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An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin inter-, "between" and rēgnum, "reign" [from rex, rēgis, "king"]), and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. Historically, the longer and heavier interregna were typically accompanied by widespread unrest, civil and succession wars between warlords, and power vacuums filled by foreign invasions or the emergence of a new power. A failed state is usually in interregnum.
The term also refers to the periods between the election of a new parliament and the establishment of a new government from that parliament in parliamentary democracies, usually ones that employ some form of proportional representation that allows small parties to elect significant numbers, requiring time for negotiations to form a government. In the UK, Canada and other "first past the post" electoral systems, this period is usually very brief, except in the rare occurrence of a hung parliament as occurred both in the UK in 2017 and in Australia in 2010. In parliamentary interregnums, the previous government usually stands as a caretaker government until the new government is established. Additionally, the term has been applied to the United States presidential transition, the period of time between the election of a new U.S. president and his or her inauguration, during which the outgoing president remains in power, but as a lame duck.
Similarly, in some Christian denominations, "interregnum" (interim) describes the time between vacancy and appointment of priest or pastors to various roles.
Particular historical periods known as interregna include:
In some monarchies, such as the United Kingdom, an interregnum is usually avoided due to a rule described as "The King is dead. Long live the King", i.e. the heir to the throne becomes a new monarch immediately on his predecessor's death or abdication. This famous phrase signifies the continuity of sovereignty, attached to a personal form of power named Auctoritas . This is not so in other monarchies where the new monarch's reign begins only with coronation or some other formal or traditional event. In the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth for instance, kings were elected, which often led to relatively long interregna. During that time it was the Polish primate who served as an interrex (ruler between kings). In Belgium the heir only becomes king upon swearing before the parliament.
A Papal interregnum occurs upon the death or resignation of the Catholic Church's Pope, though this is generally known as a sede vacante (literally "when the seat is vacant"). The interregnum ends immediately upon election of a new Pope by the College of Cardinals.
"Interregnum" is the term used in the Anglican Communion to describe the period before a new parish priest is appointed to fill a vacancy. During an interregnum, the administration of the parish is the responsibility of the churchwardens.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when the President of The Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the Twelve) becomes the Church's presiding body. Any members of the First Presidency who were formerly members of the Twelve rejoin that quorum. The period between the death of the President and the reorganization of the First Presidency is known as an "Apostolic Interregnum".
FIDE, the world governing body of international chess competition, has had two Interregnum periods of having no chess champions, both during the 1940s.
An emperor is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother, or a woman who rules in her own right and name. Emperors are generally recognized to be of the highest monarchic honor and rank, surpassing kings. In Europe, the title of Emperor has been used since the Middle Ages, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as "Emperor".
The Ottonian dynasty was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin in the German stem duchy of Saxony. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Count Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names. The Ottonian rulers were successors of the Germanic king Conrad I who was the only Germanic king to rule in East Francia after the Carolingian dynasty and before this dynasty.
The House of Romanov was the reigning imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. They achieved prominence after the Tsarina, Anastasia Romanova, was married to the First Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible.
The 12th century is the period from 1101 to 1200 in accordance with the Julian calendar. In the history of European culture, this period is considered part of the High Middle Ages and is sometimes called the Age of the Cistercians. The Golden Age of Islam experienced a significant development, particularly in Islamic Spain.
The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans during the Middle Ages, and also known as the German-Roman Emperor since the early modern period, was the ruler and head of state of the Holy Roman Empire. The empire was considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the only successor of the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was held in conjunction with the title of king of Italy from the 8th to the 16th century, and, almost without interruption, with the title of king of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in republics. A dynasty may also be referred to as a "house", "family" or "clan", among others. The longest surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC and historically attested from AD 781.
An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualifications, and the electors vary from case to case. Historically it was not uncommon for elective monarchies to transform into hereditary ones over time, or for hereditary ones to acquire at least occasional elective aspects.
A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. Unlike the personal union, in a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.
A pretender is someone who claims to be the rightful ruler of a country although not recognized as such by the current government. The term is often used to suggest that a claim is not legitimate. The word may refer to a former monarch or a descendant of a deposed monarchy, although this type of claimant is also referred to as a head of a house.
The Árpáds or Arpads were the ruling dynasty of the Principality of Hungary in the 9th and 10th centuries and of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1301. The dynasty was named after the Hungarian Grand Prince Árpád who was the head of the Hungarian tribal federation during the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, c. 895. It is also referred to as the Turul dynasty, and this was the official name until the 18th century.
The Kingdom of Croatia entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary in 1102, after a period of rule of kings from the Trpimirović and Svetoslavić dynasties and a succession crisis following the death of king Demetrius Zvonimir. With the coronation of King Coloman of Hungary as "King of Croatia and Dalmatia" in 1102 in Biograd, the realm passed to the Árpád dynasty until 1301, when the (male) line of the dynasty died out. Then, kings from the Capetian House of Anjou, who were also cognatic descendants of the Árpád kings, ruled the kingdoms. Later centuries were characterized by conflicts with the Mongols, who sacked Zagreb in 1242, competition with Venice for control over Dalmatian coastal cities, and internal warfare among Croatian nobility. Various individuals emerged during the period, such as Paul I Šubić of Bribir, who was representing the most powerful Croatian dynasty at the time, the Šubić noble family. These powerful individuals were on occasion able to de facto secure great deal of independence for their fiefdoms. The Ottoman incursion into Europe in the 16th century significantly reduced Croatian territories and left the country weak and divided. After the death of Louis II in 1526 during the Battle of Mohács and a brief period of dynastic dispute, both crowns passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg, and the realms became part of the Habsburg monarchy.
A war of succession is a war prompted by a succession crisis in which two or more individuals claim the right of successor to a deceased or deposed monarch. The rivals are typically supported by factions within the royal court. Foreign powers sometimes intervene, allying themselves with a faction. This may widen the war into one between those powers.
The Kingdom of Croatia, or Croatian Kingdom, was a medieval kingdom in Southern Europe comprising most of what is today Croatia, as well as most of the modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian Kingdom was ruled for part of its existence by ethnic dynasties, and the Kingdom existed as a sovereign state for nearly two centuries. Its existence was characterized by various conflicts and periods of peace or alliance with the Bulgarians, Byzantines, Hungarians, and competition with Venice for control over the eastern Adriatic coast. The goal of promoting the Croatian language in the religious service was initially introduced by the 10th century bishop Gregory of Nin, which resulted in a conflict with the Pope, later to be put down by him. In the second half of the 11th century Croatia managed to secure most coastal cities of Dalmatia with the collapse of Byzantine control over them. During this time the kingdom reached its peak under the rule of kings Peter Krešimir IV (1058–1074) and Demetrius Zvonimir (1075–1089).
The Arsacid dynasty or Arshakuni, ruled the Kingdom of Armenia from 12 to 428. The dynasty was a branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia. Arsacid kings reigned intermittently throughout the chaotic years following the fall of the Artaxiad dynasty until 62 when Tiridates I secured Parthian Arsacid rule in Armenia. However, he did not succeed in establishing his line on the throne, and various Arsacid members of different lineages ruled until the accession of Vologases II, who succeeded in establishing his own line on the Armenian throne, which would rule the country until it was abolished by the Sasanian Empire in 428.
The Sasanian or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th–8th centuries CE. Named after the House of Sasan, it endured for over four centuries, from 224 to 651 CE, making it the longest-lived Persian imperial dynasty. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire, and re-established the Persians as a major power in late antiquity alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman Empire.
The Chosroid dynasty, also known as the Iberian Mihranids, were a dynasty of the kings and later the presiding princes of the early Georgian state of Iberia from the 4th to the 9th centuries. The family, of Iranian Mihranid origin, accepted Christianity as their official religion c. 337, and maneuvered between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Iran to retain a degree of independence. After the abolition of the Iberian kingship by the Sassanids c. 580, the dynasty survived in its two closely related, but sometimes competing princely branches—the elder Chosroid and the younger Guaramid—down to the early ninth century when they were succeeded by the Georgian Bagratids on the throne of Iberia.
Roman Armenia refers to the rule of parts of Greater Armenia by the Roman Empire, from the 1st century AD to the end of Late Antiquity. While Armenia Minor had become a client state and incorporated into the Roman Empire proper during the 1st century AD, Greater Armenia remained an independent kingdom under the Arsacid dynasty. Throughout this period, Armenia remained a bone of contention between Rome and the Parthian Empire, as well as the Sasanian Empire that succeeded the latter, and the casus belli for several of the Roman–Persian Wars. Only in 114 was Emperor Trajan able to conquer and incorporate it as a short-lived province.
The Jagiellonian dynasty, or simply Jagiellon, was a royal dynasty, founded by Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who in 1386 was baptized as Władysław, married Queen Jadwiga of Poland, and was crowned King of Poland as Władysław II Jagiełło. The dynasty reigned in several Central European countries between the 14th and 16th centuries. Members of the dynasty were Kings of Poland (1386–1572), Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Kings of Hungary, and Kings of Bohemia and imperial electors (1471–1526). The dynasty was a cadet branch of Gediminids.
Sasanian Iberia refers to the period the Kingdom of Iberia was under the suzerainty of the Sasanian Empire. The period includes when it was ruled by Marzbans (governors) appointed by the Sasanid Iranian king, and later through the Principality of Iberia.
The Croatian–Venetian wars were a series of periodical, punctuated medieval conflicts and naval campaigns waged for control of the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea between the City-state of Venice and the Principality of Croatia, at times allied with neighbouring territories – the Principality of the Narentines and Zahumlje in the south and Istrian peninsula in the north. First struggles occurred at the very beginning of the existence of two conflict parties, they intensified in the 9th century, lessened during the 10th century, but intensified again since the beginning of the 11th century.