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- For related meanings see also Monarch (disambiguation). "Kingdom" redirects here, for other meanings see Kingdom (disambiguation). "Royal" redirects here, for other meanings see Royal (disambiguation).
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A monarchy, from the Greek μονος, "one," and αρχειν, "to rule", is a form of government that has a Monarch as Head of State. A distinguishing characteristic of most monarchies is that the Monarch usually reigns as Head of State for life; in a republic, the Head of State (often called the president) is normally elected for a certain amount of time. There are currently 29 extant sovereign monarchies in the world. The monarchy of Britain rules more of the world than any other. However it does so not as the British monarchy but rather as 17 independent Realms including Canada and Australia.
The term monarchy is also used to refer to the people (especially the dynasty, also known as 'royalty') and institutions that make up the royal or imperial establishment, or to the realm over which the monarch reigns.
In most monarchies, the Monarch serves as a symbol of continuity and statehood. Many monarchies are constituted by tradition or by codified law so that the Monarch has little real political power, but in others the Monarch holds substantial power. In some cases, the symbolism of monarchy alongside the symbolism of democracy can lead to divisions over seemingly contradictory principles of sovereignty.
Monarchies are one of the oldest forms of government, with echoes in the leadership of tribal chiefs. Many monarchies began with the Monarch as the local representative and temporary embodiment of the deity: (King of Babylon). The Monarch often ruled at the pleasure of the deity and was overthrown or sacrificed when it became apparent that supernatural sanction had been withdrawn: Celestial Emperor of China, Mayan kings, Achaemenid King of Kings of Persia. Other Monarchs derived their power by acclamation of the ruling or of the warrior caste of a clan or group of clans: Kings of the Franks, Roman emperors. Even where law is simply the monarch's will, the king must rule by custom.
Since 1800, many of the world's monarchies have ceased to have a monarch and become republics, or become parliamentary democracies. Democratic countries which retain monarchy by definition limit the Monarch's power, with most having become constitutional monarchies. In England, this process began with the Magna Carta of 1215, although it did not reach democratic proportions until after the Glorious Revolution in 1689. In the modern media age, however, popular Monarchs can, independently of their formal role within the constitutional framework, through popularity and various contacts, acquire considerable influence via public opinion and/or politicians.
Among the few states that retain a rather absolute monarchy are Swaziland, Brunei, Bhutan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Jordan and Morocco, the Monarch also retains considerable power. There are also recent (2003) developments in Liechtenstein, wherein the regnant prince was given the constitutional power to dismiss the government at will. Nepal had several swings between a constitutional role and direct rule related to the Maoist rebel movement and the palace killings by a suicidal crown prince.
 Types of Monarchy
In an absolute monarchy, the Monarch has absolute power over every aspect of the state, if not of social life in general, and a constitution may be granted or withdrawn, while a constitutional monarch is subject to it as well as any citizen (though it may grant him such priviliges as inviolability). Modern versions tend to survive only in societies with sufficient technology to allow the concentration and organization of power, but not to allow education and rapid communication. The economic structure of such monarchies is often of concentrated wealth, with the majority of the population living either as agricultural serfs, or, as in Gulf Monarchies, a paternalistic model showering benefits on the citizens (while politically they may remain subjects) and importing cheap foreign labor.
An elected monarchy was popular in various states of Northern Europe even up until the Middle Ages. When Charlemagne was a child, his father was elected king of the Franks. Wilhelm was elected German emperor in 1871. Stanislaw of Poland was an elected king. Frederik of Sweden was an elected king. The tradition of an elected monarchy is very ancient and still exists today in the office of the Pope. The U. S. President acts somewhat in the manner of a modern elected constitutional monarch, with powers limited by separate legislative and judicial branches of government.
In Antiquity, there were various traditions of elected monarchs, usually rendered as kings, especially in not fully sedentary societies such as the Germanic tribes before they established sedentary kingdom in territories of the (former) Roman empire. Often there was a mix of conflicting principles, the ruling house tending to reserve succession for itself, with sometimes a broader nobility rivalling it; actual succession often depended on popular assent and/or the support of the armed forces, which could take their role of kingmaker as far as deposing an incompetent or criminal ruler, or even pure mutiny to seize the throne. The hellenistic kings of Macedon and of Epirus were elected by the army (a body that was very close in composition to the ecclesia of democracies, the council of all free citizens; military service was often linked with citizenship) among the male member of the royal house. In Macedon this tradition continued until the kingdom was dissolved by the Romans after the Third Macedonian War.
Today's hereditary monarchy is more or less that of a figure head, with limited powers, except for ceremonial duties. Usually their powers are much less than that of even the U. S. President, because they cannot declare war nor veto legislation. Many are also a constitutional monarchy and can dissolve parliament and call for new elections. They cannot however, actually create legislation, nor wield power in the unlimited and often abusive manner of ancient monarchies.
In some ancient hereditary monarchies, power often resided with the military, as often has been the case in Thailand and Japan [where its (eventually hereditary) chief, the Shogun, developed into a de facto monarch nominally under the Emperor], with an (at least) nominally 'primeministerial' office (separate Head of government), which may tend to become hereditary itself, in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal even formally styled a hereditary Maharaja. In Fascist Italy a monarchy coexisted with a fascist party for longer than such co-existences occurred in Romania, Hungary or Greece. Spain under Francisco Franco was officially a monarchy even though there was no Monarch on the throne; upon his death, Franco was succeeded as Head of state by the Bourbon heir to the throne, King Juan Carlos.
There have also been situations in which a dictator proclaimed himself Monarch of a previous republic, thus starting a self-proclaimed monarchy with no historical ties to a previous dynasty. The most famous example of this was general Napoleon Bonaparte who crowned himself first Emperor of the French after legally assuming political control of the French Republic (which in his lifetime has succeeded to the absolutist kingdom) as First Consul for life; a blatant imitation of his empire was that of dictator Bokassa I in the very poor Central African Empire. Also, Yuan Shikai crowned himself emperor of the short-lived "Empire of China", a few years after the Republic of China was founded.
On several occasions throughout history, the same person has served as Monarch of separate independent states, in a situation known as a personal union. An empire was traditionally ruled by a monarchy whose leader may have been known by different titles in his different realms. Several former colonies of the British Empire, such as Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand etc., are now independent kingdoms that continue to recognize the British Monarch as their Sovereign Head of State, though with a distinctive title in each nation (e.g. King/Queen of Jamaica, etc); these countries, including the UK, are known as Commonwealth Realms. In other cases, such as England and Scotland, a personal union was the precursor to a merger of the states.
Some republics can be called 'virtual monarchies' as they appear to have introduced de facto inheritance for the Head of state, usually establishing a 'dynasty' by making his son (informally) designated heir, without constitutionally declaring themselves monarchies. These nations may be republics in theory, but monarchies in practice. The 'Roman Empire' in Latin existed only in the territorial sense, legally it was always a republic, theoretically the Principate was not hereditary monarchy, and even the Byzantine Empire had republican features. In the twentieth century de facto monarchies existed in Nicaragua and Haiti. Today, North Korea and Syria have been called de facto monarchies; however, one father-son succession without a constitutional mechanism is more an appearance than an actual de facto monarchy, the next succession may just as well be determined otherwise by the real kingmakers (a dead dictator ceases to dictate) and democratic republics too have produced de facto successions -albeit often not along strict lines such as primogeniture- and even three or more generation 'dynasties' (as India's Gandhi family), except that these only rule when their party is in power. See also family dictatorship.
Although in theory a Monarch is the Sovereign of a state, historical developments often produced more complicated realities: when a state loses its true sovereignty, while internally retaining its monarchic constitution, its monarchy will often become similarly dependent on the greater power, e.g. as a feudal vassal under a suzerain, or in the colonial era become redefined as an actor in indirect rule, under a paramount power (such as each princely state in the British raj).
The rules for selection of Monarchs varies from country to country. In constitutional monarchies the rule of succession is generally embodied in a law passed by a representative body, such as a parliament.
Elective monarchies, distinguished by the Monarchs being appointed for life, have in most cases been succeeded by hereditary monarchies, but both secular sovereign nation cases at present - those of Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates - are 20th century creations. In the hereditary system, the position of Monarch involves inheritance according to an order of succession, usually within one royal family tracing its origin back to a historical dynasty or bloodline. In some cases the ruling family may claim to hold authority by virtue of God's choosing, as reflected in the style-phrase by the Grace of God, or other religion-based authority.
The order of succession in most European monarchical states of the 21st century is by primogeniture, meaning the eldest son of the monarch is first in line, followed by his male, then female siblings in order of age. In earlier times, the succession was often unclear and this led to a number of wars. Currently, there is some controversy over the succession laws of some monarchies in the European Union (EU), such as that of the United Kingdom (UK) or the Scandinavian monarchies, which require their Monarch to be of a certain faith (in the UK under the Act of Settlement 1701). This has been challenged as violating EU rules that prohibit religious disqualification for positions of state authority.
Successions in dependent states were often subject to the assent of the dominant power, which then often reserves the right to dethrone (and replace) a 'disloyal' incumbent.
 Demise of monarchies
Monarchies can come to an end in several ways. There may be a revolution in which the monarchy is overthrown; or, as in Italy, by constitutional referendum electorate decides to form a republic. In some cases, as with England and Spain, the monarchy has been overthrown and later restored. After the abdication of Napoleon I Bonaparte as Emperor which ended the Premier Empire, the French restored the royal Bourbon dynasty which had been abolished by the republic within which Napoleon had established the Empire; at the same time his emperorship was 'revived' outside France, as a 'golden cage' principality created for him on the island of Elba, so in a sense the empire was succeeded by a kingdom and an emperor without an empire.
Dependent monarchies have been abolished by their dominant power, e.g. to be fully annexed, split or merged with another. In Uganda, for example, local tribal monarchies were abolished when the country became a unitary state.
A person who claims to be the legitimate heir to the throne of a deposed (or in the royalist view suspended) monarchy is called a pretender, but that term also applies to a rival claimant of a filled throne, such as several Russians claimed to be a Tsar who had officially been declared dead and succeeded by a reigning heir.
See also abolished monarchy for a list of recently abolished monarchies.
 Unusual Monarchies
Sometimes, component members of federal states are monarchies, even though the federal state as a whole is not; for example each of the emirates that form the United Arab Emirates has its own monarch (an emir).
Another unique situation is Malaysia, in which the federal king, called the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Paramount Ruler, is elected for a five year term from and by the hereditary rulers (mostly sultans) of nine of the federation's constitutive States, all on the Malay peninsula.
In addition to his ecclestiastical role as Supreme Pontiff of the universal Catholic Church, the Pope is ex officio the absolute Monarch of the Vatican City, the last truly sovereign Prince of the Church. He is elected by (and customarily from among) the College of Cardinals. (Since the Catholic episcopate is celibate, naturally there can be no official hereditary succession to the papal throne.) Notwithstanding this, the papacy has at times been under the control of powerful Italian families. Several popes have been succeeded by near relatives, in some cases by their own sons (officially described as Nepotes, literally 'nephews').
The world's only co-principality, Andorra, has two co-princes: the Bishop of Urgell in Spain (thus a Prince-Bishop), and the President of France—a unique case where an independent country's Monarch is democratically elected by the citizens of another country, which is not even in full personal union.
Samoa is often disputably described as a monarchy. The president-for-life, or "o le Ao o le Malo," is Malietoa Tanumafili II, a member of one of the three princely families. The Constitution designates him Head of State for life with a royal style, but he will be succeeded by an elected president.
Since 1947, the Emperors of Japan have reigned as neither sovereign, or the de jure Head of State. Emperor Hirohito having ceded sovereignty to the people shortly after World War II, the Japanese monarchy is bound by supreme law as opposed to constitutional convention under the provisos of the Constitution of Japan.
 Current nation monarchies of the world
Currently 45 nations in the world have Monarchs as Heads of state, 16 of which are dominions and other Commonwealth Realms that formally recognize the British Sovereign as Head of state, legally in chief of each nation as a monarchy in its own right. (see also List of countries by system of government)
 Current subnational traditional monarchies
Not only are the Monarchs of constitutive monarchies part of the federal establishment of both present elective monarchies (Malaysia, mainly sultanates, and the UAE, so named after its emirates), in many other modern states -often republics- tribal and other traditional states persist, with a dynasty that retains a court and often local prestige and influence; some are officially installed with the consent of the official government (as some of the many in Indonesia- waiting for the go-ahead can mean years of vacancy on the throne), other merely condoned, or even in exile.
|Ankole (Uganda)||Omugabe||Ntare VI||Due to constitutional reform in 1993, the government of Uganda restored several traditional monarchies.|
|Ashanti (Ghana)||Asantehene (King)||Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II||The succession is decided by a series of councils of local notables and other royal family members.|
|Buganda (Uganda)||Kabaka and Nnabagereka||Muwenda Mutebi II and Queen Sylvia of Buganda||Due to constitutional reform in 1993, the government of Uganda restored several traditional monarchies.|
|Bunyoro (Uganda)||Omukama||Iguru||Due to constitutional reform in 1993, the government of Uganda restored several traditional monarchies.|
|Busoga (Uganda)||Kyabazinga||Henry Wako Muloki|
|Māori (New Zealand)||King or Queen||Tuheitia Paki||Holding no constitutional but ceremonial roles.|
|Sigave (Wallis and Futuna)||Tu'i (King or chief)||Visesio Moeliku||The Council of the Territory of Wallis and Futuna consists of three kings and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.|
|Toro (Uganda)||Omukama||Rukidi IV|
|Tu'a (Alo) (Wallis and Futuna)||Tu`i Agaifo (king)||Soane Patita Maituku||The Council of the Territory of Wallis and Futuna consists of three kings and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.|
|Uvea (Wallis and Futuna)||Tui `Uvea (King, also styled Hau and Lavelua)||Tomasi Kulimoetoke II||The Council of the Territory of Wallis and Futuna consists of three kings and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.|
|Zululand (South Africa)||King||Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu||Although the king does not hold any direct political power, he is provided a stipend by the government of South Africa, and holds considerable sway over more traditionalist Zulu people in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.|
 See also
- List of monarchies
- List of monarchs by nickname
- List of usurpers
- Abolished monarchies
- Family as a model for the state
 Specific monarchies
- Australian Monarchy
- Belgian monarchy
- British Monarchy
- Monarchies of Burma
- Canadian Monarchy
- New Zealand Monarchy
- Cokossian Monarchy
- Dutch monarchy
- Emperor of Japan
- Indonesian Monarchies
- King of Ireland
- Kotokolian Monarchy
- Monarchies of Ethiopia
- List of Nigerian traditional states
- Datus of the Philippines
- Tenkodogo Monarchy
- Wogodogo Monarchy
 Sources, References and External links
- The Monarchist
- The Monarchist League
- Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy Site
- WorldStatesmen- by present country