In medieval Europe, a march or mark was, in broad terms, any kind of borderland, as opposed to a national "heartland". More specifically, a march was a border between realms or a neutral, buffer zone under joint control of two states in which different laws might apply. In both of these senses, marches served a political purpose, such as providing warning of military incursions or regulating cross-border trade.
Just as counties were traditionally ruled by counts, marches gave rise to titles such as marquess (masculine) or marchioness (feminine) in England, marquis (masculine) or marquise (feminine) in France and Scotland, margrave (German: Markgraf, lit. 'march count'; masculine) or margravine (German: Markgräfin, lit. 'march countess', feminine) in Germany, and corresponding titles in other European states.