Learn more about Successor state
A successor state is a state that takes over some or all of the territory, assets, treaty obligations and rights from a previously well-established state (the predecessor state). As a term of international law, this concept is discussed under the succession of states theory.
In a broader context, successor state is applied where the international law concept would be at best anachronistic; for example in universal history or comparative history. Arnold J. Toynbee used it to describe the fragments of an empire (for him, a universal state), so that it could properly be applied both to the kingdoms set up by the generals of Alexander the Great after he died, and to Belarus as a modern successor state to the USSR. This usage is by now quite common, though not all obviously attributable to Toynbee and followers, and the Russian Federation is usually considered the USSR's successor state.
There are therefore several, quite different possible connotations of successor state, in terms of the continuity implied.
- The international law term implies legal links, on rights and the recognition of legitimacy of claims, but also on continuing treaty obligations, and the status of citizens who otherwise may become stateless.
- Cultural continuity is implicit in Toynbee's usage, and this can be snapped.
- As a loose organisational term for historians, it implies not much more than a plausible link of parentage in a 'family tree' of groups of rulers; there need be no specific legacy going beyond physical possession.
- The German Empire to the Weimar Republic, then to the Third Reich, and eventually to the Federal Republic of Germany.
- The Russian Empire to the USSR and then to the Russian Federation.
- The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Serbia and Montenegro and then to Serbia
- The Ming Empire to the Qing Empire and then to the Republic of China and then to The People's Republic of China.
- The Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire
- The Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey.
- The French Kingdom to the French Second Republic to the French Second Empire to the French Third Republic to the French Provisional Republic to the Fourth Republic to the Fifth Republic.
- England to England and Wales to Great Britain to Great Britain and Ireland to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
- Alexander the Great's Hellenic empire to the various Successor States, or Diadochi, (Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Attalid, Antigonid).
- Mongol Empire to Golden Horde (Blue and White Hordes), Yuan Dynasty, Chagatai Khanate, Ilkhanate, Timurids then Mughals.
- Golden Horde to Crimean Khanate, Nogai Horde, Astrakhan Khanate, Kazan Khanate, Qasim Khanate and Siberian Khanate.
 See also
- Burgenthal/Doehring/Kokott: Grundzüge des Völkerrechts, 2. Auflage, Heidelberg 2000 (German)
- Wilfried Fiedler: Der Zeitfaktor im Recht der Staatensukzession, in: Staat und Recht. Festschrift für Günther Winkler, Wien, 1997, S. 217-236. (German)