Suzerainty (/ˈsjuːzərənti/, /ˈsjuːzərɛnti/ and /ˈsjuːzrənti/) is any relationship in which one region or nation controls the foreign policy and international relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary nation to have internal autonomy.[1]

Suzerainty differs from true sovereignty in that, though the tributary state or person is technically independent and enjoys self-rule, in practice this self-rule is limited. Although the situation has existed in a number of historical empires, it is considered difficult to reconcile with 20th- or 21st-century concepts of international law, in which sovereignty either exists or does not. While a sovereign nation can agree by treaty to become a protectorate of a stronger power, modern international law does not recognise any way of making this relationship compulsory on the weaker power. Suzerainty, therefore, is a practical, de facto situation, rather than a legal, de jure one.

Imperial China

Historically, the Emperor of China saw himself as the centre of the entire civilised world, and diplomatic relations in East Asia were based on the theory that all rulers of the world derived their authority from the Emperor. The degree to which this authority in fact existed changed from dynasty to dynasty. However, even during periods when political power was distributed evenly across several political entities, Chinese political theory recognised only one emperor, and asserted that his authority was paramount throughout the world. Diplomatic relations with the Chinese emperor were made on the theory of tributary states, although tributary relations in practice would often result in a form of trade, under the theory that the emperor in his kindness would reward the tributary state with gifts of equal or greater value.

This system broke down in the 18th and 19th centuries in two ways. First, during the 17th century, China was ruled by the ethnically Manchu Qing Dynasty, which ruled a multi-ethnic empire and justified their rule through different theories of rulership. While not contradicting traditional Han Chinese theories of the emperor as universal ruler, the Qing made a distinction between areas of the world that they ruled and areas that they did not. Second, the system further broke down as China was confronted by European powers whose theories of sovereignty were based on international law and relations between separate states.

Unequal treaties

A series of "unequal treaties" (including, among others, the Treaty of Nanjing, 1842; the treaties of Tianjin, 1858; and the Beijing Conventions, 1860) forced China to open new ports, including Canton, Amoy, and Shanghai. These treaties allowed the British to set up their own colony at Hong Kong and established international settlements in these ports that were controlled by foreigners. They also required China to permanently accept diplomats at Peking, provided for free movement for foreign ships in Chinese rivers, imposed European regulation of Chinese tariffs, and opened the interior to Christian missionaries. Since the 1920s, the "unequal treaties" have been a centerpiece of Chinese grievances against the West.[2]

For centuries, China had claimed suzerain authority over numerous adjacent areas. The areas had internal autonomy but were theoretically under the protection of China in terms of foreign affairs. By the 19th century, the relationships were nominal, and China exerted little or no actual control. The Western powers rejected the concept and one-by-one seized these areas. Japan took Korea[3] and the Ryukyu Islands, France took Vietnam, and Britain took Upper Burma.[4] Only Tibet was left, and that was highly problematic because the Tibetans did not accept Chinese suzerainty.[5] Each case represented yet another humiliation and demonstration of weakness.

One way European states attempted to describe the relations between the Qing Dynasty and its outlying regions was in terms of suzerainty, although this did not completely match the traditional Chinese diplomatic theory. Since the Great Game, the British Empire had regarded strategic Tibet as under Chinese "suzerainty", but in 2008 British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a statement called that word an "anachronism", and joined the European Union and the United States in recognising Tibet as a part of China.[6]

Ancient Israel and Near East

Suzerainty treaties and similar covenants and agreements between near-eastern nations were quite prevalent during the pre-monarchic and monarchy periods in Ancient Israel. The Hittites, Egyptians, and Assyrians had been suzerains to the Israelites and other tribal kingdoms of the Levant from 1200 to 600 BC. The structure of Jewish covenant law was similar to the Hittite form of suzerain.[7]

Each treaty would typically begin with an "Identification" of the Suzerain, followed by an historical prologue cataloguing the relationship between the two groups "with emphasis on the benevolent actions of the suzerain towards the vassal".[7] Following the historical prologue came the stipulation. This included tributes, obligations and other forms of subordination that would be imposed on the Israelites.[7] According to the Hittite form, after the stipulations were offered to the vassal, it was necessary to include a request to have copies of the treaty that would be read throughout the kingdom periodically.[7] The treaty would have divine and earthly witnesses purporting the treaty's validity, trustworthiness, and efficacy. This also tied into the blessings that would come from following the treaty and the curses from breaching it. For disobedience, curses would be given to those who had not remained steadfast in carrying out the stipulations of the treaty.[8][9]

Hittite suzerainty treaty form

Below is a form of a Hittite Suzerainty Treaty.[7]

  • Preamble: Identifies the parties involved in the treaty, the author, the title of the sovereign party, and usually his genealogy. It usually emphasises the greatness of the king or dominant party.[10]
  • Prologue: Lists the deeds already performed by the Suzerain on behalf of the vassal. This section would outline the previous relationship the two groups had up until that point with historical detail and facts that are very beneficial to scholars today, such as scholar George Mendenhall who focuses on this type of covenant as it pertained to the Israelite traditions.[10] The suzerain would document previous events in which they did a favor that benefitted the vassal. The purpose of this would show that the more powerful group was merciful and giving, therefore, the vassal should obey the stipulations that are presented in the treaty. It discusses the relationship between them as a personal relationship instead of a solely political one. Most importantly in this section, the vassal is agreeing to future obedience for the benefits that he received in the past without deserving them.
  • Stipulations: Terms to be upheld by the vassal for the life of the treaty; defines how the vassal is obligated and gives more of the legalities associated with the covenant.
  • Provision for annual public reading: A copy of the treaty was to be read aloud annually in the vassal state for the purpose of renewal and to inform the public of the expectations involved and increase respect for the sovereign party, usually the king.[10]
  • Divine witness to the treaty: These usually include the deities of both the Suzerain and the vassal, but put special emphasis on the deities of the vassal.
  • Blessings if the stipulations of the treaty are upheld and curses if the stipulations are not upheld. These blessings and curses were generally seen to come from the gods instead of punishment by the dominant party for example.
  • Sacrificial Meal: Both parties would share a meal to show their participation in the treaty.

Indian subcontinent

British paramountcy

The British East India Company conquered Bengal in 1757, and gradually extended its control over the whole of India. It annexed many of the erstwhile Indian kingdoms (hereafter "states") but entered into alliances with the others. Some states were created by the East India Company itself through the grant of jagirs to influential allies. The states varied enormously in size and influence, with Hyderabad at the upper end with 16.5 million people and an annual revenue of 100 million rupees and states like Babri at the lower end with a population of 27 people and annual revenue of 80 rupees.[11]

These states were subject to the 'paramountcy' of the British Crown. The term was never precisely defined but it meant that the Indian states were subject to the suzerainty of the British Crown exercised through the Viceroy of India. The principle was asserted in a letter by Lord Reading to the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1926, "The sovereignty of the British Crown is supreme in India and therefore no ruler of an Indian State can justifiably claim to negotiate with the British Government on an equal footing." This meant that the Indian states were dependencies or protectorates of the British Indian government. They could not make war or have any direct dealings with foreign States. Neither did they enjoy full internal autonomy. The British government could and did interfere in their internal affairs if the imperial interests were involved or if it proved necessary in the interest of good governance. In some cases, the British government also deposed the Indian princes.[12]

Scholars hold that the system of Paramountcy was a system of limited sovereignty only in appearance. In a reality, it was a system of recruitment of a reliable base of support for the Imperial State. The support of the Imperial State obviated the need for the rulers to seek legitimacy through patronage and dialogue with their populations. Through their direct as well as indirect rule through the princes, the colonial State turned the population of India into 'subjects' rather than citizens.[13]

The Government of India Act of 1935 envisaged that India would be a federation of autonomous provinces balanced by Indian princely states. However, this plan never came to fruition.[14] The political conditions were oppressive in several princely states giving rise to political movements. Under pressure from Gandhi, the Indian National Congress resolved not to interfere directly but called on the princes to increase civil liberties and reduce their own privileges.[15]

With the impending independence of India in 1947, the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten announced that the British paramountcy over the Indian states would come to an end. The states were advised to `accede' to one of the new Dominions, India and Pakistan. An Instrument of Accession was devised for this purpose. The Congress leaders agreed to the plan with the condition that Mountbatten ensure that the majority of the states within the Indian territory accede to India. Under pressure from the Viceroy, all the Indian states acceded to India save two, Junagadh and Hyderabad. The two states acceded later, under coercion from India. Jammu and Kashmir, which shared a border with India as well as Pakistan, acceded to India when a Pakistan-backed invasion threatened its survival.[16][17]


Following India's independence in 1947, a treaty signed between the Chogyal, Palden Thondup Namgyal, and the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave India suzerainty over Sikkim in exchange for it retaining its independence. This continued until 1975, when the Sikkimese monarchy was abolished in favour of a merger into India. Sikkim is now one of the states of India.


Located in the Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep is a Union territory of India off the coast of the southwestern state of Kerala. The Amindivi group of islands (Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra) came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787. They passed on to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War and were attached to the South Canara district. The rest of the islands became a suzerainty of the Arakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute.

After a while, the British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act separated these islands from the mainland administrative units, forming a new union territory by combining all the islands.


The Princely States of the British Raj (India) which acceded to Pakistan maintained their sovereignty with the Government of Pakistan acting as the suzerain until 1956 for Bahawalpur, Khairpur, and the Balochistan States, 1969 for Chitral and the Frontier States, and 1974 for Hunza and Nagar. All these territories have since been merged into Pakistan.

South African Republic

After the First Boer War (1880–81), the South African Republic was granted its independence, albeit under British suzerainty. During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), the South African Republic was annexed as the Colony of the Transvaal, which existed until 1910, when it became the Province of Transvaal in the Union of South Africa.

Second World War

Despite being occupied by the Axis powers, several Western and Asian countries were allowed to exercise self-rule. Several states were created in order to facilitate their occupation, including Vichy France, Manchukuo, the Empire of Vietnam, the Independent State of Croatia in Croatia and the Lokot Autonomy in Central Russia.

German Empire

Following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the German Empire received a very short lived suzerainty over the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. New monarchies were created in Lithuania and the United Baltic Duchy (which comprised the modern countries of Latvia and Estonia). The German aristocrats Wilhelm Karl, Duke of Urach (in Lithuania), and Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (in the United Baltic Duchy), were appointed as rulers. This plan was detailed by German Colonel General Erich Ludendorff, who wrote, "German prestige demands that we should hold a strong protecting hand, not only over German citizens, but over all Germans."[18]

United States

When applied to the United States, the concept of suzerainty also includes the evolving relationship between the federal government, state governments and the indigenous peoples in the United States (or Indian tribes).

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes."

At least four significant United States Supreme Court decisions, have provided guidelines in how to interpret the constitutional provisions.

Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823)

In Johnson v. M'Intosh 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543 (1823), the Court applied the rule of conquest and subsequent division that was accepted by the nations of Europe at the time; that title properly belonged to the nation which discovered (or conquered and had dominion over) the new land. This meant that there was a diminishment of the natives' ability to dispose of their land; natives could live on the land, but that they could not grant the land to a private individual. According to the treaty ending the Revolutionary War (the 1783 Treaty of Paris), Great Britain relinquished any claim to "proprietary and territorial rights of the United States." Thus, the United States owned the entirety of the lands which were situated within the boundaries of the states existing at that time and those natives who lived within such boundaries did not own title to the land.[19] At the end of the Revolutionary War, the land of the United States was east of the Mississippi River excluding the area around New Orleans.

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831)

In the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 U.S. 1 (1831), it was observed that the acts of the United States Government plainly recognise the Cherokee Nation as a State. Numerous treaties made with the tribe by the United States recognise them as a people capable of "maintaining the relations of peace and war." Therefore, the Courts are bound by those acts. It was concluded that the tribes' relations to the United States resemble that of a ward to his guardian and were a "denominated domestic dependent nation" and not a foreign nation.[20]

Worcester v. Georgia (1832)

In Worcester v. Georgia 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515 (1832) it was affirmed that the Federal Government inherited the rights of Great Britain as they were held by that nation; it was acknowledged that the exercise of conquest and purchase can give political dominion, but those are in the hands of the federal government and not the states. Specifically, the court ruled that the Cherokee Nation was a "distinct community" with self-government "in which the laws of Georgia can have no force." This case established the doctrine that the national government of the United States, and not individual states, had authority in Indian affairs.

United States v. Kagama (1886)

Indian Territory was reduced to the approximate boundaries of the current state of Oklahoma by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854. During the American Civil War, several Indian tribes signed treaties with the Confederacy. At the conclusion of the war, the US Government and tribes signed new Reconstruction Treaties and the government changed their policy from Indian removal to assimilation.

The Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 had two significant sections. First, the Act required the Federal Government no longer interact with the various tribes through treaties, but rather through statutes by stating, in part,

[n]o Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognised as an independent nation …".[21]

The 1871 Act also made it a federal crime to commit murder, manslaughter, rape, assault with intent to kill, arson, burglary, and larceny within any Territory of the United States.

The 1871 Act was affirmed in 1886 by the US Supreme Court, in United States v. Kagama 118 U.S. 375 (1886), which affirmed that the Congress has plenary power over all American Indian tribes within its borders by rationalisation that "The power of the general government over these remnants of a race once powerful … is necessary to their protection as well as to the safety of those among whom they dwell".[22] Before 1871 the United States had recognised the Indian tribes as semi-independent. The Supreme Court affirmed that the US Government "has the right and authority, instead of controlling them by treaties, to govern them by acts of Congress, they being within the geographical limit of the United States … The Indians owe no allegiance to a State within which their reservation may be established, and the State gives them no protection."[23]

Historical suzerainties

The Ottoman Empire:

Qing dynasty:

In Europe:

In Indonesia:

The Republic of Mexico:

See also


Inline citations

  1. ^ "Suzerain". Merriam Webster.
  2. ^ Dong Wang (2003). "The Discourse of Unequal Treaties in Modern China". Pacific Affairs. 76 (3): 399–425.
  3. ^ Young Park (2009). Korea and the Imperialists: In Search of a National Identity. AuthorHouse. pp. 49–50.
  4. ^ George D. E. Philip et al. eds. (1994). British documents on foreign affairs—reports and papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print: From the mid-nineteenth century to the First World War. Great Britain. Foreign Office.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Wendy Palace (2012). British Empire and Tibet 1900–1922. Routledge. p. 257.
  6. ^ Spencer, Richard (2008-11-05). "UK recognises China's direct rule over Tibet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  7. ^ a b c d e Coogan, Michael D. (2009). A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-983011-4.
  8. ^ Coogan, Michael D. (2009). A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-19-983011-4.
  9. ^ Hindson, Ed; Yates, Gary, eds. (2012). The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group. p. 113.
  10. ^ a b c Mendenhall, G. (1954). "Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition". The Biblical Archaeologist. The American Schools of Oriental Research. 17 (3): 49–76. JSTOR 3209151.
  11. ^ Gupta 1958, pp. 145-146.
  12. ^ Gupta 1958, p. 148.
  13. ^ Bose & Jalal 2004, pp. 82-83.
  14. ^ Stein & Arnold 2010, p. 306.
  15. ^ Stein & Arnold 2010, pp. 336-337.
  16. ^ Stein & Arnold 2010, pp. 357-358.
  17. ^ Menon 1956.
  18. ^ Ludendorff, Erich von (1920). The General Staff and its Problems. London. p. 562.
  19. ^ "Johnson v. McIntosh 21 U.S. 543, 5 L. Ed. 681, 1823 U.S. ,8 Wheat. 543. Case Brief". Retrieved 2012-04-28.
  20. ^ "Cherokee Nation v. Georgia – 30 U.S. 1 (1831)". Retrieved 2012-04-28.
  21. ^ 25 U.S.C. § 71. Indian Appropriation Act of March 3, 1871, 16 Stat. 544, 566
  22. ^ "U S v. KAGAMA, 118 U.S. 375 (1886), Filed May 10, 1886. (FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business)". Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  23. ^ "United States v. Kagama – 118 U.S. 375 (1886). (Justia)". Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  24. ^ Dickinson, Edwin De Witt, The Equality of States in International Law, p239

Sources referenced


Aparajita was Shilahara ruler of north Konkan branch from 975 CE – 1010 CE.

Chhadvaideva was followed by his nephew Aparajita, the son of Vajjada. Aparajita was an ambitious king. He sought to extend his sphere of influence by alliance with the mighty kings of other countries. He probably represents the Vidyadhara king Shikhandaketu, mentioned in the Navasahasankacharita of Padmagupta, who sent his son Shashikhanda to render help to the Paramara king Sindhuraja (993 CE 1010 CE) in his invasion of South Kosala at the request of the Naga king of Bastar.Aparajita's extensive conquests, his alliance with the Paramaras, his assumption of grandiloquent titles and his subsequent refusal to recognise the Later Chalukya suzerainty led to a Chalukya invasion of his kingdom. Gadayuddha, composed by the Chalukya court poet Ranna, by order of the Chalukya king Taila II, prince Satyashraya chased the Konkaneshvara (the ruler of Konkan i.e. Aparajita) to the sea. Satyashraya pressed as far as the Shilahara capital Puri. Aparajita ultimately acknowledged the Chalukya suzerainty, as attested by a 997 Bhadana inscription which gives his title as Mahamandaleshvara.


Brunate (Comasco: Brunaa [bryˈnɑː]) is a town and comune in the province of Como in northern Italy, some 50 kilometres (31 mi) northeast of Milan. It has some 1,800 residents, but is much more populated in summer, when tourists rent houses and apartments.

The town overlooks Como, which lies on the shore of Lake Como some 500 metres (1,600 ft) below. For a short time in the late 12th century Brunate was an independent commune, but in 1240 it reverted to the suzerainty of Como.

Como and Brunate are linked by a steep, narrow, winding road, and by the Como to Brunate funicular.

Alessandro Volta lived in Brunate for a short period – the Faro Voltiano lighthouse in the San Maurizio district, was built and named in his honour. The Bulgarian poet Pencho Slaveykov died in the town on 10 June 1912.

Danubian Principalities

Danubian Principalities (Romanian: Principatele Dunărene, Serbian: Дунавске кнежевине, translit. Dunavske kneževine) was a conventional name given to the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the early 14th century. The term was coined in the Habsburg Monarchy after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) in order to designate an area on the lower Danube with a common geopolitical situation. The term was largely used then by foreign political circles and public opinion until the union of the two Principalities (1859). Alongside Transylvania, the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became the basis for the Kingdom of Romania, and by extension the modern Romanian nation-state.In a wider context, the concept may also apply to the Principality of Serbia as one of The Principalities of the Danube which came under the suzerainty (alongside Wallachia and Moldavia) of the Porte from 1817.

Doctrine of lapse

The doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy applied by the British East India Company in India until 1858.

According to the doctrine, any Indian princely state under the suzerainty of the British East India Company (the dominant imperial power in the subcontinent), as a vassal state under the British subsidiary system, would have its princely status abolished (and therefore annexed into British India) if the ruler was either "manifestly incompetent or died without a male heir". The latter supplanted the long-established right of an Indian sovereign without an heir to choose a successor. In addition, the British decided whether potential rulers were competent enough. The doctrine and its application were widely regarded by many Indians as illegitimate.

The policy is most commonly associated with Lord Dalhousie, who was the Governor General of the East India Company in India between 1848 and 1856. However, it was articulated by the Court of Directors of the East India Company as early as 1834 and several smaller states were already annexed under this doctrine before Dalhousie took over the post of Governor-General. Dalhousie used the policy most vigorously and extensively, though, so it is generally associated with him. The accession of Lord Dalhousie inaugurated a new chapter in the history of British India. He functioned as the Governor-General of India from 1848-1856. It can be suggested that the doctrine was hypocritical. This is because, during the enforcement of this doctrine, England was ruled by a Queen not a male heir to the throne. However this fails to understand that the doctrine is based on the East India Company being the sovereign ruler of the territories - the suzerain - and that the UK was itself sovereign, having no other state who held its suzerainty.

Duchy of Naples

The Duchy of Naples (Latin: Ducatus Neapolitanus, Italian: Ducato di Napoli) began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the seventh century, in the reduced coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy in the sixth century. It was governed by a military commander (dux), and rapidly became a de facto independent state, lasting more than five centuries during the Early and High Middle Ages. The modern city of Naples remains a significant region of Italy, today.

Gaekwad dynasty

The Gaekwads of Baroda (also spelled as Gaikwads, Guicowars, Gaekwars) (Marathi: गायकवाड Gāyǎkǎvāḍǎ) are Hindus who trace their origins to Poona (modern Pune) to a Maratha clan by the name of Matre, which was corrupted to Mantri meaning Minister. A dynasty belonging to this clan ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the early 18th century until 1947. The ruling prince was known as the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda. With the city of Baroda (Vadodara) as its capital, during the British Raj its relations with the British were managed by the Baroda Residency. It was one of the largest and wealthiest princely states existing alongside British India, with wealth coming from the lucrative cotton business as well as rice, wheat and sugar production.

King of Mann

For the head of state post-1504, see Lord of Mann.The King of Mann (Manx: Ree Vannin) was the title taken between 1237 and 1504 by the various rulers, both sovereign and suzerain, over the Kingdom of Mann – the Isle of Man which is located in the Irish Sea, at the centre of the British Isles.

Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti

The Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (Georgian: ქართლ-კახეთის სამეფო) (1762–1801) was created in 1762 by the unification of two eastern Georgian kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti. From the early 16th century, according to the 1555 Peace of Amasya, these two kingdoms were under Iranian control. In 1744, Nader Shah granted the kingship of Kartli to Teimuraz II and that of Kakheti to his son Heraclius II, as a reward for their loyalty. When Nader Shah died in 1747, Teimuraz II and Heraclius II capitalized on the instability in Iran proper, and declared de facto independence. After Teimuraz II died in 1762, Heraclius succeeded him as ruler of Kartli, thus unifying the two.

Heraclius was able, after centuries of Iranian suzerainty over Georgia, to guarantee the autonomy over his kingdom throughout the chaos that had erupted following Nader Shah's death. He became the new Georgian king of a politically united eastern Georgia for the first time in three centuries. Though Heraclius tendered his de jure submission to the newly established Zand dynasty quickly after the unification in 1762, the kingdom remained de facto autonomous for the next three decades to come. In 1783, Heraclius signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire, by which he formally laid Kartli-Kakheti's investiture in the hands of the Russian monarch, and made the kingdom a Russian protectorate. Amongst others, this provided the nominal guarantee for protection against new Iranian attempts, or by any others, to (re)conquer or attack eastern Georgia. By the 1790s, a new strong Iranian dynasty, the Qajar dynasty, had emerged under Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, which would prove pivotal in the history of the short-lived kingdom.

In the next few years, having secured mainland Iran, the new Iranian king set out to reconquer the Caucasus and to re-impose its traditional suzerainty over the region. After Heraclius II refused to denounce the treaty with Russia and to voluntarily reaccept Iran's suzerainty in return for peace and prosperity for his kingdom, Agha Mohammad Khan invaded Kartli-Kakheti, captured and sacked Tbilisi, effectively bringing it back under Iranian control. This was short-lived, however, for Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated two years later. Heraclius II himself died a year after that.

The following years which were spent in muddling and confusion, culminated in 1801 with the official annexation of the kingdom by Alexander I within the Russian Empire during the nominal ascension of Heraclius's son George XII to the Kartli-Kakhetian throne. Following the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813, Iran officially ceded the kingdom to Russia, marking the start of a Russian-centred chapter in Georgian history.

List of monarchs of Prussia

The monarchs of Prussia were members of the House of Hohenzollern who were the hereditary rulers of the former German state of Prussia from its founding in 1525 as the Duchy of Prussia. The Duchy had evolved out of the Teutonic Order, a Roman Catholic crusader state and theocracy located along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Teutonic Knights were under the leadership of a Grand Master, the last of whom, Albert, converted to Protestantism and secularized the lands, which then became the Duchy of Prussia.

The Duchy was initially a vassal of the Kingdom of Poland, as a result of the terms of the Prussian Homage whereby Albert was granted the Duchy as part of the terms of peace following the Prussian War. When the main line of Prussian Hohenzollerns died out in 1618, the Duchy passed to a different branch of the family, who also reigned as Electors of Brandenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. While still nominally two different territories, Prussia under the suzerainty of Poland and Brandenburg under the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire, the two states are known together historiographically as Brandenburg-Prussia.

Following the Second Northern War, a series of treaties freed the Duchy of Prussia from vassalage to any other state, making it a fully sovereign Duchy in its own right. This complex situation (where the Hohenzollern ruler of the independent Duchy of Prussia was also a subject of the Holy Roman Emperor as Elector of Brandenburg) laid the eventual groundwork for the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. For diplomatic reasons, the rulers of Prussia called themselves King in Prussia from 1701 to 1772. They still nominally owed fealty to the Emperor as Electors of Brandenburg, so the "King in Prussia" title (as opposed to "King of Prussia") avoided offending the Emperor. Additionally, calling themselves "King of Prussia" implied sovereignty over the entire Prussian region, parts of which were still part of Poland.

As the Prussian state grew through several wars and diplomatic moves throughout the 18th century, it became apparent that Prussia had become a Great Power in its own right. By 1772, the pretense was dropped, and the style "King of Prussia" was adopted. The Prussian kings continued to use the title "Elector of Brandenburg" until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, reflecting the legal fiction that their domains within the empire were still under the ultimate overlordship of the Emperor. Legally, the Hohenzollerns ruled Brandenburg in personal union with their Prussian kingdom, but in practice they treated their domains as a single unit. The Hohenzollerns gained de jure sovereignty over Brandenburg when the empire dissolved in 1806, and Brandenburg was formally merged into Prussia.

In 1871, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was formed, and the King of Prussia, Wilhelm I was crowned German Emperor. From that point forward, though the Kingdom of Prussia retained its status as a constituent state of the empire (albeit by far the largest and most powerful), all subsequent Kings of Prussia also served as German Emperor, and that title took precedence.


A protectorate, in its inception adopted by modern international law, is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy and some independence while still retaining the suzerainty of a greater sovereign state. In exchange for this, the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations, which may vary greatly, depending on the real nature of their relationship. Therefore, a protectorate remains an autonomous part of a sovereign state. They are different from colonies as they have local rulers and people ruling over the territory and experience rare cases of immigration of settlers from the country it has suzerainty of. However, a state which remains under the protection of another state but still retains independence is known as a protected state and is different from protectorates.

Pulakeshin II

Pulakeshin II (IAST: Pulakeśin, r. c. 610-642 CE) was the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty of Vatapi (present-day Badami in Karnataka, India). During his reign, the Chalukya kingdom expanded to cover most of the Deccan region in peninsular India.

A son of the Chalukya king Kirttivarman I, Pulakeshin overthrew his uncle Mangalesha to gain control of the throne. He suppressed a rebellion by Appayika and Govinda, and decisively defeated the Kadambas of Banavasi in the south. The Alupas and the Gangas of Talakad recognized his suzerainty. He consolidated the Chalukya control over the western coast by subjugating the Mauryas of Konkana. His Aihole inscription also credits him with subugating the Latas, the Malavas, and the Gurjaras in the north.

The most notable military achievement of Pulakeshin was his victory over the powerful northern emperor Harsha-vardhana, whose failure to conquer the Chalukya kingdom is attested by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang. In the east, Pulakeshin subjugated the rulers of Dakshina Kosala and Kalinga. After defeating the Vishnukundina ruler, he appointed his brother Vishnu-vardhana as the governor of eastern Deccan; this brother later established the independent Eastern Chalukya dynasty of Vengi. Pulakeshin also achieved some successes against the Pallavas in the south, but was ultimately defeated, and probably killed, during an invasion by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I.

Pulakeshin was a Vaishnavite, but was tolerant of other faiths, including Shaivism, Buddhism, and Jainism. He patronized several scholars, including Ravikirtti, who composed his Aihole inscription.

Raya (country subdivision)

Raya or Raia is a term used in Romanian historiography to refer to former territories of the mediaeval principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia held under the direct administration of the Ottoman Empire, as opposed to the principalities, which kept their internal autonomy under Ottoman suzerainty. The term originated from rayah, a generic name for the non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman Empire. Though mainly populated by Christian populations, a raya was ruled according to Ottoman law.A raia consisted of an important fortress and its hinterland, which generally formed a kaza in the Ottoman administrative system. In Wallachia, the raia were located on the northern bank of the Danube, around the fortresses of Turnu Măgurele, Giurgiu and Brăila, while in Moldavia they were situated on the eastern border, around the fortresses of Kiliya, Akkerman, Bender and Khotin. The territories in Wallachia were transferred back to the latter in 1829 by the Treaty of Adrianople.

Romanian Old Kingdom

The Romanian Old Kingdom (Romanian: Vechiul Regat or just Regat; German: Regat or Altreich) is a colloquial term referring to the territory covered by the first independent Romanian nation state, which was composed of the Romanian Principalities—Wallachia and Moldavia. It was achieved when, under the auspices of the Treaty of Paris (1856), the ad hoc Divans of both countries - which were under Imperial Ottoman suzerainty at the time - voted for Alexander Ioan Cuza as their prince, thus achieving a de facto unification under the name of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The region itself is defined by the result of that political act, followed by the Romanian War of Independence and inclusion of Northern Dobruja and the transfer of southern part of Bessarabia to Russia in 1878, the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881, and the annexation of Southern Dobruja in 1913.

The term came into use after World War I, when the Old Kingdom became Greater Romania, after including Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia, and Bukovina. Nowadays, the term mainly has a historical relevance, and is otherwise used as a common term for all regions in Romania included in both the Old Kingdom and present-day borders (namely: Wallachia, Moldavia, and Northern Dobruja).

Sasanian Armenia

Sasanian Armenia, also known as Persian Armenia and Persarmenia (Armenian: Պարսկահայաստան – Parskahayastan), may either refer to the periods where Armenia (Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩‎ – Armin) was under the suzerainty of the Sasanian Empire, or specifically to the parts of Armenia under its control such as after the partition of 387 AD when parts of western Armenia were incorporated into the Byzantine Empire while the rest of Armenia came under Sasanian suzerainty whilst maintaining its existing kingdom until 428.

In 428, Armenian nobles petitioned Bahram V to depose Artaxias IV (r. 422); Bahram V (r. 420–438) abolished the Kingdom of Armenia and appointed Veh Mihr Shapur as marzban (governor of a frontier province, "margrave") of the country, which marked the start of a new era known as the Marzpanate period (Armenian: Մարզպանական Հայաստան – Marzpanakan Hayastan), a period when marzbans, nominated by the Sasanian emperor, governed eastern Armenia, as opposed to the western Byzantine Armenia which was ruled by several princes, and later governors, under Byzantine suzerainty. The Marzpanate period ended with the Arab conquest of Armenia in the 7th century, when the Principality of Armenia was established. An estimated three million Armenians were under the influence of the Sasanian marzpans during this period.The marzban was invested with supreme power, even imposing death sentences; but he could not interfere with the age-long privileges of the Armenian nakharars. The country as a whole enjoyed considerable autonomy. The office of Hazarapet, corresponding to that of Minister of the Interior, public works and finance, was mostly entrusted to an Armenian, while the post of Sparapet (commander-in-chief) was only entrusted to an Armenian. Each nakharar had his own army, according to the extent of his domain. The "National Cavalry" or "Royal force" was under the Commander-in-chief. The tax collectors were all Armenians. The courts of justice and the schools were directed by the Armenian clergy. Several times, an Armenian nakharar became Marzpan, as did Vahan Mamikonian in 485 after a period of rebellion against the Iranians.

Three times during the Marzpanic period, Iranian kings launched persecutions against Christianity in Armenia. The Iranians had tolerated the invention of the Armenian alphabet and the founding of schools, thinking these would encourage the spiritual separation of Armenia from the Byzantines, but on the contrary, the new cultural movement among the Armenians proved to be conducive to closer relations with Byzantium.

Sino-Sikh War

The Sino-Sikh War or the Dogra-Tibetan War was fought from May 1841 to August 1842, between the forces of the Dogra nobleman Gulab Singh of Jammu, under the suzerainty of the Sikh Empire, and Tibet under the suzerainty

Qing China. Gulab Singh's commander was the able general Zorawar Singh Kahluria, who after the conquest of Ladakh, tried to attempt to extend its boundaries in order to control the trade routes into Ladakh. Zorawar Singh's campaign, suffering from the effects of inclement weather, suffered a defeat at Missar and Singh was killed. The Tibetans then advanced on Ladakh. Gulab Singh sent reinforcements under the command of his nephew Jawahir Singh. A subsequent battle near Leh in 1842 led to a Tibetan defeat. The Treaty of Chushul was signed in 1842 maintaining the status quo ante bellum.

Treaty of Adrianople (1829)

The Treaty of Adrianople (also called the Treaty of Edirne) concluded the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It was signed on 14 September 1829 in Adrianople by Count Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov of Russia and by Abdülkadir Bey of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire gave Russia access to the mouths of the Danube and the fortresses of Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki in Georgia. The Sultan recognized Russia's possession of Georgia (with Imeretia, Mingrelia, Guria) and of the Khanates of Erivan and Nakhichevan which had been ceded to the tsar by Persia in the Treaty of Turkmenchay a year earlier. The treaty opened the Dardanelles to all commercial vessels, thus liberating commerce for cereals, livestock and wood. However, it took the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi (1833) to finally settle the Straits Question between the signatories.

Under the Treaty of Adrianople, the Sultan reguaranteed the previously promised autonomy to Serbia, promised autonomy for Greece, and allowed Russia to occupy Moldavia and Wallachia until the Ottoman Empire had paid a large indemnity. However, under the modifications the later Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi, these indemniİties were sharply curtailed. The treaty also fixed the border between the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia on the thalweg of the Danube, transferring to Wallachia the rule of the rayas of Turnu, Giurgiu and Brăila.The main sections of treaty were as follows:

1) In recognition of the Treaty of London, the independence of Greece under suzerainty of Turkey was accepted.

2) Turkey had nominal suzerainty over the Danube states of Moldavia and Wallachia; for all practical purposes, they were independent.

3) Russia took control of the towns of Anape and Poti in Asia Minor.

4) The Russian traders in Turkey were placed under the legal jurisdiction of the Russian ambassador.

Treaty of Cebu (1565)

The Treaty of Cebu is a peace treaty signed on 4 June 1565 between Miguel López de Legazpi, representing King Philip II of Spain, and Rajah Tupas of Cebu. The treaty effectively created Spanish suzerainty over Cebu.

Legazpi had sailed from Mexico on November 20, 1564 with a fleet of four ships: San Pedro (the flagship), San Pablo, San Juan de Letran and San Lucas and a force of several hundred conquistadors. The expedition reached the Philippines in January 1565 and went ashore in Samar, Leyte, Limasawa, Bohol, and Negros to make blood compacts, claim possession for Spain, and seize or barter foodstuffs.On April 15, 1565, the expedition anchored in Cebu, where Rajah Tupas had treated with Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 as representative of Rajah Humabon. An envoy went ashore seeking to make a pact with Tupas who, having heard of the return of the Spaniards, evacuated the town and relocated to the interior of the island. Unable to treat with Tupas, the Spanish envoy announced that the Cebuanos had submitted to Spanish suzerainty 40 years before and were rebellious Spanish subjects. The Spanish sacked the town and began construction of a stockaded camp and took possession of the whole island of Cebu in the name of Spain. Around May 8, Tupas presented himself at the Spanish fort and agreed to formalize a treaty. After some delay, the treaty was formalized on July 3, 1565.Historian William Henry Scott characterizes the treaty as "... actually the terms of an unconditional surrender. ... a kind of prototype of the unequal treaties which western nations were to fasten on Oriental peoples for the next three centuries."

Vassal and tributary states of the Ottoman Empire

Vassal States were a number of tributary or vassal states, usually on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire under suzerainty of the Porte, over which direct control was not established, for various reasons.

Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia

The Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia was the domination of the Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia in the 13th and the 14th centuries. The Genghisid rulers of the Yuan came from the Mongolian steppe, and the Mongols under Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) based in Khanbaliq (modern Beijing), a Chinese-style dynasty that incorporated many aspects of Mongolian and Inner Asian political and military institutions. Actual Yuan rule extended to Manchuria (modern Northeast China and Outer Manchuria), Mongolia (both Inner and Outer Mongolia as well as part of southern Siberia), the Tibetan Plateau and parts of Xinjiang. People from these Inner Asian regions other than the Mongols usually belonged to the Semu class. In addition, the Yuan emperors held nominal suzerainty over the three western Mongol khanates (the Golden Horde, the Chagatai Khanate and the Ilkhanate), but they were essentially autonomous and ruled separately due to the division of the Mongol Empire since the Toluid Civil War in the 1260s.

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