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This article is about states protected and/or dominated by a foreign power. For the republic in the British Isles governed by Lords Protector, see The Protectorate.

In international law a protectorate is a political entity (a sovereign state or less developed native polity, such as a tribal chiefstainship or feudal princely state) that formally agrees (voluntarily or under pressure) by treaty to enter into an unequal relationship with another, stronger state, called the protector, which engages to protect it (diplomatically or, if needed, militarily) against third parties, in exchange for which the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations, which may vary greatly, depending on the real nature of their relationship.


[edit] Rationale

In the case of so-called amical protection, mainly extended by the great powers to fellow Christian (generally European) states and tiny ones without significant intrinsic importance, the terms may often be very favorable for the protectorate. The political interest of the protector is often moral (a matter of image, prestige, ideology, internal popularity, dynastic, historical or ethno-cultural ties, etc.), and/or countering a rival or enemy power, e.g. preventing the Ottoman empire from maintaining or obtaining control of areas of strategic importance. Even if this involves the very weak protectorate surrendering control of its external relations, this may constitute no real sacrifice, since they would not have been able to get similar use out of them without the muscle which only the protector can field for its interest.

Often the conditions are far less generous in areas of colonial protection. Here the western powers were generally after real control, so eager to obtain terms that reduced the protectorate to a de facto condition rather similar to a colony, but using the pre-existing native state as an ideal agent of indirect rule; sometimes a protectorate was even established by and/or exercised by the other form of indirect rule: a chartered company, which truly becomes a de facto state 'in' (but geographically overseas) its European home state, allowed to conduct its own foreign policy and generally disposing of its own armed forces.

In fact, 'protectorates' were even declared which were not even duly entered into by pre-existent traditional states, or only by a party in its internal politics of dubious authority, while colonial 'protectors' frequently decided on their own to 'reshuffle' several protectorates into a new, artificial unit, a logic not quite respectful of the theoretical duty of a protector to help maintain the protectorate's status and integrity. The Berlin agreemeent of February 26, 1895 actually stipulated that the colonial powers could declare a procectorate in Black Africa (the last continent to be further carved up between them) a protectorate could be established by diplomatcal notification, even without actual possession on the ground. A similar case is the formal use of such terms as 'colony' and 'protectorate' for an amalgamation, convenient only for the colonizer/protector, of geographically proximious territories over which it held (de facto) sway by protective or 'raw' colonial logic.

In practice, a protectorate often has direct foreign relations only with the protecting power, so other states must deal with it by approaching the protector. Similarly, the protectorate rarely takes military action on its own, but relies on the protector for its defence. This is distinct from annexation, in that the protector has no formal power to control the internal affairs of the protectorate.

Protectorates differ from League of Nations Mandates, and similar United Nations Trust Territories, which gave in practice similar authority to "responsible" Western powers or Japan in various areas of the non-European world over former colonial possessions (including protectorates) of the losers in World Wars I and II, since a protectorate formally enters into the protection itself, while the international mandates are imposed upon them by the 'world community-representing body'.

[edit] British & Commonwealth protectorates

Protection is a long-established term in English law for the duty of a sovereign to keep the subject safe from harm, including harm done by the sovereign; the subject has a corresponding duty of allegiance and obedience. Thus, in 1775, George III declared the thirteen colonies "out of his protection" for their disobedience — almost equivalent to a declaration of war.

When the British took over Cephallenia in 1809, they proclaimed that "We present ourselves to you, Inhabitants of Cephalonia, not as Invaders, with views of conquest, but as Allies who hold forth to you the advantages of British protection." When the British continued to occupy the Ionian Islands after the Napoleonic wars, they did not formally annex the islands, but described them as a protectorate. The islands were constituted by the Treaty of Paris in 1815 as the independent United States of the Ionian Islands under British protection.

Other British protectorates followed. In 1894 Prime Minister William Gladstone's government officially announced that Uganda was to become a British Protectorate, where Muslim and Christian strife had attracted international attention. The British administration installed carefully selected local kings under a program of indirect rule through the local oligarchy, creating a network of British-controlled civil service. Most British protectorates were overseen by a Commissioner or a High Commissioner, rather than a Governor.

British law made a distinction between a protectorate and protected state. Constitutionally the two were of similar status:

  • Britain controlled defence and external relations in both cases
  • however in protectorates Britain established an internal government, while in protected states a form of local internal self-government was already in existence.

Persons connected with former British protectorates, protected states, mandated or trust territories may still be British protected persons if they did not acquire the nationality of their country at independence. See British nationality law

Other cases include:

[edit] Americas

[edit] Middle East

[edit] South and South East Asia

[edit] Subsaharan Africa

[edit] Oceania

[edit] Other protectorates

[edit] Dutch

[edit] German

  • the German Empire (Second Reich) used the word Schutzgebiet, literally 'protectorate', for its true colonies as well.

Cases involving indirect rule include: In the Pacific:

In Africa:

Besides these colonial uses, within Europe the Nazi Third Reich established:

[edit] French

  • Saar, not colonial or amical, but a former part of Germany that would by referendum return to it, in fact a re-edition of a former League of Nations mandate

Most French protectorates were rather colonial:

In Asia:

In North African and Indian Ocean Muslim cultures:

In Sub-saharan Africa:

In Oceania:

  • in French Polynesia, mainly the Society Islands (several other were immediately annexed)
    • 1842 Otaheiti (native king styled Ari`i rahi) becomes a French protectorate known as Tahiti
    • 1880 Ra`iatea and Taha`a (after temporary annexation by Otaheiti; (title Ari`i) a French protectorate
    • 16 Jan 1844 Mangareva (on eof the of Gambier Islands; ruler title `Akariki) a French protectorate.
  • on Wallis and Futuna:
    • 4 November 1842 Wallis declared to be a French protectorate by King of Uvea and Captain Mallet of ...
    • 5 April 1887 `Uvea (Wallis) becomes a French protectorate.

[edit] Italian

Twice in Europe:

  • Monaco 20 November 1815 under amical Protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia*
  • 3 June 1917 Albanian independence from the Ottoman empire under an Italian protectorate declared by Italy (this is opposed by most Albanians).

In the colonial empire:

  • Ethiopia: the orthodox empire was 2 May 1889 - 26 October 1896 by the Treaty of Uccialli declared a protectorate by Italy (Abyssinian Italian Protectorate); contested by Ethiopia
  • in Libya: on 15 October 1912 Italian protectorate declared Cirenaica (Cyrenaica).
  • in Somalia: 3 August 1889 Benadir Coast Italian Protectorate (in the north east; unoccupied until May 1893), until 16 March 1905 Italian Somalia (Italian Somaliland) colony.
    • Majerteen or Harti sultanate since 7 April 1889 under Italian protectorate (renewed 7 Apr 1895), 1927 incorporated into Italian colony.
    • Hobyo sultanate (split off from Majerteen sultanate) since Dec 1888 under Italian protectorate (renewed 11 Apr 1895), Oct 1925 incorporated into Italian colony (known as Obbia).

[edit] Japanese

  • held a protectorate over the monarchy of Korea before annexing that country
  • Manchuria

[edit] Russian

[edit] Spanish

  • in Morocco 27 November 1912 - 7 April 1956 the so-called Spanish Zone (most of the sultanate was under French protectorate) jalifado *
  • in Mauritania: Adrar emirate since 1886 under Spanish protectorate till 9 January 1909, then French protectorate

[edit] Joint protectorates

compare condominium
  • the Adriatic republic of Ragusa (presently Dubrovnic in Croatian Dalmatia) was a joint Habsburg Austrian - Ottoman Turkish protectorate 20 August 1684 - 24 August 1798 - so exceptionally both a Catholic and a Muslim protector
  • The United States of the Ionian Islands were a federal Septinsular Republic of seven formerly Venetian (see Provveditore) Ionian islands (Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Cerigo and Paxos), officially under joint protectorate of the Allied Christian Powers, de facto a UK amical protectorate from 1815 to 1864.

[edit] Contemporary usage by the United States

Some agencies of the United States government, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, still use the term protectorate to refer to insular areas of the United States such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as were the Philippines at the end of Spanish colonial rule. However, the agency responsible for the administration of those areas, the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) within the United States Department of Interior exclusively uses the term insular area rather than protectorate.

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources and references


Image:Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgian Empire | Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British Empire | Image:Flag of Denmark.svg Danish Empire | Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg Dutch Empire | Image:Flag of Japan - variant.svg Empire of Japan | Image:Flag of France.svg French colonial Empire | Image:Flag of the German Empire.svg German colonial Empire | Image:Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Italian Empire | Image:PortugueseFlag1707.png Portuguese Empire | Image:Romanov Flag.svg Russian Empire | Image:Flag of New Spain.svg Spanish Empire |Image:Flag of Sweden.svg Swedish Empire | Image:US flag 48 stars.svg American Empire

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