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A monarch is a
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a stateFoakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of statebeing an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international persona." in its unity and legitim ...
Webster's II New College Dictionar
Monarch
Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707.
for life or until 
abdication Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies ...
, and therefore the head of state of a
monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to restricted (con ...
. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our Sta ...
, or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Usually a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state's sovereign rights (often referred to as ''the throne'' or ''
the crown The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as Crown dependencies, overseas territories, provinces, or states). Legally ill-defined, the term has different meaning ...
'') or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation's monarch. Alternatively, an individual may proclaim themself monarch, which may be backed and legitimated through
acclamation An acclamation is a form of election that does not use a ballot. "Acclamation" or "acclamatio" can also signify a kind of ritual greeting and expression of approval in certain social contexts as in ancient Rome. Voting Voice vote The most frequ ...
,
right of conquest The ''right of conquest'' is a right of ownership to land after immediate possession via force of arms. It was recognized as a principle of international law that gradually deteriorated in significance until its proscription in the aftermath of W ...
or a combination of means. If a young child is crowned the monarch, then a
regent A regent (from the Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin: 'for the time being') because the regnant monarch is a minor, is absent, abdicated the throne, is incapacitated or dead, or unable to d ...
is often appointed to govern until the monarch reaches the requisite adult age to rule. Monarchs' actual powers vary from one monarchy to another and in different eras; on one extreme, they may be
autocrats Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for ...
(
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In co ...
) wielding genuine sovereignty; on the other they may be
ceremonial A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritualistic event with a purpose, usually consisting of a number of artistic components, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin, via the Latin ''caerimonia''. Church and Civil (secular) C ...

ceremonial
heads of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a stateFoakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of statebeing an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international persona." in its unity and legitim ...
who exercise little or no direct power or only
reserve power In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike in a presidential system of government, the head ...
s, with actual
authority In the fields of sociology and political science, authority is the legitimate power that a person or a group of persons possess and practice over other people. In a civil state, ''authority'' is made formal by way of a judicial branch and an execu ...
vested in a
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. The ...
or other body (
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
). A monarch can reign in multiple monarchies simultaneously. For example, the
monarchy of Canada The monarchy of Canada is at the core of Canada's constitutional federal structure and Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The monarchy is the foundation of the executive (Queen-in-Council), legislative (Queen-in-Parliament), and judicial ( ...
and the
monarchy of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies (the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man) and its overseas t ...
(as well as 14 other
Commonwealth realms#REDIRECT Commonwealth realm#REDIRECT Commonwealth realm#REDIRECT Commonwealth realm {{R from other capitalisation ... {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
) are separate states, but they share the same monarch through
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, s ...
.


Characteristics

Monarchs, as such, bear a variety of titles –
king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is ...
or
queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reignin ...
,
prince A prince is a male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary, in some European states. The femi ...

prince
or
princess Princess is a regal rank and the feminine equivalent of prince (from Latin ''princeps'', meaning principal citizen). Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or for the daughter of a king or prince. Princess as a substan ...
(e.g.,
Sovereign Prince of Monaco The Sovereign Prince (french: Prince de Monaco) or Princess of Monaco (french: princesse de Monaco) is the reigning monarch and head of state of the Principality of Monaco. All reigning princes and princesses have officially taken the name of the H ...
),
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), mother (empress ...

emperor
or
empress An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), mother (empress ...

empress
(e.g.,
Emperor of China Emperor of China, or ''Huáng dì'' was the monarch of China during the Imperial Period of Chinese history. In traditional Chinese political theory, the emperor was considered the Son of Heaven and the autocrat of All under Heaven. Under the Han ...
,
Emperor of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, "King of Kings") was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, wi ...
,
Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state and the head of the Imperial Family of Japan. Under the Constitution of Japan, he is defined as "the Symbol of the State and of the Unity of the People" and his title is derived from "the Will of the Pe ...
,
Emperor of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British India, as its imperial head of state. Royal Proclamation of 2 ...
),
archduke Archduke (feminine: Archduchess; German: ''Erzherzog'', feminine form: ''Erzherzogin'') was the title borne from 1358 by the Habsburg rulers of the Archduchy of Austria, and later by all senior members of that dynasty. It denotes a rank within t ...
,
duke A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member of royalty or nobility, historically of highest rank, below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes from French ' ...
or
grand duke#REDIRECT Grand duke#REDIRECT Grand duke {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
(e.g.,
Grand Duke of Luxembourg The grand duke of Luxembourg ( lb, Groussherzog vu Lëtzebuerg, french: Grand-duc de Luxembourg, german: Großherzog von Luxemburg) is the monarchical head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it was ...
),
emir An emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, can refer to a king or an aristocratic or noble and military title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab countries, West Africa, Afghanistan and in the ...
(e.g.,
Emir of Qatar The Emir of the State of Qatar ( ar, أمیر دولة قطر) is the monarch and head of state of Qatar, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and guarantor of the Constitution. It is the most powerful position in the country, and ...
),
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun ', meaning "authority" or "power" (cognate with t ...
(e.g.,
Sultan of Oman Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun ', meaning "authority" or "power" (cognate with t ...
), or
pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; cop, ''Pǝrro'') is the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the term "pharaoh" was not used contempor ...

pharaoh
.
Monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to restricted (con ...
is political or sociocultural in nature, and is generally (but not always) associated with
hereditary rule#REDIRECT Hereditary monarchy {{R from other capitalisation ...
. Most monarchs, both historically and in the present day, have been born and brought up within a
royal family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens, emirs/emiras, or sultans/sultanas, and sometimes their extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, and the term papal family desc ...
(whose rule over a period of time is referred to as a
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1897. usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in ...
) and trained for future duties. Different systems of
succession Succession is the act or process of following in order or sequence. Governance and politics *Order of succession, in politics, the ascension to power by one ruler, official, or monarch after the death, resignation, or removal from office of an ...
have been used, such as
proximity of bloodProximity of blood, or proximity by degree of kinship, is one of the ways to determine hereditary succession based on genealogy. In effect, the application of this rule is a refusal to recognize the right of representation, a component of primogenitu ...
(male preference or absolute),
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. ...
,
agnatic seniority Agnatic seniority is a patrilineal principle of inheritance where the order of succession to the throne prefers the monarch's younger brother over the monarch's own sons. A monarch's children (the next generation) succeed only after the males of ...
,
Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Frankish civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis. The written text is in Latin and contains some of the earliest known instances of Old Dutch. It ...

Salic law
, etc. While traditionally most monarchs have been male, female monarchs have also ruled, and the term
queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king, who reigns in her own right over a realm known as a "kingdom"; as opposed to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king; or a queen re ...
refers to a ruling monarch, as distinct from a
queen consort#REDIRECT Queen consort#REDIRECT Queen consort {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, the wife of a reigning king. Some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an
elective monarchy#REDIRECT elective monarchy#REDIRECT elective monarchy {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, the monarch is elected but otherwise serves as any other monarch. Historical examples of elective monarchy include the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the middle ages, and also known as the German-Roman Emperor since the early modern period ( la, Imperator Ger ...
s (chosen by
prince-elector Choosing the king. Above: the three ecclesiastical princes choosing the king, pointing at him. Middle: the Count Palatine of the Rhine hands over a golden bowl, acting as a servant. Behind him, the Duke of Saxony with his marshal's staff and the M ...
s, but often coming from the same dynasty) and the
free election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office.Polish–Lithuanian CommonwealthPolish–Lithuanian can refer to: * Polish–Lithuanian union (1385–1569) * Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795) * Polish-Lithuanian identity as used to describe groups, families, or individuals with histories in the Polish–Lithuanian C ...
. Modern examples include the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong The ''Yang di-Pertuan Agong'' (, Jawi: ), also known as the Paramount Ruler, the Supreme Head or the King, is the constitutional monarch and head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957, when the Federation of Malaya (now Mal ...
of
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Pe ...

Malaysia
, who is appointed by the
Conference of Rulers The Conference of Rulers (also Council of Rulers or Durbar, ''Malay:'' Majlis Raja-Raja; ''Jawi:'' مجليس راج٢) in Malaysia is a council comprising the nine rulers of the Malay states, and the governors or ''Yang di-Pertua Negeri'' of the ...
every five years or after the king's death, and the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state or sovereign of the V ...

pope
of the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international ...
, who serves as sovereign of the
Vatican City State Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vaticano—' ...
and is elected to a life term by the
College of Cardinals The College of Cardinals, formerly styled the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church. its current membership is 225. Cardinals are appointed by the pope for life. Changes in life expectancy partly acco ...
. In recent centuries, many states have abolished the monarchy and become
republic A republic ( la, res publica, links=yes, meaning "public affair") is a form of government in which "power is held by the people and their elected representatives". In republics, the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern ...
s (however see, e.g.,
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; Arabic: الإمارات العربية المتحدة '), sometimes simply called the Emirates (Arabic: الإمارات '), is a country in Western Asia located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It b ...
). Advocacy of government by a republic is called
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interp ...
, while advocacy of monarchy is called
monarchism Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy or monarchical rule. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government independent of any specific monarch, whereas one who supports a particular monarch is a royalist. One ...
. A principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the immediate continuity of national leadership, as illustrated in the classic phrase " The ldKing_is_dead._Long_live_the_[newKing!.html" ;"title="ew.html" ;"title="ldKing is dead. Long live the [new">ldKing is dead. Long live the [newKing!">ew.html" ;"title="ldKing is dead. Long live the [new">ldKing is dead. Long live the [newKing!". In cases where the monarch serves mostly as a ceremonial figure (e.g. most modern constitutional monarchies), real leadership does not depend on the monarch. A form of government may, in fact, be hereditary without being considered a monarchy, such as a family dictatorship.


Classification

Monarchies take a wide variety of forms, such as the two List of Co-Princes of Andorra, co-princes of Andorra, positions held simultaneously by the Roman Catholic bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the elected
president of France The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the head of state and head of executive of France as well as the commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces. The F ...
(although strictly Andorra is a
diarchy A diarchy (from Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"). or duumvirate (from Latin ', "the office of the two men"). is a form of government characterized by corule, with two people ruling a polity together either lawfully or ''d ...
). Similarly, the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong The ''Yang di-Pertuan Agong'' (, Jawi: ), also known as the Paramount Ruler, the Supreme Head or the King, is the constitutional monarch and head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957, when the Federation of Malaya (now Mal ...
of
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Pe ...

Malaysia
is considered a monarch despite only holding the position for five years at a time.


Succession

upright=1.15, Postcard from 1908 showing nineteen of the world's reigning monarchs: (left to right) King Rama V/Chulalongkorn of Siam,
King George I of Greece, Peter I of Serbia, King Peter I of Serbia
King George I of Greece</a>, Peter I of Serbia, King Peter I of Serbia
, Carol I of Romania, King Carol I of Romania, Franz Joseph I of Austria, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, Tzar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, Abdul Hamid II, Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Nicholas II of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II of the Russia, King Edward VII of Britain, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, King Gustav V of Sweden,
King Haakon VII of Norway Haakon VII () (born Prince Carl of Denmark; 3 August 187221 September 1957) was the King of Norway from November 1905 until his death in September 1957. Originally a Danish prince, he was born in Copenhagen as the son of the future Frederick VI ...
, King Frederick VIII of Denmark,
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands Wilhelmina (; Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria; 31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962) was Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 until her abdication in 1948. She reigned for nearly 58 years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw the First a ...

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
, Guangxu Emperor of China, Meiji Emperor of Japan, King Manuel II of Portugal and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Hereditary succession within one patrilineality, patrilineal family has been most common (although, see the
Rain Queen The Modjadji, or Rain Queen, is the hereditary queen of Balobedu, a people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The succession to the position of Rain Queen is matrilineal, so her eldest daughter is the heir, and males are not entitled to inh ...
), with a preference for children over siblings, sons over daughters. In Europe, some peoples practiced equal division of land and regalian rights among sons or brothers, as in the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire, until after the
medieval era In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages i ...
and sometimes (e.g.,
Ernestine duchies The Ernestine duchies (), also known as the Saxon duchies (''Sächsische Herzogtümer'', although the Albertine appanage duchies of Weissenfels, Merseburg and Zeitz were also "Saxon duchies" and adjacent to several Ernestine ones), were a changin ...
) into the 19th century. Other European realms practice one form or another of
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. ...
, whereunder a
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the peerage in the United Kingdom, or ar ...

lord
was succeeded by his eldest son or, if he had none, by his brother, his daughters or sons of daughters. The system of
tanistry Tanistry is a Gaelic system for passing on titles and lands. In this system the Tanist ( ga, Tánaiste; gd, Tànaiste; gv, Tanishtey) is the office of heir-apparent, or second-in-command, among the (royal) Gaelic patrilineal dynasties of Ireland ...
was semi-elective and gave weight also to ability and merit. The
Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Frankish civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis. The written text is in Latin and contains some of the earliest known instances of Old Dutch. It ...

Salic law
, practiced in France and in the Italian territories of the
House of Savoy The House of Savoy ( it, Casa Savoia) is a royal dynasty that was established in 1003 in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, the family grew in power from ruling a small Alpine county north-west of Italy to absolute rule of the ...
, stipulated that only men could inherit the crown. In most
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism. It consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty (or "in fee") in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually give ...
s, in the event of the demise of all legitimate male members of the
patrilineage Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through their father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance ...
, a female of the family could succeed (semi-Salic law). In most realms, daughters and sisters were eligible to succeed a ruling kinsman before more distant male relatives (male-preference primogeniture), but sometimes the husband of the heiress became the ruler, and most often also received the title, ''
jure uxoris ''Jure uxoris'' (a Latin phrase meaning "by right of (his) wife"), citing . describes a title of nobility used by a man because his wife holds the office or title ''suo jure'' ("in her own right"). Similarly, the husband of an heiress could become ...
''. Spain today continues this model of succession law, in the form of
cognatic primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. ...
. In more complex medieval cases, the sometimes conflicting principles of
proximity Proximity may refer to: * Distance, a numerical description of how far apart objects are * Proxemics, the study of human spatial requirements and the effects of population density * ''Proximity'' (2000 film), an action/thriller film * ''Proximity'' ...
and
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. ...
battled, and outcomes were often idiosyncratic. As the average life span increased, the eldest son was more likely to reach majority age before the death of his father, and primogeniture became increasingly favored over proximity, tanistry, seniority, and election. In 1980,
Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingd ...
became the first monarchy to declare ''equal primogeniture'', ''absolute primogeniture'' or ''full cognatic primogeniture'', meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, whether female or male, ascends to the throne. Other nations have since adopted this practice:
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, the ...

Netherlands
in 1983,
Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose mainland territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. T ...
in 1990,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the so ...
in 1991,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, . See also: The unity of the Realm is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Denmark proper, which is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, consists o ...
in 2009, and
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked count ...
in 2011. The
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
adopted absolute (equal) primogeniture on April 25, 2013, following agreement by the prime ministers of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms at the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. In some monarchies, such as
Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "" "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates = , largest_city = Riyadh , official_languages = Arabic , languages_type = Spoken l ...
, succession to the throne usually first passes to the monarch's next eldest brother and so on through his other brothers, and only after them to the monarch's children (''agnatic seniority''). In some other monarchies (e.g.
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
), the monarch chooses who will be his successor within the royal family, who need not necessarily be his eldest son. Whatever the rules of succession, there have been many cases of a monarch being overthrown and replaced by a usurper who would often install his own family on the throne.


History


Monarchs in Africa

A series of
Pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; cop, ''Pǝrro'') is the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the term "pharaoh" was not used contempor ...

Pharaoh
s ruled
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced ar ...
over the course of three millennia (circa 3150 BC to 31 BC) until it was conquered by the
Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Roman Empire. In the same time period several kingdoms flourished in the nearby
Nubia Nubia () is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between the first cataract of the Nile (just south of Aswan in southern Egypt) and the confluence of the Blue and White Niles (south of Khartoum in central Sudan), or more strictly, A ...

Nubia
region, with at least one of them, that of the so-called
A-Group The A-Group culture was an ancient civilization that flourished between the First and Second Cataracts of the Nile in Nubia. It lasted from 3800 BCE to 3100 BCE. Overview In 1907, the Egyptologist George A. Reisner first discovered artifacts be ...
culture, apparently influencing the customs of Egypt itself. From the 6th to 19th centuries, Egypt was variously part of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
, Islamic Empire,
Mamluk Mamluk (Arabic: ''mamlūk'' (singular), ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated literally as "thing possessed", meaning "slave", also transliterated as ''Mameluke'', ''mamluq'', ''mamluke'', ''mameluk'', ''mameluke'', ''mamaluke'', or ''marmeluke'' ...
Sultanate,
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota, دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան պ ...

Ottoman Empire
and
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
with a distant monarch. The
Sultanate of Egypt The Sultanate of Egypt () was the short-lived protectorate that the United Kingdom imposed over Egypt between 1914 and 1922. History Opposition to European interference in Egypt's affairs resulted in the emergence of a nationalist movement tha ...
was a short-lived protectorate of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
from 1914 until 1922 when it became the
Kingdom of Egypt The Kingdom of Egypt ( ar, المملكة المصرية, ''Al-Mamlaka Al-Miṣreyya'', lit. ''The Egyptian Kingdom'') was the Egyptian state established under the Muhammad Ali dynasty in 1922 following the Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Indepe ...
and Sultan
Fuad I Fuad I ( ar, فؤاد الأول ''Fu’ād al-Awwal''; tr, I. Fuad or Ahmed Fuad Paşa; 26 March 1868 – 28 April 1936) was the sultan and later king of Egypt and Sudan, sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Darfur. The ninth ruler of Egypt and Suda ...

Fuad I
changed his title to King. After the
Egyptian Revolution of 1952 The Egyptian revolution of 1952 ( ar, ثورة 23 يوليو 1952), also known as the 1952 Coup d'état ( ar, إنقلاب 23 يوليو 1952) or 23 July revolution, began on 23 July 1952, by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led ...
the monarchy was dissolved and Egypt became a republic.
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, ...
hosted the
Kanem EmpireKanem may refer to: * Kanem-Bornu Empire, existed in modern Chad and Nigeria known to Arabian geographers from the 9th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900 * Kanem Prefecture, of former prefectures of Chad * Kan ...
(700–1376) and its successor, the Bornu principality which survives to the present day as one of the traditional states of
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlanti ...
. In the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍𐒇𐒘𐒏𐒖, ti, ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ, q’ärnī afīrīqa, ar, القرن الأفريقي, al-qarn al ...

Horn of Africa
, the
Kingdom of Aksum The Kingdom of Aksum ( gez, መንግሥተ አክሱም), also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite Empire, was an ancient Habesha kingdom that controlled what are now Eritrea, Northern Ethiopia, parts of Eastern Sudan and Southern Yemen a ...
and later the
Zagwe Dynasty The Zagwe dynasty (Ge'ez: ዛጔ ሥርወ መንግሥት) was a monarchical dynasty in Late Antiquity that ruled in present-day northern Ethiopia. After the historical name of the Lasta province. Centered at Lalibela, it ruled large parts of the ...
,
Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the exonym Abyssinia (derived from the Arabic ''al-Habash''), or just simply known as Ethiopia (; Amharic and Tigrinya: ኢትዮጵያ , , Oromo: Itoophiyaa, Somali: Itoobiya, Afar: ''Itiyoophiya ...
(1270–1974), and
Aussa Sultanate The Sultanate of Aussa was a kingdom that existed in the Afar Region in eastern Ethiopia in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was considered to be the leading monarchy of the Afar people, to whom the other Afar rulers nominally acknowledged primacy ...
were ruled by a series of monarchs.
Haile Selassie Haile Selassie I ( gez, ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ, Qädamawi Häylä Səllasé, ; born ''Ras'' Tafari Makonnen; 23 July 189227 August 1975) was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Prior to his coronation, he had been the Regent Ple ...
, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, was deposed in a
communist Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, universal, label=none)Ball, Terence, and Richard Dagger. 9992019.Communism (revised ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 10 June 2020. is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ide ...
coup. Various Somali Sultanates also existed, including the
Adal Sultanate The Adal Sultanate, or Kingdom of Adal or Awdal or Bar Sa'ad ad-din (alt. spelling ''Adel Sultanate'' , ''Awdal Sultanate''), was a Muslim Somali kingdom and sultanate located in the Horn of Africa. It was founded by Sabr ad-Din II after the fa ...
(led by the
Walashma dynastyThe Walashma dynasty was a medieval Muslim dynasty of the Horn of Africa. Founded in 1285, it was centered in Zeila, and established bases around the Horn of Africa. It governed the Ifat and Adal Sultanates in what are present-day Somaliland, Djibout ...
of the
Ifat Sultanate The Sultanate of Ifat, or Awfat was a medieval Somali Muslim state in the eastern regions of the Horn of Africa between the late 13th century and early 15th century. Led by the Walashma dynasty, it was centered in the ancient city of Zeila. The ki ...
),
Sultanate of Mogadishu This article includes a list of successive Muslim states and dynasties from the rise of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and of the Early Muslim conquests which began in 622 CE and continues through to this current day. In the decades after his death, ...
,
Ajuran Sultanate The Ajuran Empire ( so, Saldanadda Ajuuraan, ar, سلطنة الأجورانية), also spelled Ajuuraan Empire, and often simply as Ajuran, was a Somali empire in the medieval times in the Horn of Africa that dominated the trade in northern India ...
, Warsangali Sultanate,
Geledi Sultanate The Sultanate of the Geledi ( so, Saldanadda Geledi, ar, سلطنة غلدي) also known as the Gobroon Dynasty was a Somali kingdom that ruled parts of the Horn of Africa during the late-17th century and 19th century. The Sultanate was governed by ...
,
Majeerteen Sultanate The Majeerteen ( so, Majeerteen, ar, ماجرتين; also spelled Majerteen, Macherten, Majertain, or Mijurtin) is a Somali clan. It is one of the major Somali clans, with a vast traditional territory spanning 3 major regions of Somalia: Bari, Nu ...
and
Sultanate of Hobyo The Sultanate of Hobyo ( so, Saldanadda Hobyo, ar, سلطنة هوبيو), also known as the Sultanate of Obbia,''New International Encyclopedia'', Volume 21, (Dodd, Mead: 1916), p.283. was a 19th-century Somali kingdom in present-day northeastern ...
.
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa continent, also known as ...

Central
and
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics, and including several countries. The term ''southern Africa'' or ''Southern Africa'', generally includes Angola, Botswana, Eswati ...
were largely isolated from other regions until the modern era, but they did later feature kingdoms like the
Kingdom of Kongo The Kingdom of Kongo (Kikongo: ''Kongo dia Ntotila'' or ''Wene wa Kongo;'' Portuguese: ''Reino do Congo'') was a kingdom located in central Africa in present-day northern Angola, the western portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the R ...
(1400–1914). The
Zulu people Zulu people (/zuːluː/; Zulu: ''amaZulu'') are an Nguni ethnic group in Southern Africa. The Zulu people are the largest ethnic group and nation in South Africa with an estimated 10–12 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu- ...
formed a powerful
Zulu Kingdom The Zulu Kingdom (, ), sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire or the Kingdom of Zululand, was a monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north. T ...
in 1816, one that was subsequently absorbed into the
Colony of Natal The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to fo ...
in 1897. The
Zulu king This article lists the Zulu kings, including Zulu chieftains and kings from their earliest known history up to the present time. Pre-Zulu Nguni Chieftains *Ntu *Mnguni *Luzumana kaMnguni *Malandela kaLuzumana Chieftains of the Zulus (Pre– ...
continues to hold a hereditary title and an influential cultural position in contemporary South Africa, although he has no direct political power. Other tribes in the country, such as the Xhosa and the Tswana, have also had and continue to have a series of kings and chiefs (namely the ''
Inkosi Inkosi, otherwise appearing as Nkosi, is the Zulu and Xhosa for chieftain in Southern Africa. Inkosikazi is the equivalent term for a chieftess. An inkosi that has authority over several subordinate inkosis is traditionally referred to as an Inko ...
s'' and the ''
Kgosi A (; ) is the title for a hereditary leader of a Batswana tribe. Usage The word "kgosi" is a Setswana term for "king" or "chief". Various affixes can be added to the word to change its meaning: adding the prefix ''di-'' creates the plural form '' ...
s'') whose local precedence is recognised, but who exercise no legal authority. As part of the
Scramble for Africa The Scramble for Africa, also called the Partition of Africa, Conquest of Africa, or the Rape of Africa, was the invasion, occupation, division, and colonization of most of Africa by a handful of European powers during a short period known to h ...
, Europeans conquered, bought, or established African kingdoms and styled themselves as monarchs due to them. Currently, the African nations of
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a territory claimed and occupied mostly by Moro ...
,
Lesotho Lesotho (, ), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho ( st, Naha ea Lesotho), is an enclaved country within the border of South Africa. It is by far the largest of the world's three independent states completely surrounded by the territory of another ...
, and
Eswatini (Swaziland) Eswatini ( ; ss, eSwatini ), officially the Kingdom of Eswatini ( ss, Umbuso weSwatini, links=no), sometimes written in English as eSwatini, and formerly and still commonly known in English as Swaziland ( ; officially renamed in 2018), is a land ...
are sovereign monarchies under dynasties that are native to the continent. Places like
St. Helena
St. Helena
,
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. Bordered by Morocco, it lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of nine p ...
,
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; Berber: Mlilt; ar, مليلية) is a Spanish autonomous city located on the northwest coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco. It has an area of . Melilla, an exclave, is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in ...
and the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are west of Morocco. ...
are ruled by the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the
King of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = (Felipe de Borbón) Inauguración de FITUR 2018 (39840659951) (cropped).jpg , incumbent = Felipe V ...
. So-called "sub-national monarchies" of varying sizes can be found all over the rest of the continent, e.g. the
YorubaYoruba may refer to: * Yoruba people, an ethnic group of West Africa ** Yoruba language ** Yoruba culture ** Yoruba religion ** Yorubaland, region occupied by the Yoruba people See also * {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambigu ...
city-state of
Akure Akure is a city in south-western Nigeria, and is the largest city and capital of Ondo State. The city had a population of 484,798 as at the 2006 population census. History Pre 1914 Rock engravings dating back to the Mesolithic period, have bee ...
in south-western
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlanti ...
is something of an elective monarchy: its reigning '' Oba Deji'' has to be chosen by an electoral college of
nobles Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility has often been an estate of the realm that possessed more acknowledged privilege and higher social st ...
from amongst a finite collection of royal princes of the realm upon the death or removal of an incumbent.


Monarchs in Europe

Within the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
different titles were used by nobles exercising various degrees of sovereignty within their borders (see below). Such titles were granted or recognised by the Emperor or Pope. Adoption of a new title to indicate sovereign or semi-sovereign status was not always recognized by other governments or nations, sometimes causing
diplomatic Diplomatics (in American English, and in most anglophone countries), or diplomatic (in British English), is a scholarly discipline centred on the critical analysis of documents: especially, historical documents. It focuses on the conventions, pr ...

diplomatic
problems. During the nineteenth century many small monarchies in Europe merged with other territories to form larger entities, and following
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
, many monarchies were abolished, but of those remaining all except Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Vatican City, and Monaco were headed by a king or queen. in Europe there are twelve monarchies: seven kingdoms (
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the so ...
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, . See also: The unity of the Realm is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Denmark proper, which is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, consists o ...
,
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, the ...

Netherlands
,
Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose mainland territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. T ...
,
Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , ...
,
Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingd ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
), one
grand duchy A grand duchy is a country or territory whose official head of state or ruler is a monarch bearing the title of grand duke or grand duchess. Relatively rare until the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the term was often used in the off ...
(
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked count ...
), one
papacy The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state or sovereign of the V ...
(
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vaticano—' ...
), and two
principalities A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a regnant-monarch with the title of prince and/or princess, or by a monarch with another title considered to fall under ...
(
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German-speaking microstate situated in the Alps and in the southwest of Central Europe. The principality is a semi-constitution ...

Liechtenstein
and
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco), is a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera close to the Italian region of Liguria, in Western Europe. Bordered by France to the north, east ...
), as well as one
diarchy A diarchy (from Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"). or duumvirate (from Latin ', "the office of the two men"). is a form of government characterized by corule, with two people ruling a polity together either lawfully or ''d ...
principality (
Andorra Andorra (, ; ), officially the Principality of Andorra ( ca, Principat d'Andorra), is a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south. Believed to hav ...
).


Monarchs in Asia

In China, before the abolition of the monarchy in 1912, the
Emperor of China Emperor of China, or ''Huáng dì'' was the monarch of China during the Imperial Period of Chinese history. In traditional Chinese political theory, the emperor was considered the Son of Heaven and the autocrat of All under Heaven. Under the Han ...
was traditionally regarded as the ruler of "
All under heaven ''Tianxia'' () is a Chinese term for an ancient Chinese cultural concept that denoted either the entire geographical world or the metaphysical realm of mortals, and later became associated with political sovereignty. In ancient China, ''tianxi ...
". "King" is the usual translation for the term ''wang'' 王, the sovereign before the
Qin dynasty#REDIRECT Qin dynasty {{R from move ...

Qin dynasty
and during the
Ten Kingdoms The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were est ...
period. During the early
Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and a warring interregnum known a ...
, China had a number of kingdoms, each about the size of a
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside ...
and subordinate to the Emperor. In Korea, ''Daewang'' (great king), or ''Wang'' (king), was a Chinese royal style used in many states rising from the dissolution of
Gojoseon Gojoseon (), originally named Joseon (), was an ancient Korean state on the Manchuria and Korean Peninsula. The addition of ''Go'' (, ), meaning "ancient", is used to distinguish it from the later Joseon dynasty (1392–1897). According to the ...
,
Buyeo Buyeo, Puyŏ or Fuyu/Fuyo (Chinese: 夫餘; pinyin: Fūyú; Japanese: 扶余 ''Fuyo'' Korean: 부여; Hanja: 夫餘 Korean pronunciation: u.jʌ, was an ancient kingdom centred around the middle of Manchuria of current day north-east China. Acc ...
,
Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of Manchuria. At its peak of power, Goguryeo controlled most of t ...
,
Baekje Baekje (; (also Paekche); 18 BC"Korea, 1–500 A.D.". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=05®ion=eak (October 2000) – 660 AD) was a kingdom ...
,
Silla Silla or Shilla (57 BC57 BC according to the ''Samguk Sagi''; however Seth 2010 notes that "these dates are dutifully given in many textbooks and published materials in Korea today, but their basis is in myth; only Goguryeo may be traced back ...
and
Balhae Balhae ( ko, 발해) or Bohai ( zh, c=渤海, p=Bóhǎi, russian: Бохай, ) (698–926) was a multi-ethnic kingdom in Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula and the Russian Far East. The history of the founding of the state, its ethnic composition, ...

Balhae
,
Goryeo Goryeo (; ) was a Korean kingdom founded in 918, during a time of national division called the Later Three Kingdoms period, that unified and ruled the Korean Peninsula until 1392. Goryeo achieved what has been called a "true national unificatio ...
,
Joseon The Joseon dynasty (also transcribed as Chosŏn or Chosun, ko, 대조선국; 大朝鮮國, ) was a Korean dynastic kingdom that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was the last dynasty of Korea and its longest-ruling Confucian dynasty, f ...
. The legendary
Dangun Dangun (; ) or Dangun Wanggeom (; ) was the legendary * :"The continuing popularity of Tan'gun studies (Yun I-hum et al. 1994) clearly reflects the progressively ultra-nationalistic trend in Korean historical and archaeological scholarship toda ...
Wanggeom founded the first kingdom, Gojoseon. Some scholars maintain that the term ''Dangun'' also refers to a title used by all rulers of Gojoseon and that ''Wanggeom'' is the proper name of the founder. ''Gyuwon Sahwa'' (1675) describes The Annals of the Danguns as a collection of nationalistic legends. The monarchs of Goguryeo and some monarchs of Silla used the title "
Taewang Korean emperors were monarchs in the history of Korea who used the title of emperor or an equivalent. Three Kingdoms of Korea The 5th century was a period of great interaction on the Korean Peninsula that marked the first step toward the unifi ...
", meaning "Greatest King". The early monarchs of Silla have used the title of "Geoseogan", "Chachaung", "Isageum", and finally "Maripgan" until 503. The title "Gun" (prince) can refer to the dethroned rulers of the Joseon dynasty as well. Under the
Korean Empire The Korean Empire (transcribed as Daehan Jeguk'','' , ) was an independent unified Korean state proclaimed in October 1897 by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty. The empire stood until Japan's annexation of Korea in August 1910. During t ...
(1897–1910), the rulers of Korea were given the title of "Hwangje", meaning the "Emperor". Today, Members of the Korean Imperial Family continue to participate in numerous traditional ceremonies, and groups exist to preserve Korea's imperial heritage. The
Japanese monarchy The Emperor of Japan is the head of state and the head of the Imperial Family of Japan. Under the Constitution of Japan, he is defined as "the Symbol of the State and of the Unity of the People" and his title is derived from "the Will of the Pe ...
is now the only monarchy to still use the title of
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), mother (empress ...

Emperor
. In modern history, between 1925 and 1979, Iran was ruled by two Emperors from the
Pahlavi dynasty The Imperial State of Iran ( fa, کشور شاهنشاهی ایران, Kešvar-e Šâhanšâhi-ye Irân), also known as the Imperial State of Persia from 1925 to 1935, was a sovereign state in Western Asia which was bordered by Turkey and Iraq to ...
that used the title of "Shahanshah" (or "King of Kings"). The last Iranian Shahanshah was King
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ( fa, محمدرضا پهلوی, ; 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980), also known as Mohammad Reza Shah (), was the last ''Shah'' (King) of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow in the Iranian Revolution on 11 ...

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, who was forced to abdicate the throne as a result of a revolution in Iran. In fact Persian (Iranian) kingdom goes back to about 2,700 BC (see
List of Kings of Persia This article lists the monarchs of Persia (Iran) from the establishment of the Median Empire by Medes around 705 BC until the deposition of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. Earlier monarchs in the area of modern-day Iran are listed in: *List of rul ...
), but reached its ultimate height and glory when King
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia ( peo, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš; ; ) commonly known as Cyrus the Great, and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian empire.Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty ( ...
(Known as "The Great Kourosh" in Iran) started the
Achaemenid dynasty The Achaemenid dynasty (Greek: Ἀχαιμενίδαι; ''Achaimenídai'', in Old Persian ''Hakhāmanišiya''; fa, دودمان هخامنشی) was an ancient Persian royal house. They were the ruling dynasty of Achaemenid Empire from about 700 to ...

Achaemenid dynasty
, and under his rule, the
Empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subject to a single ruling authority, often an emperor. States can be empires either by narrow definition through having an emperor and being named as such, or by broad ...
embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of
Southwest Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant region, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and ...
and much of
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Russian-ruled, later Soviet ...

Central Asia
and the Caucasus. From the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east ...
and
Hellespont satellite in September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The Dardanelles is the tapered waterway running diagonally between the two seas, from the northeast to the ...
in the west to the
Indus River#REDIRECT Indus River {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus River
in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Thailand ) , royal_anthem = ''Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok , coordinates = , largest_city = Bangkok , official_languages = ThaiJordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
and many other Middle Eastern monarchies are ruled by a
Malik Malik, Melik, Malka, Malek, Malick, or Melekh ( phn, 𐤌𐤋𐤊; ar, ملك; he, מֶלֶךְ) is the Semitic term translating to "king", recorded in East Semitic and Arabic, and as mlk in Northwest Semitic during the Late Bronze Age (e.g. Arama ...
and parts of the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; Arabic: الإمارات العربية المتحدة '), sometimes simply called the Emirates (Arabic: الإمارات '), is a country in Western Asia located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It b ...
, such as
Dubai Dubai ( ; ar, دبي, translit=Dubayy , ) is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa. D Long, B Reich. p.157 Established in th ...
, are still ruled by monarchs.
Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "" "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates = , largest_city = Riyadh , official_languages = Arabic , languages_type = Spoken l ...
is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It was founded by
Abdul-Aziz bin Saud
Abdul-Aziz bin Saud
in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured
Riyadh Riyadh ( ar, الرياض, 'ar-Riyāḍ, lit.: 'The Gardens' Najdi pronunciation: ) is the capital of Saudi Arabia and the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the center of the an-Nafud desert, on the eastern part of the Najd platea ...
, the ancestral home of his family, the
House of Saud The House of Saud ( ar, آل سُعُود, ʾĀl Suʿūd ) is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. It is composed of the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the Emirate of Diriyah, known as the First Saudi state (1744–1818), and his ...
; succession to the throne was limited to sons of Ibn Saud until 2015, when a grandson was elevated to Crown Prince. The Saudi Arabian government has been an absolute monarchy since its inception, and designates itself as
Islamic Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
. The King bears the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to the two holiest places in Islam:
Masjid al-Haram , native_name_lang = ar , religious_affiliation = Islam , image = Masjidul-HaramAerialView_(cropped).jpg , caption = Aerial view of the Great Mosque of Mecca , map_type = Saudi Arabia#Asia#Earth , coordinates = , map_size = 250 , map_caption = Location i ...
in
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah () and commonly shortened to Makkah,Quran 48:22 ' () is the holiest city in Islam and the capital of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia. The city is inland from Jeddah on the Red Sea, in a narrow valle ...

Mecca
, and
Masjid al-Nabawi Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (), known in English as The Prophet's Mosque, and also known as Al Haram, Al Haram Al Madani and Al Haram Al Nabawi by locals, is a mosque built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the city of Medina in the Al Madinah Province ...
in
Medina Medina, ', "the radiant city"; or , ' (), "the city", officially Al Madinah Al Munawwarah (), commonly simplified as Madīnah or Madinah, is the second holiest city in Islam and the capital of the Medina Province of Saudi Arabia. The 2020 estimat ...
.
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia and the oldest independent state in the Arab world. Located in a s ...

Oman
is led by Sultan
Haitham bin Tariq Al Said Haitham bin Tarik Al Said ( ar, هيثم بن طارق آل سعيد, transliteration: ''Haytham bin Ṭārik Āl Saʿīd''; born 11 October 1955) is Sultan of Oman. He succeeded his cousin Qaboos bin Said on 11 January 2020. He previously served a ...
. The
Kingdom of Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
is one of the
Middle East The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes Western Asia (except for Transcaucasia), all of Egypt (mostly in North Africa), and Turkey (partly in Southeast Europe). The term has come into wider usa ...

Middle East
's more modern monarchies is also ruled by a
Malik Malik, Melik, Malka, Malek, Malick, or Melekh ( phn, 𐤌𐤋𐤊; ar, ملك; he, מֶלֶךְ) is the Semitic term translating to "king", recorded in East Semitic and Arabic, and as mlk in Northwest Semitic during the Late Bronze Age (e.g. Arama ...
. In Arab and Arabized countries,
Malik Malik, Melik, Malka, Malek, Malick, or Melekh ( phn, 𐤌𐤋𐤊; ar, ملك; he, מֶלֶךְ) is the Semitic term translating to "king", recorded in East Semitic and Arabic, and as mlk in Northwest Semitic during the Late Bronze Age (e.g. Arama ...
(absolute King) is the absolute word to render a monarch and is superior to all other titles.
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially Nepal, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is the 49th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by ...
abolished their monarchy in 2008.
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island countr ...
had a complex system of monarchies from 543BC to 1815. Between 47BC-42BC Anula of Sri Lanka became the country's first female head of state as well as Asia's first head of state. In
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Pe ...

Malaysia
's constitutional monarchy, the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong The ''Yang di-Pertuan Agong'' (, Jawi: ), also known as the Paramount Ruler, the Supreme Head or the King, is the constitutional monarch and head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957, when the Federation of Malaya (now Mal ...
(The Supreme Lord of the Federation) is ''de facto'' rotated every five years among the nine Rulers of the Malay states of Malaysia (those nine of the thirteen states of Malaysia that have hereditary royal rulers), elected by ''Majlis Raja-Raja'' (
Conference of Rulers The Conference of Rulers (also Council of Rulers or Durbar, ''Malay:'' Majlis Raja-Raja; ''Jawi:'' مجليس راج٢) in Malaysia is a council comprising the nine rulers of the Malay states, and the governors or ''Yang di-Pertua Negeri'' of the ...
). Under
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: ), is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, t ...

Brunei
's 1959 constitution, the
Sultan of Brunei The Sultan of Brunei is the monarchial head of state of Brunei and head of government in his capacity as Prime Minister of Brunei. Since independence from the British in 1984, only one Sultan has reigned, though the royal institution dates back ...
is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers, since 1962. The Prime Minister of Brunei is a title held by the Sultan. As the prime minister, the Sultan presides over the cabinet.
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, ...
has been a kingdom since the 1st century. The power of the absolute monarchy was reduced when it became the
French Protectorate of Cambodia#REDIRECT French protectorate of Cambodia#REDIRECT French protectorate of Cambodia {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
from 1863 to 1953. It returned to an absolute monarchy from 1953 until the establishment of a republic following the 1970 coup. The monarchy was restored as a constitutional monarchy in 1993 with the king as a largely symbolic figurehead. In the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republika sang ...

Philippines
, the
pre-Colonial Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose their religion, ...
Filipino nobility, variously titled the ''harì'' (today meaning "king"), ''
Lakan 250px, "''Naturales''" (natives) depicted in the Boxer Codex, specifically marked and identified as Tagalogs. In early Philippine history, the rank of Lakan denoted a "paramount ruler" (or more specifically, "''paramount datu''") of one of the large ...
'', ''
Raja ''Raja'' (; from Sanskrit राजन् '), is a royal title used for Indian monarchs. The title is equivalent to king or princely ruler in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinen ...
'' and ''
Datu Datu is a title which denotes the rulers (variously described in historical accounts as chiefs, sovereign princes, and monarchs) of numerous indigenous peoples throughout the Philippine archipelago. The title is still used today, especially in ...
'' belonged to the caste called ''Uring
Maharlika The ''Maharlika'' (meaning freeman or freedman) were the feudal warrior class in ancient Tagalog society in Luzon, the Philippines. The Spanish translated the name as ''Hidalgos'' (or ''libres''). They belonged to the lower nobility class similar to ...
'' (Noble Class). When the islands were annexed to the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, Imperium Hispanicum), historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Hispánica) and as the Catholic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Católica), was a colonial empire governed by Spain that exi ...
in the late 16th century, the
Spanish monarch , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = (Felipe de Borbón) Inauguración de FITUR 2018 (39840659951) (cropped).jpg , incumbent = Felipe V ...
became the sovereign while local rulers often retained their prestige as part of the
Christianised Christianization (or Christianisation) is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and throughout ...
nobility called the ''
Principalía The principalía or noble class was the ruling and usually educated upper class in the ''pueblos'' of the Spanish Philippines, comprising the ''Gobernadorcillo'', who was later referred to as ''Capitan Municipal'' (who had functions similar to a ...
''. After the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War ( es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or Guerra hispano-americana; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal e ...
, the country was ceded to the United States of America and made into a territory and eventually a
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates ...
, thus ending monarchism. While the Philippines is currently a republic, the
Sultan of Sulu The Sultanate of Sulu (Tausūg: ''Kasultanan sin Sūg'', Jawi: کسلطانن سولو دار الإسلام, ms, Kesultanan Sulu, ar, سلطنة سولك) was a Muslim state that ruled the islands in the Sulu Archipelago, parts of Mindanao in ...
and Sultan of Maguindanao retain their titles only for ceremonial purposes but are considered ordinary citizens by the
1987 Constitution The Constitution of the Philippines (Filipino: ''Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas'' or ''Konstitusyon ng Pilipinas'', Spanish: ''Constitución de la República de Filipinas'') is the constitution or supreme law of the Republic of the Philippines. It ...
.
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by China to ...
has been an independent kingdom since 1907. The first
Druk Gyalpo The Druk Gyalpo (; lit. Dragon King) is the head of state of the Kingdom of Bhutan. In the Dzongkha language, Bhutan is known as ''Drukyul'' which translates as "The Land of the Thunder Dragon". Thus, while Kings of Bhutan are known as ''Druk G ...
(''Dragon King'') was elected and thereafter became a hereditary absolute monarchy. It became a constitutional monarchy in 2008.
Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and ...
was a monarchy since the
Tibetan Empire The Tibetan Empire (, ) existed from the 7th to 9th centuries AD when Tibet was unified as a large and powerful empire, and ruled an area considerably larger than the Tibetan Plateau, stretching to parts of East Asia, Central Asia and South Asi ...

Tibetan Empire
in the 6th century. It was ruled by the
Yuan Dynasty#REDIRECT Yuan dynasty {{R from move ...
following the Mongol invasion in the 13th century and became an effective
diarchy A diarchy (from Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"). or duumvirate (from Latin ', "the office of the two men"). is a form of government characterized by corule, with two people ruling a polity together either lawfully or ''d ...
with the
Dalai Lama#REDIRECT Dalai Lama#REDIRECT Dalai Lama {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Dalai Lama as co-ruler. It came under the rule of the Chinese
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The mult ...
from 1724 until 1912 when it gained de facto independence. The
Dalai Lama#REDIRECT Dalai Lama#REDIRECT Dalai Lama {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Dalai Lama became an absolute temporal monarch until
incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China The annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China, called the "Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" by the Chinese government, and the "Chinese invasion of Tibet" by the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people, was the process by ...
in 1951.
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially Nepal, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is the 49th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by ...
was a monarchy for most of its history until becoming a federal republic in 2008.


Monarchs in the Americas

The concept of monarchy existed in the Americas long before the arrival of European colonialists. When the Europeans arrived they referred to these tracts of land within territories of different aboriginal groups to be kingdoms, and the leaders of these groups were often referred to by the Europeans as Kings, particularly hereditary leaders. Pre-colonial titles that were used included: *
Cacique A ''cacique'' (Iberian ; Latin American ; ; feminine form: ''cacica'') translates to "king" or "prince" of an indigenous group, derived from the Taíno word ''kasike'' for the pre-Columbian tribal chiefs in the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and ...
– Aboriginal
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin and french: Hispaniola; ht, Ispayola; tnq, Ayiti/ quisqueya) is an island in the Caribbean that is part of the Greater Antilles. Hispaniola is the most populous island in the West Indies, and the regi ...
and Borinquen *
Tlatoani ''Tlatoani'' ( nci, tlahtoāni , "one who speaks, ruler"; plural ' or tlatoque) is the Classical Nahuatl term for the ruler of an , a pre-Hispanic state. It can be translated into English as "king" while ''Huey Tlatoani'' is translated as "Empe ...
Nahuas *
Ajaw Ajaw or Ahau ('Lord') is a pre-Columbian Maya political title attested from epigraphic inscriptions. It is also the name of the 20th day of the ''tzolkʼin'', the Maya divinatory calendar, on which a ruler's ''kʼatun''-ending rituals would fall. ...
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America * Maya civilization, the historical civilization * Maya (Ethiopia), a population native to the old Wej province in Ethiopia Film and television * ''Ma ...
* Qhapaq InkaTawuantin Suyu (Inca Empire) * Morubixaba – Tupi tribes * Sha-quan – King of the world used in some Native American tribes The first local monarch to emerge in North America after colonization was
Jean-Jacques Dessalines Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Haitian Creole: ''Jan-Jak Desalin''; ; 20 September 1758 – 17 October 1806) was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1805 constitution. Under Dessalines, Haiti became ...
, who declared himself
Emperor of HaitiThe monarchs of Haiti (French: ''monarques d'Haïti'') were the head of state and ruler of Haiti on three non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century. With complete independence achieved from France in 1804, Haiti became an independent monarchy— ...
on September 22, 1804. Haiti again had an emperor,
Faustin I Emperor Faustin-Élie Soulouque, Emperor of Hayti (15 August 1782 – 3 August 1867) was a Haitian politician and military commander who served as President of Haiti from 1847 to 1849 and Emperor of Haiti from 1849 to 1859. Soulouque was a genera ...
from 1849 to 1859. In South America, BrazilL Gomes. 1889: como um imperador cansado, um marechal vaidoso e um professor injustiçado contribuíram para a o fim da monarquia e programação da republica no Brasil. Globo Livros. 2013. had a royal house ruling as emperor between 1822 and 1889, under Emperors Pedro I of Brazil, Pedro I and Pedro II of Brazil, Pedro II. Between 1931 and 1983 nine other previous British colonies attained independence as kingdoms. All, including Canada, are in a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, s ...
relationship under a shared monarch. Therefore, though today there are legally ten American monarchs, one person occupies each distinct position. In addition to these sovereign states, there are also a number of sub-national ones. In Bolivia, for example, the Afro-Bolivian monarchy, Afro-Bolivian king claims descent from an African dynasty that was taken from its homeland and sold into slavery. Though largely a ceremonial title today, the position of ''king of the Afro-Bolivians'' is officially recognized by the government of Bolivia.


Monarchs in Oceania

Polynesian societies were ruled by an ''ariki'' from ancient times. The title is variously translated as "supreme chief", "paramount chief" or "king". The Kingdom of Tahiti was founded in 1788. Sovereignty was ceded to France in 1880 although descendants of the Pōmare Dynasty claim the title of King of Tahiti. The Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1795 and overthrown in 1893. An independent Kingdom of Rarotonga was established in 1858. It became a protectorate of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
at its own request in 1893. Seru Epenisa Cakobau ruled the short-lived Kingdom of Fiji, a constitutional monarchy, from 1871 to 1874 when he voluntarily ceded sovereignty of the islands to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
. After independence in 1970, the Dominion of Fiji retained the British monarch as head of state until it became a republic following a 1987 Fijian coups d'état, military coup in 1987. Australia, New Zealand (including the Cook Islands and Niue), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that currently have Elizabeth II as their reigning constitutional monarch. The Pitcairn Islands are part of the British Overseas Territories with Elizabeth II as the reigning constitutional monarch. Tonga is the only remaining sovereign kingdom in Oceania. It has had a monarch since the 10th century and became a constitutional monarchy in 1875. In 2008, King George Tupou V relinquished most of the powers of the monarchy and the position is now largely ceremonial. In New Zealand the position of Māori King Movement, Māori King was established in 1858. The role is largely cultural and ceremonial and has no legal power. Wallis Island, Uvea, Alo (Wallis and Futuna), Alo and Sigave in the France, French territory of Wallis and Futuna have non-sovereign elective monarchs.


Titles and precedence in Europe

The usage and meaning of a monarch's specific title have historically been defined by tradition, law and diplomatic considerations. Note that some titles borne by monarchs have several meanings and may not exclusively designate a monarch. A Prince may be a prince du sang, person of royal blood (some languages uphold this distinction, see Fürst). A Duke may belong to a peerage and hold a dukedom (title) but no duchy (territory). In Imperial Russia, a Grand Duke was a son or patrilineal grandson of the Tsar or Tsarina. Holders of titles in these alternative meanings did not enjoy the same status as monarchs of the same title. Within the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
, there were numerous titles used by noblemen whose authority within their territory sometimes approached sovereignty, even though they acknowledged the Holy Roman Emperor as suzerain; Prince-elector, Elector, Grand Duke, Margrave, Landgrave and Count Palatine, as well as secular princes like kings, dukes, princes and "princely counts" (''Gefürstete Grafen''), and ecclesiastical princes like Prince-Archbishops, Prince-bishop, Prince-Bishops and Prince-Abbots. A ruler with a title below emperor or king might still be regarded as a monarch, outranking a nobleman of the same ostensible title (e.g., Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, a reigning sovereign, and his younger brother, Claude, Duke of Guise, a nobleman in the peerage of France). The table below lists titles in approximate order of precedence. According to protocol (diplomacy), protocol any holder of a title indicating sovereignty took precedence over any non-sovereign titleholder.


Titles outside modern Europe


Titles by region

When a difference exists below, male titles are placed to the left and female titles are placed to the right of the slash. }) or grand duke, Vialiki kniaz ( be, Вялікі князь) , - , Mbret, , Albanian King , - , Mepe (royal title), Mepe, , Georgia (country), Georgian King and Queen , - , Rex (title), Rex/Regina, , Was the Latin language, Latin title for "king". Specifically, it was the title of the king of Rome, kings of ancient Rome. Ethmologically in the Romanic languages the words evolved to ''Rei/Rainha'' in mordern Portuguese language, Portuguese, ''Rey/Reyna'' in modern Spanish language, Spanish, ''Roi/Reine'' in modern French language, French, ''Re/Regina'' in modern Italian language, Italian and ''Rege/Regină'' in modern Romanian language, Romanian. , - , Rí, , Gaels, Gaelic king. Also Ruiri (regional overking), Rí ruirech (provincial king of overkings), and Ard Rí (pre-eminent Rí ruirech) , - , Tsar/Tsaritsa/Czar, , Bulgaria, pre-imperial Russia, very short in medieval Serbia , - , Vezér, , Ancient Hungary, Hungarian , - , Voivode, Voievod, , Medieval: Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Hungaria, Romania, Poland , - ! rowspan="7" valign=top , Middle-East , Shah, , Persian/Iranian and Afghanistan King Padishah(Ottoman Empire) Han


Use of titles by non-sovereigns

It is not uncommon that people who are not generally seen as monarchs nevertheless use monarchical titles. There are at least five cases of this: * Pretender, Claiming an existing title, challenging the current holder. This has been very common historically. For centuries, the British monarchy, British monarch used, among his other titles, the title King of France, despite the fact that he had had no authority over mainland French territory since the sixteenth century. Other cases include the numerous antipopes who have claimed the Holy See. * Retaining the title of an extinct monarchy. This can be coupled with a claim that the monarchy was in fact never, or should never have been, extinct. An example of the first case is the Seborga, Prince of Seborga. Examples of the second case are several List of monarchs who lost their thrones or abdicated in the 20th century, deposed monarchs or otherwise pretenders to thrones of abolished monarchies, e.g., Leka, Crown Prince of Albania (born 1982), Leka, Crown Prince of Albania who is styled by some as the "King of The Albanians". Retaining the title of an extinct monarchy can, however, be totally free of claims of sovereignty, for example it was customary in numerous European monarchies to include "King of Jerusalem" in their full titles. When it comes to deposed monarchs, it is customary to continue the usage of their monarchical title (e.g., Constantine II of Greece, Constantine II, King of the Hellenes) as a courtesy title, not a constitutional position, for the duration of their lifetime. However the title then dies with them and is not used by subsequent heirs or claimants unless the crown is restored constitutionally. Monarchs who have ''freely'' abdicated are sometimes addressed by a lesser style (although, see Juan Carlos I of Spain and Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. However, where a monarch abdicated under duress (e.g., Michael I of Romania), it is usual (especially outside their former realm) to continue to use their monarchical style for their lifetime as a traditional courtesy. * Inventing a new title. This is common among founders of micronations, and also may or may not come with a claim of sovereignty, not usually Diplomatic recognition, recognised abroad. A notable example is Paddy Roy Bates, styling himself the "Prince of Sealand", but not recognized as such by any national government, thus failing at least the constitutive theory of statehood, constitutive condition for statehood (see Principality of Sealand, Sealand for a fuller discussion of his claims). Another known example is that of Emperor Norton, Norton I, who invented the title "Emperor of the United States of America" and later declared himself "Protector of Mexico". * Usage of a monarchical title by a fictional character. This is common in fairy tales and other works geared to children, as well as works of fantasy. Examples include Princess Leia and Princess Summerfall Winterspring. * Honorific nicknames in popular music and other aspects of popular culture, such as "King of Rock and Roll", Count Basie or Emperor Norton.


See also

* List of fictional monarchs


References

* * *


External links


A Glossary of European Noble, Princely, Royal and Imperial Titles


King lists worldwide
Archontology

African Kingdoms Imperial Throne Leadership and Enthronements
{{Authority control Monarchy, * Monarchs, * Positions of authority Titles Politics Noble titles