A commandery (jùn 郡), also translated as prefecture, was a historical administrative division that existed since the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1046 BC - 256 BC) until the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Commanderies were headed by a Grand Administrator.
In European countries often the order of administrative divisions, from large to small, is as follows:
- country --> province --> county --> cities/villages.
During the aforementioned period of Chinese dynasties it was like this:
- country --> "province" (zhou 州) --> commandery --> county --> cities/villages.