Free state (government)

Free state is a term occasionally used in the official titles of some states throughout the world with varying meanings depending on the context. In principle, the title asserts and emphasises a particular freedom of the state in question, but this is not always reflected in practice. Some states use the title to assert sovereignty or independence from foreign domination, while others have used it to assert autonomy within a larger nation-state. Sometimes "free state" is used as a synonym for "republic".

The republican sense of the term derives from libera res publica (literally, "the free public thing/affair"), a term used by Roman historians for the period of the Roman Republic, though not all "free states" have been republics. The historical German free states and the Orange Free State of Southern Africa were republican in form, however the Congo Free State and Irish Free State were governed under forms of monarchy.


Republican England

English Parliament, in the act forming the Commonwealth of England of 1649 to 1660, declared that "England is confirmed to be a Commonwealth and Free State and shall from henceforth be Governed as a Commonwealth and Free State."[1] The Commonwealth had a republican constitution.


Flag of Bavaria (striped)
Flag of the modern Free State of Bavaria

In Germany the term free state (in German, Freistaat) comes from the 19th century as a German word for republic. After the German Revolution of November 1918, when Imperial Germany became a democratic republic, most of the German states within the German Reich called themselves a Free State. Others used expressions like Republik or Volksstaat (people's state) – though unpopular, as that term was associated with the enemy France. After the Nazis came to power, they abolished the concept of a federal republic and all the states and re-organized Germany into Gaue, with appointed leadership.

The states were re-established after World War II; however, from 1952 only Bavaria (successor (but not de jure) to the Kingdom of Bavaria) still called itself a Free State and that made Freistaat a synonym for Bavaria. After the reunification, the reestablished Saxony (successor (but not de jure) to the Kingdom of Saxony) used the name again in 1992 and Thuringia began to use it for the first time in 1993.

Free Cities

Historically, Germany had Imperial Free Cities, who were subject only to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1871 Germany knew three Free Cities, Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck; the last lost its status in 1937. Since 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany has Hamburg (Freie und Hansestadt, Free and Hanseatic City) and Bremen (Freie Hansestadt), as well as Berlin, as a city which is also a state. Like the Free States these three cities have no special rights in the federation.


Flag of the Orange Free State
Flag of the now defunct Orange Free State

In South Africa, the term free state was used in the title of the nineteenth century Orange Free State (Oranje Vrystaat in Afrikaans) and is today used in the title of its successor, Free State; both entities were established as republican in form.

In contrast, the Congo Free State came into being between 1877 and 1884 as a private kingdom or dictatorship of King Leopold II of Belgium. In this case, the term free emphasised the new state's freedom from major colonial powers and the Belgian parliament, as the colony was ruled only by the king.

Irish Free State

Flag of Ireland
The modern Republic of Ireland was known from 1922–1937 as the Irish Free State.

The Irish Free State of 1922–1937 was a form of constitutional monarchy under the British monarch. The Irish state was a special case because the term free state was deliberately chosen as a literal translation of the Irish word saorstát. At the time in which Irish nationalists were negotiating the secession of most of Ireland from the United Kingdom, the word saorstát was a commonly used Irish word for republic. The British did not wish to permit the creation of an Irish republic (which would mean severing all links with the British crown) and so insisted that the literal translation of saorstát be used in the new state's English title instead.[2]

Puerto Rico

Flag of Puerto Rico
Flag of the Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico ("Associated Free State of Puerto Rico")

The official Spanish name of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally, "Associated Free State of Puerto Rico", expressing a "politically organized community” or “State,” which is simultaneously connected by a compact to a larger political system and hence does not have an independent and separate status. However, according to the United States Supreme Court, Puerto Rico is not free or associated; it is only a state in the general sense, not as a state of the Union in the U.S. constitutional sense. According to consistent U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence, Puerto Rico belongs to but is not an integral part (Organized incorporated territory) of the United States. Moreover, the said jurisprudence has determined that regardless of what nominal or cosmetic veneer has moted Puerto Rico's political status, it is essentially a U.S. colonial territory, since it is under the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress. At its most basic, this Supreme Court doctrine expresses that Puerto Rico is more like property, far from a free-governing community or nation, and thus "domestic in a foreign sense" (not for the taking or meddling by free foreign nations), but "foreign in a domestic sense" (not a partner or an equal). In the Insular Cases, the Court ruled that the United States Constitution does not automatically apply in Puerto Rico.


Flag of Azad Kashmir
Flag of Azad Kashmir, literally "Free Kashmir"

The Pakistan-administered part of the internationally disputed territory of Kashmir is officially called Azad Kashmir (meaning free Kashmir).[3] The term free is used by the Government of Pakistan to express their view of the people in the Pakistan area living in freedom, whereas those in the India-controlled area (Jammu and Kashmir) are being "oppressed". The Pakistani area does indeed have a certain form of autonomy, having a separate parliament, prime minister and president.

List of 'free states'




See also


  1. ^ Greenfeld, Liah (1992). Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity. Harvard University Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780674603196.
  2. ^ Jackson, Alvin (2010-03-16). Ireland 1798-1998: War, Peace and Beyond. John Wiley & Sons. p. 258. ISBN 9781444324150.
  3. ^ Kalia, Ravi (2015-08-11). Pakistan’s Political Labyrinths: Military, Society and Terror. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 9781317405443.
Banknotes of the Republic of Ireland

The Irish Free State, subsequently known as Ireland, resolved in the mid-1920s to design its own coins and banknotes; at the time of the first issue of the new currency, the Free State government decided to peg its value to the pound sterling. The Currency Act, 1927 was passed as a basis for the creation of banknotes and the creation of the "Saorstát pound" (later the "Irish pound") as the "standard unit of value" and the legal tender notes issued under this act commenced circulation on 10 September 1928.

Belgian colonial empire

Belgium controlled two colonies during its history, the Belgian Congo from 1908 to 1960, and Ruanda-Urundi from 1922 to 1962. It also had a concession in China, and was a co-administrator of the Tangier International Zone in Morocco.

Roughly 98% of Belgium's overseas territory was just one colony (about 76 times larger than Belgium itself) — known as the Belgian Congo. This had originated as the personal property of the country's king, Leopold II, rather than being gained through the political or military action of the Belgian state. Sovereignty was transferred to Belgium in 1908.

Central South African Railways

The Central South African Railways (CSAR) was from 1902 to 1910 the operator of public railways in the Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony in what is now South Africa. During the Anglo-Boer War, as British forces moved into the territory of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic, the Orange Free State Government Railways, the Netherlands-South African Railway Company and the Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway were taken over by the Imperial Military Railways under Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Percy Girouard. After the war had ended, the Imperial Military Railways became the Central South African Railways in July 1902, with Thomas Rees Price as General Manager. With the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, the CSAR was merged with the Cape Government Railways and the Natal Government Railways to form the South African Railways.

Consulates of the Orange Free State

The Consulates of the Orange Free State formed the official representation of this Boer republic abroad, and were established in several European states and in the United States of America between 1855 and 31 May 1902, when the republic ceased to exist.

The first, and throughout the existence of the republic, most important consular post was the Consulate General of the Orange Free State in the Netherlands. Between 1871 and 1902, the consul general in the Netherlands at times also held diplomatic prerogatives, with the title of 'special envoy'. In this capacity the incumbent was charged with negotiating and concluding treaties with other states and international organisations on behalf of the Orange Free State government.

Executions during the Irish Civil War

The executions during the Irish Civil War took place during the guerrilla phase of the Irish Civil War (June 1922 – May 1923). This phase of the war was bitter, and both sides, the government forces of the Irish Free State and the anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army (IRA) insurgents, used executions and terror in what developed into a cycle of atrocities. From November 1922, the Free State government embarked on a policy of executing Republican prisoners in order to bring the war to an end. Many of those killed had previously been allies, and in some cases close friends (during the Irish War of Independence 1919–1921), of those who ordered their deaths in the civil war. In addition, government troops summarily executed prisoners in the field on several occasions. The executions of prisoners left a lasting legacy of bitterness in Irish politics.

The use of execution by the Irish Free State in the Civil War was relatively harsh compared to the recent British record. In contrast with 81 official executions by the Irish Free State government, the British had executed 24 IRA volunteers during the 1919–21 conflict.

General Post Office

The General Post Office (GPO) was officially established in England in 1660 by Charles II and it eventually grew to combine the functions of state postal system and telecommunications carrier. Similar General Post Offices were established across the British Empire. In 1969 the GPO was abolished and the assets transferred to The Post Office, changing it from a Department of State to a statutory corporation. In 1980, the telecommunications and postal sides were split prior to British Telecommunications' conversion into a totally separate publicly owned corporation the following year as a result of the British Telecommunications Act 1981. For the more recent history of the postal system in the United Kingdom, see the articles Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd.

Originally, the GPO was a monopoly covering the despatch of items from a specific sender to a specific receiver, which was to be of great importance when new forms of communication were invented. The postal service was known as the Royal Mail because it was built on the distribution system for royal and government documents. In 1661 the office of Postmaster General was created to oversee the GPO.

Government Houses of South Africa

The following is a list of Government Houses of South Africa.

Pretoria, Government House of Pretoria, Transvaal

Cape Province, Government House of Cape Province

Orange Free State, Government House of the Orange Free State

Natal, Government House of Natal

Higgins (surname)

Higgins is a surname found in England and in Ireland with several origins.Origins in England

From the name Hugh

From the name Hig (both the son of Hugh and a diminutive of Hugh)

From Hicke a diminutive of Richardall then stemmed with the patronymic termination ings; meaning belonging to, or the son of.

Origin in Ireland, the Anglicised form of the Gaelic name Ó hUiginn ‘descendant of Uiginn’. Uiginn in turn being the Gaelic version of the Old Norse víkingr or viking.

The Ó hUiginn family were high status poets between the 14th and 17th centuries and descendants include Bernardo O'Higgins, the first head of state of Chile, and Kevin O'Higgins who was Minister for Justice in the first Irish Free State government.

Irish Civil War

The Irish Civil War (Irish: Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann; 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923) was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence and accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire.

The civil war was waged between two opposing groups, the pro-treaty Provisional Government and the anti-treaty IRA, over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The forces of the Provisional Government (which became the Free State in December 1922) supported the Treaty, while the Republican opposition saw it as a betrayal of the Irish Republic (which had been proclaimed during the Easter Rising). Many of those who fought on both sides in the conflict had been members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the War of Independence.

The Civil War was won by the Free State forces, who benefitted from substantial quantities of weapons provided by the British Government. The conflict may have claimed more lives than the War of Independence that preceded it, and left Irish society divided and embittered for generations. Today, two of the main political parties in the Republic of Ireland, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, are direct descendants of the opposing sides of the war.

Irish Free State

The Irish Free State (Irish: Saorstát Éireann pronounced [ˈsˠiːɾˠ.sˠt̪ˠaːt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ]; 6 December 1922 – 29 December 1937) was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.

The Free State was established as a Dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It comprised 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland. Northern Ireland, which comprised the remaining six counties, exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new state. The Free State government consisted of the Governor-General, the representative of the King, and the Executive Council (cabinet), which replaced both the revolutionary Dáil Government and the Provisional Government set up under the Treaty. W. T. Cosgrave, who had led both of these governments since August 1922, became the first President of the Executive Council (prime minister). The Oireachtas or legislature consisted of Dáil Éireann (the lower house) and Seanad Éireann, also known as the Senate. Members of the Dáil were required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the Free State and to declare fidelity to the king. The oath was a key issue for opponents of the Treaty, who refused to take the oath and therefore did not take their seats. Pro-Treaty members, who formed Cumann na nGaedheal in 1923, held an effective majority in the Dáil from 1922 to 1927, and thereafter ruled as a minority government until 1932.

In 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the Parliament of the United Kingdom relinquished its remaining authority to legislate for the Free State and the other dominions. This had the effect of making the dominions fully sovereign states. The Free State thus became the first internationally recognised independent Irish state.

In the first months of the Free State, the Irish Civil War was waged between the newly established National Army and the anti-Treaty IRA, who refused to recognise the state. The Civil War ended in victory for the government forces, with the anti-Treaty forces dumping their arms in May 1923. The anti-Treaty political party, Sinn Féin, refused to take its seats in the Dáil, leaving the relatively small Labour Party as the only opposition party. In 1926, when Sinn Féin president Éamon de Valera failed to have this policy reversed, he resigned from Sinn Féin and founded Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil entered the Dáil following the 1927 general election, and entered government after the 1932 general election, when it became the largest party.

De Valera abolished the Oath of Allegiance and embarked on an economic war with the UK. In 1937 he drafted a new constitution, which was passed by a referendum in July of that year. The Free State came to an end with the coming into force of a new constitution on 29 December 1937 when the state took the name "Ireland".

Irish Free State offensive

The Irish Free State offensive of July–September 1922 was the decisive military stroke of the Irish Civil War. It was carried out by the National Army of the newly created Irish Free State against anti-treaty strongholds in the south and southwest of Ireland.

At the beginning of the Civil War in June 1922, the Irish Free State government, composed of the leadership faction who had accepted the Anglo-Irish Treaty, held the capital city of Dublin, where its armed forces were concentrated and some other areas of the midlands and north. The new National Army was composed of those units of the Irish Republican Army loyal to them, plus recent recruits, but was, at the start of the war, still relatively small and poorly armed.Much of the rest of the country, particularly the south and west, was outside of its control and in the hands of the anti-Treaty elements of the IRA, who did not accept the legitimacy of the new state and who asserted that the Irish Republic, created in 1919, was the continuing legitimate all-island state. This situation was rapidly brought to an end in July and August 1922, when the commander-in-chief of the Free State forces, Michael Collins, launched the offensive.

The offensive re-took the major towns for the Free State Government and marked the end of the conventional phase of the conflict. The offensive was followed by a 10-month period of guerrilla warfare until the republican side was defeated.

Irish Republican Army

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a paramilitary political movement in Ireland in the 20th and the 21st century dedicated to Irish republicanism, the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic from British rule. The original Irish Republican Army formed in 1917 from those Irish Volunteers who did not enlist in the British Army during World War I, members of the Irish Citizen Army and others. Irishmen formerly in the British Army returned to Ireland and fought in the Irish War of Independence. During the Irish War of Independence it was the army of the Irish Republic, declared by Dáil Éireann in 1919. Some Irish people dispute the claims of more recently created organisations that insist that they are the only legitimate descendants of the original IRA, often referred to as the "Old IRA" (in contrast to the New IRA).

The playwright and former IRA member Brendan Behan once said that the first issue on any Irish organisation's agenda was "the split". For the IRA, that has often been the case. The first split came after the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, with supporters of the Treaty forming the nucleus of the National Army of the newly created Irish Free State, while the anti-treaty forces continued to use the name Irish Republican Army. After the end of the Irish Civil War (1922–23), the IRA was around in one form or another for forty years, when it split into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA in 1969. The latter then had its own breakaways, namely the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, each claiming to be the true successor of the Army of the Irish Republic.

The Irish Republican Army (1919–1922) (in later years, known as the "Old" IRA), recognised by the First Dáil as the legitimate army of the Irish Republic in April 1921 and fought the Irish War of Independence. On ratification by the Dáil of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it split into pro-Treaty forces (the National Army, also known as the Government forces or the Regulars) and anti-Treaty forces (the Republicans, Irregulars or Executive forces) after the Treaty. These two went on to fight the Irish Civil War.

The Irish Republican Army (1922–1969), the anti-treaty IRA which fought and lost the civil war and which thereafter refused to recognise either the Irish Free State or Northern Ireland, deeming them both to be creations of British imperialism. It existed in one form or another for over 40 years before splitting in 1969.

The Official IRA (OIRA), the remainder of the IRA after the 1969 split with the Provisionals; was primarily Marxist in its political orientation. It is now inactive in the military sense, while its political wing, Official Sinn Féin, became the Workers' Party of Ireland.

The Provisional IRA (PIRA) broke from the OIRA in 1969 over abstentionism and how to deal with the increasing violence in Northern Ireland. Although opposed to the OIRA's Marxism, it came to develop a left-wing orientation and increasing political activity.

The Continuity IRA (CIRA) broke from the PIRA in 1986, because the latter ended its policy on abstentionism (thus recognising the authority of the Republic of Ireland).

The Real IRA (RIRA), a 1997 breakaway from the PIRA consisting of members opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process.

In April 2011, former members of the Provisional IRA announced a resumption of hostilities, and that "they had now taken on the mantle of the mainstream IRA." They further claimed "We continue to do so under the name of the Irish Republican Army. We are the IRA." and insisted that they "were entirely separate from the Real IRA, Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), and the Continuity IRA." They claimed responsibility for the April assassination of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr as well as responsibility for other attacks that had previously been claimed by the Real IRA and ONH.

The New IRA, which was formed as a merger between the Real IRA and other republican groups in 2012. (see Real IRA)

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the British.

List of Kansas landmarks

Below is a list of Kansas landmarks. This list includes various landmarks in the state of Kansas.

Maurice Healy (writer)

Maurice F. Healy, (1887–1943) was an Irish lawyer and author, who is best remembered for his legal memoir The Old Munster Circuit.

He was born in Cork, son of the well-known solicitor Maurice Healy and nephew of Timothy Michael Healy, the first Governor-General of the Irish Free State. His mother was a sister of A.M. Sullivan, the last barrister to have the title Serjeant, and who was noted for his unsuccessful defence of Roger Casement. Timothy Sullivan, the second Chief Justice of Ireland, was a cousin of Maurice, as was Kevin O'Higgins, a leading figure in the early Irish Free State Government.Maurice was educated at Clongowes Wood College and University College Dublin. He was called to Irish Bar in 1910, and to the English Bar in 1914 and saw action in the First World War on the Western Front and at Gallipoli. He received the MC in 1919 after serving in France and also in Germany during the immediate post-war occupation.

Maurice at one point stood for Parliament as candidate for West Waterford. After the Irish War of Independence, while several of his close relatives became prominent political figures in the Free State, he chose to practice at the English Bar. While he would have been happy enough to see Ireland gain Home Rule by peaceful means, he had a horror of revolutionary violence (although he also denounced the crimes committed by the Black and Tans) and he seems to have found life in the new State uncongenial. He was made King's Counsel in 1931. He became Recorder of Coventry in 1941; it was suggested this might be the prelude to a High Court judgeship, but any such hope was cut short by his premature death.

He wrote celebrated books on wine - Claret and the white wines of Bordeaux (1934), and Stay me with Flagons (1940). He also wrote poetry, mostly light and humorous. His most famous work is The Old Munster Circuit (1939) an affectionate and nostalgic portrait of life at the Irish Bar, especially on the Munster (Southern) Circuit between 1900 and 1920. The book was an instant success; the Spectator called it "Entirely delightful to read" and it has retained its popularity ever since.

With André Simon (who referred to Healy as 'my dearly beloved disciple') and others he founded the Saintsbury Club in 1931, which still meets today, reportedly stating that it should be created `to perpetuate and honour his name' (Professor George Saintsbury).

A legendary wit and conversationalist, Healy also made a number of celebrated BBC broadcasts during the war years.


Phuthaditjhaba (formerly Witsieshoek or Qwaqwa) is a town in the Free State province of South Africa. Phuthaditjhaba is a seSotho name that means meeting place of the tribes. It is located on the banks of the Elands River.

It also located in a section of Drakensberg mountains (Maloti in the Sesotho language).

it is bordered by the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the southeast and the independent country of Lesotho to the southwest.

Seán McCurtin

Seán (John) Patrick McCurtin (24 June 1896 – 12 November 1982) was an Irish Cumann na nGaedheal politician and National Army officer.McCurtin was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at Enniskillen assizes on 13 March 1922 for possession of firearms and ammunition, and transferred to Aberdeen prison in 1923. His brother was a commandant in the National Army, killed during the Civil War.McCurtin was first elected to Dáil Éireann while in prison, as a Cumann na nGaedheal Teachta Dála (TD) for the Tipperary constituency at the 1923 general election. The Free State government regarded him as one of a number of political prisoners and demanded their release. The UK government undertook to review their cases, and the Northern Ireland prime minister, Sir James Craig, agreed to accept the review's conclusions. McCurtin was released with 32 others on 25 January 1926, and took his seat in the Dáil on 23 March 1926.McCurtin did not contest the June 1927 general election. He was an unsuccessful candidate at the 1932 and 1933 general elections.

The Irish Press

The Irish Press (Irish: Scéala Éireann ) was an Irish national daily newspaper published by Irish Press plc between 5 September 1931 and 25 May 1995.


Vereeniging (Afrikaans pronunciation: [fəˈrɪənəχəŋ]) is a city in Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly situated in the Transvaal province. The name Vereeniging is derived from the Dutch word meaning "association" or "union".

Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

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