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JUNTA (from juntar, to join), a Spanish word meaning (1) any meeting for a common purpose; (2) a committee; (3) an administrative council or board. The original meaning is now rather lost in the two derivative significations. The Spaniards have even begun to make use of the barbarism metin, corrupted from the English "meeting." The word junta has always been and still is used in the other senses. Some of the boards by which the Spanish administration was conducted under the Habsburg and the earlier Bourbon kings were styled juntas. The superior governing body of the Inquisition was the junta suprema. The provincial committees formed to organize resistance to Napoleon's invasion in 1808 were so called, and so was the general committee chosen from among them to represent the nation. In the War of Independence (1808-1814), and in all subsequent civil wars or revolutionary disturbances in Spain or Spanish America, the local executive bodies, elected, or in some cases self-chosen, to appoint officers, raise money and soldiers, look after the wounded, and discharge the functions of an administration, have been known as juntas.
The form "Junto," a corruption due to other Spanish words ending in -o, came into use in English in the 17th century, often in a disparaging sense, of a party united for a political purpose, a faction or cabal; it was particularly applied to the advisers of Charles I., to the Rump under Cromwell, and to the leading members of the great Whig houses who controlled the government in the reigns of William III. and Anne.
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