 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 (Osilia), Läänemaa (Rotalia or Maritima), Harjumaa (Harria), Rävala (Revalia), Virumaa (Vironia), Järvamaa (Jervia), Sakala (Saccala), and Ugandi (Ugaunia).
The official newspaper of Harju County is Harju Elu.
The County Government (Estonian: Maavalitsus) is led by Governor (Estonian: maavanem), who is appointed by the Government of Estonia for a term of five years. Since 2009 the Governor position is taken by Ülle Rajasalu.
Harju County Municipality was founded by the regulation of 30 March 1917. 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 the proceedings was decided to be Estonian.
The structure of Harju County Government has consisted of the following departments from its beginning:
- general department (organises the work of different committees),
- food department (registers and stores food products, provisions the people and military etc.),
- roads department,
- health care department,
- the government of rural schools (the education department was formed later) and
- administrative department.
The Executive Committee of Harju County Deputies Council was formed on January 1941. Its existence was suspended during the (Nazi)German occupation from the autumn of 1941 until autumn 1944. After the new rural regions were formed during the Soviet occupation, the Executive Committee of Harju County Deputies Council was abolished on 1950 and the Executive Committee of Harju Region Labour Deputies Council was formed.
Harju County Government was re-formed in 1990.
The Chairs of Harju County Councils, the Heads of County Governments and the County Governors:
- 1917–1920 Johannes Reinthal
- 1920–1922 Oskar Suursööt
- 1922–1927 Martin Kruusimaa (Krusemann)
- 1927–1936 Rudolf Kuris
- 1936–1940 Karl Robert Ruus
- 1940–1941 Gustav Abel
- 1940; 1941–1944 Paul Männik
- 1990–1991 Anti Oidsalu
- 1991–1994 Mati Zernand
- 1994–1999 Mait Kornet
- 1999–2004 Orm Valtson
- 2005–2006 Jaan Mark
- 2006–2009 Värner Lootsmann
- 2009 – Ülle Rajasalu
- Aegviidu (borough)
- Anija Parish (includes the town of Kehra)
- Harku Parish
- Jõelähtme Parish
- Keila Parish
- Kernu Parish
- Kiili Parish (includes the borough of Kiili)
- Kose Parish
- Kuusalu Parish
- Kõue Parish
- Nissi Parish
- Padise Parish
- Raasiku Parish
- Rae Parish
- Saku Parish
- Saue Parish
- Vasalemma Parish
- Viimsi Parish
- "Estonia’s natural increase in 2010 was positive again after 20 years". stat.ee. Statistics Estonia. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- Estonia and the Estonians (Studies of Nationalities) Toivo U. Raun p.11 ISBN 0-8179-2852-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Harju County Government – Official website (in Estonian)