Most sovereign states are both de jure and de facto (i.e., they exist bo
Most sovereign states are both de jure and de facto (i.e., they exist both in law and in reality). However, states which are only de jure states are sometimes recognised as being the legitimate government of a territory over which they have no actual control. For example, during the Second World War, governments-in-exile of a number of states continued to enjoy diplomatic relations with the Allies, notwithstanding that their countries were under occupation by Axis powers. The PLO and Palestinian Authority claim that the State of Palestine is a sovereign state, a claim which has been recognised by most states, though most of the territory it claims is under the de facto control of Israel. Other entities may have de facto control over a territory but lack international recognition; these may be considered by the international community to be only de facto states. They are considered de jure states only according to their own law and by states that recognise them. For example, Somaliland is commonly considered to be such a state. For a list of entities that wish to be universally recognised as sovereign states, but do not have complete worldwide diplomatic recognition, see the list of states with limited recognition.
Generally speaking, states are durable entities, though it is possible f
Generally speaking, states are durable entities, though it is possible for them to become extinguished, either through voluntary means or outside forces, such as military conquest. Violent state abolition has virtually ceased since the end of World War II. Because states are non-physical juridical entities, it has been argued their extinction cannot be due to physical force alone. Instead, the physical actions of the military must be associated with the correct social or judiciary actions in order to abolish a state.
Since the end of World War II, the number of sovereign states in the inter
Since the end of World War II, the number of sovereign states in the international system has surged. Some research suggests that the existence of international and regional organisations, the greater availability of economic aid, and greater acceptance of the norm of self-determination have increased the desire of political units to secede and can be credited for the increase in the number of states in the international system. Harvard economist Alberto Alesina and Tufts economist Enrico Spolaore argue in their book, Size of Nations, that the increase in the number of states can partly be credited to a more peaceful world, greater free trade and international economic integration, democratisation, and the presence of international organisations that co-ordinate economic and political policies.