King (Ger. Konig; A. S. cyng or cynig), a title of dignity designating the supreme ruler of a nation or country. The etymology of the word is far from being settled, some deriving it from the old Gothic kuni, family or (noble) race; others from roots like know, can, ken, denoting ability; while others compare it with khan and other eastern terms of similar meaning. The Romance languages all use words little altered from the Latin rex (ruler), which was the title of the first seven sovereigns of Rome, while those who followed the fall of the republic assumed that of imperator (commander), now altered into our emperor. The difference between king and emperor, and between kingdom and empire, is not always one of power or extent, but is sometimes the result of historical developments. Thus Louis XIV. and Louis Philippe were satisfied with the title of king, while. the sovereign successor to the unaltered dominions of the latter, Napoleon III., assumed that worn by the conqueror from whom he derived his historical claims to power. Soulouque of Hayti, who like both Napoleons paved his way to the throne by a coup d'etat, also chose the title of emperor.
In Europe there were 12 kingdoms in 1874: Great Britain and Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Norway, Belgium, Portugal, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Wtirtem-berg; the last four, however, being included in the German empire. Besides these there are other kingdoms in Europe which, having in various degrees lost their independence, have maintained their title, adding it to those of the other possessions of their rulers. Thus the emperor of Russia is king of Poland, and the emperor of Austria king of Bohemia, while Hungary forms as a kingdom a constituent half of the latter empire. There are also some titles preserved by houses who have lost the posses-, sions to which they were attached. The emperor of Austria styles himself king of Jerusalem, and the king of Sweden also king of the Vandals. The royal dignity in Europe is now everywhere hereditary. Formerly there were elective kings of Poland, Hungary, and other countries; those of Poland were little more than presidents for life of a republic. The successor elect of the German emperors was called king of Rome; the same title was bestowed by Napoleon I. on his son.
King, a N. W. county of "Washington territory, bounded E. by the Cascade mountains, and W. by Admiralty inlet; area, 1,800 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 2,120. It has numerous harbors. The principal rivers are the White, Snoqualmie, Dwamish, and Green, which are bordered by good agricultural land. Lake Washington is a large body of fresh water, bordered by lands rich in coal, which is mined. The W. part is interspersed with prairies, forests, and lakes. The Snoqualmie pass, 3,700 ft. high, crosses the Cascade range in this county. The falls of Snoqualmie attract many tourists. The chief productions in 1870 were 3,872 bushels of wheat, 14,135 of oats, 2,817 of barley, 42,981 of potatoes, 34,755 lbs. of butter, and 1,884 tons of hay. There were 305 horses, 628 milch cows, 947 other cattle, and 891 swine; 1 brewery, 1 planing mill, 1 flour mill, and 2 saw mills. Capital, Seattle.
Kings, a S. E. county of New York, forming the W. extremity of Long Island; area, 72 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 419,921. It lies between the East river and New York harbor and the Atlantic ocean, embracing several small islands adjacent to the coast. A range of drift hills, from 50 to 300 ft. above tide water, crosses it from S. W. to N. E. The soil is a light sandy loam, capable of varied cultivation. The South Side railroad of Long Island, the Brooklyn, Bath, and Coney Island railroad, and the Brooklyn Central branch of the Long Island railroad pass through it. The chief productions in 1870 were 44,600 bushels of Indian corn, 547,375 of potatoes, and 2,057 tons of hay. There were on farms 1,241 horses, 16 mules and asses, 1,148 milch cows, 67 other cattle, and 750 swine. There are numerous manufacturing establishments, chiefly in Brooklyn, the county seat. In 1873 a proposition for the incorporation of the county towns with the city of Brooklyn was submitted to a popular vote, which resulted adversely.