Vassal state

A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status similar to that of a vassal in the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support in exchange for certain privileges. In some cases, the obligation included paying tribute, but a state which does so is better described as a tributary state. Today, more common terms are puppet state, protectorate, client state, or associated state.

Ancient China

From the time of the Zhou Dynasty (1046–770 BC) until the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), a varying number of vassal states existed in ancient China.

These ranged in size from small city states to vassals which controlled large swathes of territory such as the States of Chu and Qi. One of these vassal states would go on to conquer China and unite the country under the first emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire (1299–AD 1923 ) controlled a number of tributary or vassal states in the peripheral areas of its territory. Vassalage took a number of different forms with some states permitted to elect their own leaders. Other states paid tribute for their lands.

During the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire controlled many vassal and tributary states such as the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, or the Crimean Khanate.

Troy under the Hittites

Troy was a vassal state of the Hittites, along with other Arzawa lands.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Bryce, Trevor (2005). The Trojans and their neighbours. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780203695340.
Baise rajya

Baise Rajya (Nepali: बाइसे राज्यहरू, lit. 22 principalities) were sovereign and intermittently allied petty kingdoms on the Indian subcontinent, ruled by Khas Rajputs from medieval India, located around the Karnali-Bheri river basin of modern-day Nepal. The Baise were annexed during the unification of Nepal from 1744 to 1810. The kingdom’s founder Prithvi Narayan Shah (ruled 1743-1775) did not live to see this, but his son and grandson annexed the entire collection by the end of the 18th century.

The 22 principalities were Jumla, Doti, Jajarkot, Bajura, Gajur, Biskot, Malneta, Thalahara, Dailekh, Dullu, Duryal, Dang, Sallyana, Chilli, Phalawagh, Jehari, Darnar, Musikot, Atbis Gotam, Majal, Gurnakot, and Rukum. The Baise States included Kumaon, Garhwal in the west, Western Tibet in the north and Surkhet alogwith inner Terai valleys in the south. These Baise alongwith Chaubisi rajya states were ruled by Rajputs and several decentralized tribal polities.

Chu (state)

Chu (Chinese: 楚, Hanyu Pinyin: Chǔguó, Old Chinese: *s-r̥aʔ) was a hegemonic, Zhou dynasty era state. From King Wu of Chu in the early 8th century BCE, the rulers of Chu declared themselves kings on an equal footing with the Zhou kings. Though initially inconsequential, removed to the south of the Zhou heartland and practising differing customs, Chu began a series of administrative reforms, becoming a successful expansionist state during the Spring and Autumn period. With its continued expansion Chu became a great Warring States period power, until it was overthrown by the Qin in 223 BCE.

Also known as Jing (荆) and Jingchu (荆楚), Chu included most of the present-day provinces of Hubei and Hunan, along with parts of Chongqing, Guizhou, Henan, Anhui, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai. For more than 400 years, the Chu capital Danyang was located at the junction of the Dan and Xi Rivers near present-day Xichuan County, Henan, but later moved to Ying. The ruling house of Chu originally bore the clan name Nai (嬭) and lineage name Yan (酓), but they are later written as Mi (芈) and Xiong (熊), respectively.

Client state

A client state is a state that is economically, politically, or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (termed controlling state in this article) in international affairs. Types of client states include: satellite state, associated state, puppet state, neo-colony, protectorate, vassal state, and tributary state.

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.

Eastern Guo

Eastern Guo (simplified Chinese: 东虢; traditional Chinese: 東虢; pinyin: Dōng Guó) was a Chinese vassal state of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-770 BCE).

According to transmitted ancient texts, after King Wu of Zhou destroyed the Shang Dynasty in 1046 BCE, his two uncles received grants of land. One, known as the Western Guo was at Yongdi and the other, Eastern Guo, at Zhidi (modern day Xingyang, Henan). However, this account has been questioned by modern scholars such as Li Feng, who believe that Eastern Guo was founded later by a subbranch of Western Guo.Eastern Guo barely survived into the Spring and Autumn period (770-475 BCE). It was conquered by the State of Zheng in 767 BCE.

Hua (state)

Hua (Chinese: 滑) was a vassal state of the Zhou dynasty in modern Yanshi, Henan Province. It was destroyed by the State of Qin in 627 BC.

The ruins of Hua are located in Huachenghe Village, Yanshi. It is now a Major National Historical and Cultural Site.

Huang (state)

Huang (Chinese: 黄) was a vassal state that existed during the Zhou dynasty until the middle Spring and Autumn period. In the summer of 648 BC it was annexed by the state of Chu.Its capital was in present-day Huangchuan County, Henan province, where ruins of the city have been excavated. Archaeologists have discovered the tombs of Huang Jun Meng (黄君孟; Meng, Lord of Huang) and his wife, with numerous bronzes, jades, and other artifacts.

Idoani Confederacy

The Idoani Confederacy is a traditional state based in the town of Idoani in the Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria. The origins of the state date back at least to 15th century, when the Oba Ozolua "the Conqueror" (c. 1481–1504) fathered the Alani of Idoani, which he made a vassal state of the Benin Empire.

Jhabua State

Jhabua State was one of the princely states of India during the period of the British Raj. It had its capital in Jhabua town. Most of the territory of the princely state was inhabited by the Bhil people, who constituted a majority of the population. Umarkot was a thikana or vassal state of Jhabua.


Kaarta, or Ka'arta, was a short-lived Bambara kingdom in what is today the western half of Mali.

As Bitòn Coulibaly tightened his control over Ségou, capital of his newly founded Bambara Empire, a faction of Ségou Bambara dissatisfied with his rule fled west. In 1753, they founded the kingdom of Kaarta on the homeland of the long-defunct Ghana Empire, taking Nioro du Sahel as their capital. The kingdom was destroyed as an independent force in 1854 by El Hadj Umar Tall's jihad across West Africa; Umar Tall seized Nioro, and put the Kaarta king (Fama) Mamady Kandian and his entire family to death.

In 1878 the French governor of Senegal Briere de l'Isle sent a French force against the Kaarta Toucouleur vassal state along the north bank of the Senegal River. Blocked by the colonial minister in Paris, he argued that they were a threat to the Senegalese Imamate of Futa Toro (then a French client state) with which the British were poised to interfere. The Ministry gave in and on 7 July 1878, a French force destroyed the Kaarta Toucouleur fort at Sabouciré, killing their leader, Almany Niamody. This portion of the Kaarta vassals was then incorporated into the Khasso protectorate kingdom.French Colonel Louis Archinard later conquered the entire territory of the former Kaarta kingdom in 1890, which was formally annexed into French West Africa in 1904.

Kingdom of Imereti

The Kingdom of Imereti (Georgian: იმერეთის სამეფო) was a Georgian monarchy established in 1455 by a member of the house of Bagrationi when the Kingdom of Georgia was dissolved into rival kingdoms. Before that time, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia, to which a cadet branch of the Bagrationi royal family held the crown. This started in 1260 after David VI revolted against Mongolian rule and fled to Abkhazia. This was the result of the Mongolian conquest of Georgia during the 13th century which decentralized and fragmented Georgia, forcing the relocation of governmental centres to the provinces.

Imereti was conquered by Giorgi the Brilliant, who was subject to the Mongols, and united Imereti with the east Kingdom of Georgia. From 1455 onward, however, the kingdom became a constant battleground between Georgian, Persian and Turkish forces. Between 1555 and 1804 it was a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. On 25 April 1804 Solomon II of Imereti accepted Russian vassalage and in 1810 he was removed from the throne. During the time that Imereti was a vassal state, the Mingrelia, Abkhazia and Guria princedoms declared their independence from Imereti and established their own governments. In Persian - Azeri nomenclature the name of the region was changed to "baş açıq" which literally means "without a head scarf".

Pi (state)

Pi (Chinese: 邳) was a Zhou dynasty (1045–256 BC) vassal state in ancient China. Also known as Xue (Chinese: 薛), Pi was ruled by members of the Ren (任) family.

It's progenitor Xi Zhong (奚仲), had been the Minister of Chariots (车正) for Yu the Great during the Xia Dynasty (~2070–1600 BCE) who was given land at the confluence of the Dan (丹水) and Yi Rivers (沂水) in the southern part of modern-day Shandong Province.During the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046–771 BCE), the State of Pi shares a border with the State of Song to the east and the State of Tan (郯国) to the north.

Principality of Bulgaria

The Principality of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Княжество България, Knyazhestvo Balgariya) was a de facto independent, and de jure vassal state under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. It was established by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.

After the Russo-Turkish War ended with a Russian victory, the Treaty of San Stefano was signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire on 3 March 1878. Under this, a large Bulgarian vassal state was agreed to, which was significantly larger: its lands encompassed nearly all ethnic Bulgarians in the Balkans, and included most of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia, stretching from the Black Sea to the Aegean. However, the United Kingdom and Austria-Hungary were against the establishment of such a large Russian client state in the Balkans, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the Mediterranean. Due to this, the great powers convened and signed the Treaty of Berlin, superseding the Treaty of San Stefano, which never went into effect. This created a much smaller principality, alongside an autonomous Eastern Rumelia within the Ottoman Empire.

Although an Ottoman vassal, Bulgaria only acknowledged the authority of the Sublime Porte in a formal way. It had its own Constitution, flag and anthem, and conducted its own foreign policy. In 1885, a bloodless revolution resulted in Eastern Rumelia being de facto annexed by Bulgaria, which the Ottoman Empire accepted with the Tophane Agreement. On 5 October 1908, Bulgaria declared its independence as the Kingdom of Bulgaria.


Quwê – also spelled Que, Kue, Qeve, Coa, Kuê and Keveh – was a "Neo-Hittite" Assyrian vassal state or province at various times from the 9th century BCE to shortly after the death of Ashurbanipal around 627 BCE in the lowlands of eastern Cilicia (also known as Hiyawa), and the name of its capital city, tentatively identified with Adana, in modern Turkey. According to many translations of the Bible, it was the place from which King Solomon obtained horses. (I Kings 10: 28, 29; II Chron. 1:16)

The species name of Cyclamen coum probably refers to Quwê.

Soran Emirate

Soran was a Kurdish Sunni Muslim emirate based in the geographic region of Kurdistan, specifically in what is today known as Iraqi (i.e. southern) Kurdistan. The emirate presumably gained its full independence from the Ottoman Empire shortly after it was captured from Safavid control, in the 1530s, but was later reincorporated into the Ottoman Empire as a semi-autonomous vassal state. After serving the empire as a semi-autonomous vassal state for the next couple of hundred years, the emirate slowly gained full independence for a second time, during the late 1700s and early 1800s, but was eventually subdued by Ottoman troops in 1835. Its capital for most of that time was the city of Rawandiz; however, much of the wealthy nobility were staying at the town of Shaqlawa.During its time as a semi-autonomous vassal state to the Ottoman Empire, the Emirate of Soran was otherwise officially known as the Sharazor Eyalet. In sources from the Sassanid era as well as the early Islamic period, the villages in the neighbourhood of Mosul, east of the Tigris, are referred to as Ba Soren (Syriac: Beith Soren), literally land of Soren. This name seems to be related to the Arian clan of Soren, who during reign of Yazdgerd of Persia, ruled what is today known as Iraqi (i.e. southern) Kurdistan.

The name of the founder of Soran Emirate is said to be Kulos; and it was among the few emirates which had a female ruler, named Khanzad.

It is also said that Soran rulers were a mixture of different Kurdish-speaking Armenian, Circassian and Kurdish tribe chiefs, who were all united under Kulos.

In the 1530s, when Suleiman the Magnificent captured Baghdad, he executed the Emir of Soran and installed a Yazidi, Hussein Beg, as governor of Hewler. However, a cousin of the Emirs managed to retake Hawler while Beg was absent. Beg was summoned back to Istanbul and executed. However, shortly afterwards, the Sorans submitted to Ottoman rule and served as a client faction before gaining their second independence in the ensuing centuries. Meanwhile, during this stage it is believed that Ottomans depended on Circassian noble families to manage the client states, thus giving them the title Beyzade or Bagzada. Descendants of these rulers are believed to be still living in Iraqi Kurdistan today. Places like Barwar, Shaqlawa, and Erbil still have the descendants of these people.

Mir Muhammad replaced his father as the ruler of Soran in 1814. He was also a descendant of Saladin. He set about eliminating potential opponents in ruthless fashion, including his uncles and their sons. He then proceeded to subdue the surrounding tribes, killing any chief who would not submit to his absolute rule. He seized the town of Harir, the former capital of Soran, and then Koy Sanjaq in 1823. He also went on to capture Hewler. In his campaigns he massacred a large number of Yazidis. Concerned at what Mir Muhammad might do next, the Governor of Baghdad declared him as a Pasha. In 1834 the Ottomans sent Rachid Muhammad Pasha to restore their authority. He was joined by forces from Mosul and Baghdad. Mir Muhammad accepted an offer of safe conduct to Istanbul, led to believe that he would be reinstated by the Ottomans, but on his return he disappeared and is widely believed to have been murdered by an Imam called Mullah Muhammad Khati who hated and rallied many people against Soran rulers for their Circassian origins. According to the Kurds, he was a traitor to the Kurdish cause..

A very famous woman beside Khanzad is Amber, called Ambar-Khatun, who also had significant role in the Beyzade families.

The Kurdish dialect Southern Kurmanji, which is commonly known in Kurdistan as Sorani, was named after this emirate. The present-day region of Soran (at the Rawandiz district) in Kurdistan was named after this Emirate.


Tengzhou (Chinese: 滕州; pinyin: Téngzhōu) is a county-level city of Zaozhuang, Shandong province of the People's Republic of China, and is the site of the feudal vassal State of Teng during the Spring and Autumn period.

The Mayor of Tengzhou is Liu Wenqiang. The Secretary of CPC Tengzhou Committee is Shao Shiguan.

Vanniar (Chieftain)

Vanniar or Vanniyar (Tamil: வன்னியர், translit. Vaṉṉiyar,Tamil: වන්නියා, translit. Vanniyā) is a title of a chief in medieval Sri Lanka who ruled in the Chiefdom of Vanni regions as tribute payers to the Jaffna vassal state. There are a number of origin theories for the feudal chiefs, coming from an indigenous formation. The most famous of the Vanni chieftains was Pandara Vannian, known for his resistance against the British colonial power.


A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies.

In contrast, fealty (fidelitas) was sworn, unconditional loyalty to a monarch.

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.

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