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A village is a human settlement commonly found in rural areas. It is usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town. Villages have been the normal unit of community living in most areas of the world throughout its history, up until the Industrial revolution and the ongoing process of urbanization.
Although many types and organizational patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defense, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.
In England the main historical distinction between a hamlet and a village is that the latter will have a church, and will therefore usually have been the worship centre of a parish. A village is traditionally distinguished from a town because a village lacks a regular market.
There is much dispute over which is the largest village in England. Places claiming to be the largest include Cranleigh in Surrey, Cottingham in the East Riding of Yorkshire, both Haddenham and Wendover in Buckinghamshire, Braunton in Devon, Birchington in Kent, Horsforth in West Yorkshire, Street in Somerset, Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, Ruskington in Lincolnshire and Kidlington in Oxfordshire.
In some parts of the United States, particularly New York and Vermont, the term "village" refers to a specific form of incorporated local government, similar to a city but with less authority and geographic scope. (However, this is not a rule; in New York specifically, there are some villages which are an order of magnitude larger than the smallest cities in the state.) In most other parts of the US, a "village" is simply a populated place, with no legal standing or charter.
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