Personal union

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A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. [1] A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. 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. [2]

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The term was coined by German jurist Johann Stephan Pütter, introducing it into Elementa iuris publici germanici (Elements of German Public Law) of 1760. [3]

Personal unions can arise for several reasons, ranging from coincidence (a woman who is already married to a king becomes queen regnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries; the King of one country inherits the crown of another country) to virtual annexation (where a personal union sometimes was seen as a means of preventing uprisings). They can also be codified (i.e., the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall share the same person as head of state) or non-codified, in which case they can easily be broken (e.g., by the death of the monarch when the two states have different succession laws).

Because presidents of republics are ordinarily chosen from within the citizens of the state in question, the concept of personal union has almost never crossed over from monarchies into republics, with the rare exception of the president of France being a co-prince of Andorra. In 1860 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius was simultaneously elected as the president of Transvaal and Orange Free State and he tried to unify the two countries but his mission failed and led to the Transvaal Civil War.

Andorra

Even though France is now a republic with a president and not a monarchy, it has nevertheless been in personal union with the neighbouring nominal monarchy (non-hereditary) of Andorra since 1278.

Austria

Bohemia

Brandenburg

Brazil

Congo Free State and Belgium

Croatia

Denmark

England

After 1707, see Great Britain below.

France

Note: The point at issue in the War of the Spanish Succession was the fear that the succession to the Spanish throne dictated by Spanish law, which would devolve on Louis, le Grand Dauphin already heir to the throne of France would create a personal union that would upset the European balance of power; France had the most powerful military in Europe at the time, and Spain the largest empire.

Georgia

Great Britain

Before 1707, see England and Scotland.

After 1801, see United Kingdom below.

Hanover

Holy Roman Empire

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Korea: Goryeo

The King Chungseon reigned as King of Goryeo in 1298 and 1308–1313 and King of Shenyang or Shen from 1307 (according to the History of Yuan ) or 1308 (according to Goryeosa ) to 1316. At that time, Goryeo had already become a vassal of Yuan and the imperial family of Yuan and the royal family of Goryeo had close relationship by marriages of convenience. Because he was a very powerful man during Emperor Wuzong's era, he could become the King of Shenyang where many Korean people lived in China. However, he lost his power in the court of Yuan after the death of Emperor Wuzong. Because the Yuan Dynasty made Chungseon abdicate the crown of the Goryeo in 1313, the personal union was ended. King Chungsuk, Chungseon's eldest son, became the new King of Goryeo. In 1316, the Yuan Dynasty made Chungseon abdicate the crown of Shen in favour of Wang Go, one of his nephews, resulting in him becoming the new King of Shen.

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Naples

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Prussia

Romania

Sardinia

Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha

In 1826, the newly created Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was initially a double duchy, ruled by Duke Ernest I in a personal union. In 1852, the duchies were bound in a political and real union. They were then a quasi-federal unitary state, even though later attempts to merge the duchies failed.

Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach

The duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach were in personal union from 1741, when the ruling house of Saxe-Eisenach died out, until 1809, when they were merged into the single duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Schleswig and Holstein

Duchies with peculiar rules for succession. See the Schleswig-Holstein Question.

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

The duchies of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen were in personal union from 1909, when Prince Günther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt succeeded also to the throne of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, until 1918, when he (and all the other German monarchs) abdicated.

Scotland

After 1707, see Great Britain above.

Sicily

Spain

Leon, Castile and Aragon

Spain

Sweden

United Kingdom

See also

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References

  1. Oppenheim, Lassa; Roxbrough, Ronald (2005). International Law: A Treatise. The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN   978-1-58477-609-3 . Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  2. In the Holy Roman Empire, many prince-bishops had themselves elected to separate prince-bishoprics, which they ruled in a personal union. For example, Joseph Clemens von Bayern (1671–1723) was Prince-Bishop of Freising (1685–1694), Prince-Bishop of Regensburg (1685–1694), Prince-Elector of Cologne (1688–1723), Prince-Bishop of Liège (1694–1723) and Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim (1702–1723).
  3. Harding, Nick (2007). Hanover and the British Empire, 1700-1837. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN   9781843833000.