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 (also state, province, region, canton, land, governorate, oblast, emirate, or country) is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. [1] A federated state does not have sovereignty since powers are divided between the other federated states and the federal government. Federated states are different from sovereign states.


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 the union of political entities that 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 US) 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.[ citation needed ]

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] 12 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 the 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] 48 oblasts:
24 republics: [upper-alpha 7]
9 krais:
4 autonomous okrugs: [upper-alpha 7]
3 federal cities:
1 autonomous oblast: [upper-alpha 7]
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 11]
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 (Pantone).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 American Samoa.svg  American Samoa
  • Flag of Guam.svg  Guam
  • Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands
  • Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico
  • Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svg  U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Minor outlying islands:
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela [29] 23 states: 1 capital district:
1 federal dependency:

See also


  1. Examples are Australia, Canada 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 8 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 Sovereignty over territory actively disputed by another sovereign state or the international community.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Claimed by Ukraine and considered by most of the international community to be part of Ukraine.
  11. 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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federalism</span> Political concept

Federalism is a mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system, dividing the powers between the two. Johannes Althusius is considered the father of modern federalism along with Montesquieu. He notably exposed the bases of this political philosophy in Politica Methodice Digesta, Atque Exemplis Sacris et Profanis Illustrata (1603). Montesquieu sees in the Spirit of Laws, examples of federalist republics in corporate societies, the polis bringing together villages, and the cities themselves forming confederations. Federalism in the modern era was first adopted in the unions of states during the Old Swiss Confederacy.

Administrative divisions are geographical areas into which a particular independent sovereign state 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">Administrative divisions of Mexico</span> Federal entities composing Mexico

The United Mexican States is a federal republic composed of 32 federal entities: 31 states and Mexico City, an autonomous entity. According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign in all matters concerning their internal affairs. Each state has its own congress and constitution.

Secession is the formal withdrawal of a group from a political entity. The process begins once a group proclaims an act of secession. A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful, but the goal is the creation of a new state or entity independent of the group or territory from which it seceded. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.

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

A federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision, neither by the component states nor the federal political body.

A confederation is a political union of sovereign 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 defence, 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, defined as any form of interaction around states that takes place on the basis of sovereign independence or government.

State most commonly refers to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constitution of Russia</span> Principles, institutions and law of political governance in Russia

The Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993. Russia's constitution came into force on 25 December 1993, at the moment of its official publication, and abolished the Soviet system of government. The current Constitution is the second most long-lived in the history of Russia, behind the Constitution of 1936.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federal subjects of Russia</span> Federal constituent entities of Russia

The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation or simply as the subjects of the federation, are the constituent entities of Russia, its top-level political divisions according to the Constitution of Russia. Kaliningrad Oblast is the only federal subject geographically separated from the rest of the Russian Federation by other countries.

A federal capital is a political entity, often a municipality or capital city, that serves as the seat of the federal government. A federal capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the offices and meeting places of its respective government, where its location and relationship to subnational states are fixed by law or federal constitution. Federal capitals may or may not be considered states in themselves, and either exercise significant political autonomy from the federation or are directly ruled by the national government located within their premises, as federal districts.

A state government is the government that controls a subdivision of a country in a federal form of government, which shares political power with the federal or national government. A state government may have some level of political autonomy, or be subject to the direct control of the federal government. This relationship may be defined by a constitution.

A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another distinct but sovereign political entity is a federal government, which may have distinct powers at various levels of government, authorized or delegated to it by the federation and mutually agreed upon by each of the federated states. Though inappropriate, the adjective "central" is also sometimes used to describe the government of a federation, such as in India.

An autonomous administrative division is a subnational administrative division or internal territory of a sovereign state that has a degree of autonomy—self-governance—under the national government. Autonomous areas are distinct from the constituent units of a federation in that they possess unique powers for their given circumstances. Typically, it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the state or populated by a national minority, which may exercise home rule. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency or to defuse internal conflicts. States that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic</span>

The Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic (TFC) was the principle organizing document of Somalia. Written and approved in February 2004, it represented one of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The other TFIs included the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), which was the legislative branch, and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the TFI's executive wing.


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