Federated state

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Federated states of various types exist within many of the modern federal states (represented in green color) Map of unitary and federal states.svg
Federated states of various types exist within many of the modern federal states (represented in green color)

A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province, a region, a canton, a land, a governorate, an oblast, an emirate or a country) is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. [1] Such states differ from fully sovereign states, in that they do not have full sovereign powers, as the sovereign powers have been divided between the federated states and the central or federal government. Importantly, federated states do not have standing as entities of international law. Instead, the federal union as a single entity is the sovereign state for purposes of international law. [2] Depending on the constitutional structure of a particular federation, a federated state can hold various degrees of legislative, judicial, and administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory and is a form of regional government.


In some cases, a federation is created from a union of political entities, which are either independent or dependent territories of another sovereign entity (most commonly a colonial power). [upper-alpha 1] In other cases, federated states have been created out of the administrative divisions of previously unitary states. [upper-alpha 2] Once a federal constitution is formed, the rules governing the relationship between federal and regional powers become part of the country's constitutional law and not international law.

In countries with federal constitutions, there is a division of power between the central government and the component states. These entities – states, provinces, counties, cantons, Länder, etc. - are partially self-governing and are afforded a degree of constitutionally guaranteed autonomy that varies substantially from one federation to another. [upper-alpha 3] Depending on the form the decentralization of powers takes, a federated state's legislative powers may or may not be overruled or vetoed by the federal government. Laws governing the relationship between federal and regional powers can be amended through the national or federal constitution, and, if they exist, state constitutions as well.

In terms of internal politics, federated states can have republican or monarchical forms of government. Those of republican form (federated republics) are usually called states (like states of the USA) or republics (like republics in the former USSR).

List of constituents by federation

The "federated units" in the table below have inherent governmental authority in the federation's constitutional system, while the "other units" are delegated authority by the federal government or are administered directly by it.

FederationFederated unitsOther units
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina [3] 23 provinces: 1 autonomous city:
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia [4] 6 states: 3 internal territories:
7 external territories:
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria [5] 9 states:
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium [6] 3 regions: [upper-alpha 5]
3 communities: [upper-alpha 6]
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 entities: [upper-alpha 7] 1 self-governing district:
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is itself a federation of 10 cantons :
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil [8] 26 states:
1 federal district:
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada [9] 10 provinces: 3 territories:
Flag of the Comoros.svg  Comoros 3 islands: [upper-alpha 7]
Flag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia [10] 11 regions: 2 chartered cities:
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany [11] 16 states:
Flag of India.svg  India [12] 28 states: 8 union territories:
Flag of Iraq.svg  Iraq [13] 19 governorates: 1 autonomous region:
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia [14] 13 states: 3 federal territories:
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico [15] 31 states:
1 autonomous city:
Flag of Federated States of Micronesia.svg  Micronesia [16] 4 states:
Flag of Nepal.svg    Nepal 7 provinces:
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria [17] 36 states: 1 territory:
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan [18] 4 provinces: 2 autonomous territories: [upper-alpha 7]
1 federal territory:

Proposed Flag of Islamabad Capital Territory.svg  Islamabad Capital Territory [upper-alpha 4]

Flag of Russia.svg  Russia [19] [20] 46 oblasts:
22 republics: [upper-alpha 7]
9 krais:
4 autonomous okrugs: [upper-alpha 7]
3 federal cities:
1 autonomous oblast:
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg  Saint Kitts and Nevis 1 autonomous island:
Saint Kitts:
Flag of Somalia.svg  Somalia [21] [22] 5 federal member states: [upper-alpha 10]
Flag of South Sudan.svg  South Sudan 10 states: [23] 3 administrative areas: [23]
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan [24] 18 states: 1 special administrative status area: [25]
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland [26] 26 cantons:
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates [27] 7 emirates:
Flag of the United States.svg  United States [28] 50 states: 1 federal district:
1 incorporated territory:
13 unincorporated territories:
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela [29] 23 states: 1 capital district:
1 federal dependency:

See also


  1. Examples are Australia and the United States.
  2. This occurred in Belgium in 1993. The Belgian regions had previously devolved powers.
  3. For instance, Canadian provinces and Swiss cantons possess substantially more powers and enjoy more protection against interference and infringements from the central government than most non-Western federations.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Federal capital district, region or territory.
  5. Flanders and Wallonia are subdivided into five provinces each, which are mandated by the Constitution of Belgium. Provincial governance is the responsibility of the regional governments.
  6. The communities and regions of Belgium are separate government institutions with different areas of responsibility. The communities are organized based on linguistic boundaries, which are different from regional boundaries.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 autonomous area
  8. The Brazilian federal district has a level of self-ruling equal to the other main federal units.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Sovereignty over territory actively disputed by another sovereign state or the international community.
  10. Adopted constitution accommodates existing regional governments, with the ultimate number and boundaries of the Federal Member States to be determined by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament.

Related Research Articles

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Administrative division, administrative unit, country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for geographical areas into which a particular, independent sovereign state (country) is divided. Such a unit usually has an administrative authority with the power to take administrative or policy decisions for its area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sovereignty</span> Supreme authority within a territory, as well as external autonomy from other states

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Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Some of the most famous and significant secessions have been: the former Soviet republics leaving the Soviet Union, Texas leaving Mexico, Biafra leaving Nigeria and returning after losing the war, and Ireland leaving the United Kingdom. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals. It is, therefore, a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession. A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful, but the goal is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federation</span> Political union of partially self-governing territories under a central government

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A confederation is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign relations, internal trade or currency, with the central government being required to provide support for all its members. Confederalism represents a main form of intergovernmentalism, which is defined as any form of interaction around states which takes place on the basis of sovereign independence or government.

State may refer to:

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  13. SBS World Guide 2008, p346
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  15. SBS World Guide 2008, p481
  16. SBS World Guide 2008, p486
  17. SBS World Guide 2008, p537
  18. SBS World Guide 2008, p549
  19. SBS World Guide 2008, p600
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