Monarchies in Oceania

There are six monarchies in Oceania; that is: self-governing sovereign states in Oceania where supreme power resides with an individual hereditary head, who is recognised as the head of state. Each is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the sovereign inherits his or her office, usually keeps it until death or abdication, and is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of their powers. Five of these independent states share Queen Elizabeth II as their respective head of state,[1] making them part of a global grouping known as the Commonwealth realms; in addition, all monarchies of Oceania are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The only sovereign monarchy in Oceania that does not share a monarch with another state is Tonga. Australia and New Zealand have dependencies within the region and outside it, although five non-sovereign constituent monarchs are recognized by New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and France.

Current monarchies

State Type Succession Dynasty Title Image Incumbent Born Age Reigns since First-in-line
Australia Commonwealth of Australia Constitutional Hereditary (absolute primogeniture) Windsor Queen Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit Elizabeth II 21 April 1926 92 y. 6 February 1952 Charles, Prince of Wales[2]
 New Zealand
(inc. Cook Islands & Niue)
Papua New Guinea Independent State of Papua New Guinea 16 September 1975
 Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
Tonga Kingdom of Tonga Hereditary (male-preference cognatic primogeniture) Tupou King Ulukalala Lavaka Ata Tupou VI 12 July 1959 59 y. 18 March 2012 Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
 Tuvalu Hereditary (absolute primogeniture) Windsor Queen Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit Elizabeth II 21 April 1926 92 y. 1 October 1978 Charles, Prince of Wales[2]
Territory Type Succession Dynasty Title Image Incumbent Born Age Reigns since First-in-line
Pitcairn Islands Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands Constitutional Hereditary (absolute primogeniture) Windsor Queen Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit Elizabeth II 21 April 1926 92 y. 6 February 1952 Charles, Prince of Wales[2]

Traditional monarchies

Traditional monarchies
Territory or movement Type Succession Image Incumbent Reigns since First-in-line
 Māori King Movement
(New Zealand)
Traditional Elective King Tuheitia Paki 2009 Tuheitia Paki 21 August 2006 elected by tribal elders on monarch's death
 Wallis and Futuna Uvea
Kapiliele Faupala 25 July 2008 none
 Wallis and Futuna Alo
Vacant -
 Wallis and Futuna Sigave
Polikalepo Kolivai 3 July 2010


Coat of Arms of Australia

The Australian monarchy goes back a few hundred years. European explorers started encountering the continent of Australia from the early 17th century, and the Kingdom of Great Britain founded and peopled colonial settlement from 1788. Before the European settlement an estimated half-million Australian Aborigines formed hundreds of different social groupings. Eventually the British government granted Australians more and more powers to govern themselves. On 9 July 1900, in one of her last acts before she died on 22 January 1901, Queen Victoria gave the royal assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Act[3] which would give Australia its own federal constitution and government. On 1 January 1901 the Governor General, Lord Hopetoun declared the federation of six Australian states and several territories in Centennial Park, Sydney. 30 years following that the Statute of Westminster granted equality to the realms and finally on 3 March 1986 Australia Act (in the United Kingdom and Australia) gave full independence to Australia in theory, although in practice it was already operating mostly independently.

In 1999 Australia held a referendum on whether to become a republic or not; the referendum resulted in the retention of the Australian monarchy. The majority of all voters and all states rejected the proposal.

The realm of Australia comprises six federated states and three federal territories (including the Jervis Bay Territory). It also includes a number of external territories administered by the federal government: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island, and the Australian Antarctic Territory.

New Zealand

Coat of arms of New Zealand

New Zealand also had a native people before the arrival of European colonisers; the Māori, a Polynesian people, settled the islands around AD 1300. The Treaty of Waitangi, signed on 6 February 1840, was an agreement between Māori chiefs in the North Island and representatives of the then British Crown; roughly 500 other Māori chiefs throughout New Zealand later signed.[4] Following the Treaty, the islands of New Zealand became a British Crown colony and Queen Victoria became the monarch over New Zealand.[5]

The New Zealand monarchy has evolved to become a distinctly New Zealand institution, represented by unique symbols. The Queen of New Zealand is legally considered a distinct monarch from the monarch of the United Kingdom. This has been the case since the passage of the Statute of Westminster, which introduced the concept that though Britain and the dominions have sovereigns who are legally and constitutionally distinct even though they are shared in body. The Constitution Act 1986 declares that "The Sovereign in right of New Zealand is the head of State of New Zealand, and shall be known by the royal style and titles proclaimed from time to time".[6] The Queen's constitutional roles have been almost entirely delegated to a governor-general, whom she appoints on the advice of the prime minister of the day.[7] When the Queen has visited New Zealand she has presided over the opening of Parliament, and has performed other acts normally delegated to the governor-general.[8] The role of the monarchy in New Zealand is a recurring topic of public discussion.[9]

The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area over which the Queen of New Zealand is sovereign, and comprises two associated states, Niue and the Cook Islands, and the territories of Tokelau[10] and the Ross Dependency (New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica).[11]

Papua New Guinea

The monarchy of Papua New Guinea (the Papua New Guinean Monarchy) is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the head of state. The present monarch of Papua New Guinea is Queen Elizabeth II. The monarch is constitutionally represented by the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, whose roles and powers are laid out by the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

After being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975. It chose to become a kingdom with its own Queen and monarchy.

Solomon Islands

The Head of State of the Solomon Islands is Queen Elizabeth II. The Solomon Islands share the Sovereign with a number of Commonwealth realms. The Queen's constitutional roles have been almost entirely delegated to the Governor-General of the Solomon Islands. Royal succession is governed by the English Act of Settlement of 1701, which is part of constitutional law.

On all matters of the Solomon Island State, the Monarch is advised solely by Solomon Island ministers, not British or otherwise.


Coat of arms of Tonga

The House of Tupou was formed in 1875 when the monarch's constitutional role was put forth.

In July 2008, three days before his coronation, King George Tupou V announced that he would relinquish most of his power and be guided by his Prime Minister's recommendations on most matters.[12]

The current monarch is Tupou VI.


Coat of arms of Tuvalu

The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. The islands came under the UK's sphere of influence in the late 19th century. The Ellice Islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916 to 1974. In 1974 the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu, separating from the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati upon independence. Tuvalu became fully independent within The Commonwealth in 1978.

A constitutional referendum held on 30 April 2008 turned out 1,260 to 679 votes in favour of retaining the monarchy.

Coat of arms of Wallis and Futuna
The islands that make up Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic in Polynesia consisting of three main islands (Wallis, Futuna, and the mostly uninhabited Alofi) and a number of tiny islets. The collectivity is made up of three traditional kingdoms: `Uvea, on the island of Wallis, Sigave, on the western part of the island of Futuna, and Alo, on the island of Alofi and on the eastern part of the island of Futuna. The King of Uvea is Kapiliele Faupala and the King of Sigave is Visesio Moeliku. They have reigned since 2008 and 2004, respectively. The throne of Alo is vacant, as the last king, Petelo Vikena, crowned in 2008, abdicated on January 22, 2010, and the Council of Chiefs has yet to choose a new king.

The territory was annexed by the French Republic in 1888, and was placed under the authority of another French colony, New Caledonia. The inhabitants of the islands voted in a 1959 referendum to become an overseas collectivity of France, effective in 1961. The collectivity is governed as a parliamentary republic, the citizens elect a Territorial Assembly, the President of which becomes head of government. His cabinet, the Council of the Territory, is made up of the three Kings and three appointed ministers.[13] In addition to this limited parliamentary role the Kings play, the individual kingdoms' customary legal systems have some jurisdiction in areas of civil law.[13]

Former monarchies

Note: the dates of abolishion are from the moment the kingdoms lost their sovereignty; sometimes the kingship were still retained under colonial rule


See also


  1. ^ "List of world monarchies". Retrieved 2008-11-31. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Pierce, Andrew (24 December 2005). "Call me George, suggests Charles". The Times. Retrieved 2006-08-04.
  3. ^ Willis, Ray (1982). Issues in Australian History. Pearson Education Australia. p. 160. ISBN 9780582663275.
  4. ^ "Treaty of Waitangi - Creating the Treaty of Waitangi". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Treaty of Waitangi - Interpretations of the Treaty of Waitangi". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ Elizabeth II (13 December 1986), Constitution Act, 1986, 2.1, Wellington: Queen's Printer for New Zealand, retrieved 30 December 2009
  7. ^ New Zealand’s Governor General (PDF), Government of New Zealand, 2011, p. 7, retrieved 30 October 2018
  8. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II opens Parliament". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Changing attitudes to monarchy". NZ History. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Pacific Islands and New Zealand - Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Nauru". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Antarctica and New Zealand - The Ross Dependency". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Tonga's king to cede key powers", BBC, July 29, 2008
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Ben Cahoon (2000). "French Polynesia". Retrieved 2012-02-25.
Monarchies in Asia

Asia has more monarchs than any other continent.

Monarchies in Europe

Monarchy was the prevalent form of government in the history of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, only occasionally competing with

communalism, notably in the case of the Maritime republics and the Swiss Confederacy.

Republicanism became more prevalent in the Early Modern period, but monarchy remained predominant in Europe during the 19th century.

Since the end of World War I, however, most European monarchies have been abolished. There remain, as of 2016, twelve (12) sovereign monarchies in Europe. Of these, seven are kingdoms: Denmark, Norway and Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are of pre-modern origin; the kingdoms of the Netherlands and of Belgium were established in 1815 and 1830, respectively; the Kingdom of Spain, founded in 1479, was abolished in 1931, restored in 1947/69, before Spain transitioned to democracy in 1978 as a constitutional monarchy.

The principalities of Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were restored as sovereign states in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The State of the Vatican City was recognized as a sovereign state administered by the Holy See in 1929.

Ten of these monarchies are hereditary, and two are elective: Vatican City (the Pope, elected at the papal conclave), and Andorra (technically a semi-elective diarchy, the joint heads of state being the elected President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, appointed by the Pope).

Most of the monarchies in Europe are constitutional monarchies, which means that the monarch does not influence the politics of the state: either the monarch is legally prohibited from doing so, or the monarch does not utilize the political powers vested in the office by convention. The exceptions are Liechtenstein and Monaco, which are usually considered semi-constitutional monarchies due to the large influence the princes still have on politics, and Vatican City, which is a theocratic absolute elective monarchy. There is currently no major campaign to abolish the monarchy (see monarchism and republicanism) in any of the twelve states, although there is a significant minority of republicans in many of them (e.g. the political organisation Republic in the United Kingdom). Currently seven of the twelve monarchies are members of the European Union: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

At the start of the 20th century, France, Switzerland and San Marino were the only European nations to have a republican form of government. The ascent of republicanism to the political mainstream started only at the beginning of the 20th century, facilitated by the toppling of various European monarchies through war or revolution; as at the beginning of the 21st century, most of the states in Europe are republics with either a directly or indirectly elected head of state.

Monarchies in the Americas

There are 13 monarchies in the Americas (self-governing states and territories that have a monarch as head of state). Each is a constitutional monarchy, where in the sovereign inherits his or her office, usually keeping it until death or abdication, and is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of their powers. Ten of these monarchies are independent states, and equally share Queen Elizabeth II, who resides primarily in the United Kingdom, as their respective sovereign, making them part of a global grouping known as the Commonwealth realms, while the remaining three are dependencies of European monarchies. As such, none of the monarchies in the Americas have a permanently resident monarch.

These crowns continue a history of monarchy in the Americas that reaches back to before European colonization. Both tribal and more complex pre-Columbian societies existed under monarchical forms of government, with some expanding to form vast empires under a central king figure, while others did the same with a decentralized collection of tribal regions under a hereditary chieftain. None of the contemporary monarchies, however, are descended from those pre-colonial royal systems, instead either having their historical roots in, or still being a part of, the current European monarchies that spread their reach across the Atlantic Ocean, beginning in the mid 14th century.

From that date on, through the Age of Discovery, European colonization brought extensive American territory under the control of Europe's monarchs, though the majority of these colonies subsequently gained independence from their rulers. Some did so via armed conflict with their mother countries, as in the American Revolution and the Latin American wars of independence, usually severing all ties to the overseas monarchies in the process. Others gained full sovereignty by legislative paths, such as Canada's patriation of its constitution from the United Kingdom. A certain number of former colonies became republics immediately upon achieving self-governance. The remainder continued with endemic constitutional monarchies—in the cases of Haiti, Mexico, and Brazil—with their own resident monarch and, for places such as Canada and some island states in the Caribbean, sharing their monarch with their former metropole, the most recently created being that of Belize in 1981.

Monarchy of New Zealand

The monarchy of New Zealand is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of New Zealand. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the throne on the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952.

All executive authority is vested in the monarch and her assent is required for parliament to enact laws and for letters patent and Orders in Council to have legal effect. However, the monarch's authority is subject to the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, and her direct participation in these areas of governance is limited. Most of the related powers are instead exercised by the elected members of parliament, the ministers of the Crown generally drawn from amongst them, and the judges and justices of the peace. Other powers vested in the monarch, such as the appointment of a prime minister, are significant, but are treated only as reserve powers and as an important security part of the role of the monarchy.

The New Zealand monarchy has its roots in the British Crown, from which it has evolved to become a distinctly New Zealand institution, represented by unique symbols. New Zealand's monarch is today a personal union where the Sovereign is head of state concurrently with 15 other countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, all being independent and the monarchy of each legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled Queen of New Zealand (Māori: Kuini o Aotearoa) and, in this capacity, she, her consort, and other members of the royal family undertake various public and private functions across New Zealand and on behalf of the country abroad. However, the Queen is the only member of the royal family with any constitutional role. While several powers are the sovereign's alone, because she lives predominantly in the United Kingdom, most of the royal constitutional and ceremonial duties in the Realm of New Zealand are typically carried out by the Queen's viceregal representative, the governor-general. The role of the monarchy in New Zealand is a recurring topic of public discussion.

Outline of Oceania

The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide to Oceania.

Oceania is a geographical, and geopolitical, region consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands in the Pacific Ocean and vicinity. The term is also sometimes used to denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate Pacific islands.The boundaries of Oceania are defined in a number of ways. Most definitions include parts of Australasia such as Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, and parts of Maritime Southeast Asia. Ethnologically, the islands of Oceania are divided into the subregions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

By region
or entity

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.