ALCALDE (from the Arab. al-quadi, the "Cadi" or "judge,'), the title in Spanish for officials of somewhat varied functions, in which, however, there is always a judicial element. Alcalde de corte was a judge of the palace court, having jurisdiction in and about the residence of the king. But the mayor of a town or village who discharged the functions of a justice of the peace was also an alcalde. It is in this sense that the title is now exclusively used. He is subject to yearly election and the post has often been an undesirable one in Spain. The title of alcalde must be carefully distinguished from alcaide, which is derived from the Arabic al-quaid, a general, and means the governor of a fortress.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)