From the Latin consulātus, consulate is a term linked to consul (person appointed by a government to protect the interests of the country and its citizens in a foreign state). The consulate is the home or office of the consul, as well as his position and the territory where he exercises his authority.
The person consulted, in short, is the representation of the public administration of one nation in a different one. Its functions include the establishment of visas for foreigners, the delivery and / or renewal of official documents and certificates (such as passport, birth certificate, etc.) and the protection of national citizens detained in the foreign country.
But there is still more. Other of the different functions that a consul has would be to grant aid to the ships and boats of the country they represent in the city where they are exercising their functions, to implement the control rights they have over said vehicles, to report to the authorities. of their nation of the approval of a series of measures in the place where they work that are considered that they can affect them.
Consulates depend on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while consuls exercise diplomatic and representative functions. One of its tasks is to foster relations with the host State, be they commercial, cultural, scientific or otherwise.
It is important to establish that there are several categories of consul. Thus, we find the honorary, the general, the deputy, the deputy general or the vice consul.
In addition to all the above, we would have to underline the fact that on many occasions the consulate, the building that serves as the consul’s headquarters, becomes an object of attack by nationals of the country where it is located. These are actions that try to make clear the opposition to the attitude of the original nation of the consulate that has been able to lead to those being affected.
Thus, for example, in recent years we have witnessed numerous large-scale attacks. Among them is that of the United States consulate in Benghazi in 2012, which resulted in several deaths, including the American ambassador.
Sometimes the terms of embassy and consulate are often confused. However, we would have to establish that its main difference is that the first is a political nexus between two countries, and the second is the meeting point between a country and its natives who are in another nation.
The Roman consul, on the other hand, was a magistracy created by the Roman Empire with the intention of replacing the monarchy. Consuls were elected each year and had various powers.
In France, the consulate was a government institution that lasted from the fall of the Directory in 1799 until the beginning of the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte (1804). The position of consul was inspired by the aforementioned experience of the Romans.
The Consulate of the Sea, finally, was a medieval institution with powers similar to commercial courts today. This consulted was in charge of judging and resolving lawsuits of land and sea merchants.