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Lapland is a sparsely populated territory in Northern Europe. A view from Saana in Finnish Lapland View from saana.JPG
Lapland is a sparsely populated territory in Northern Europe. A view from Saana in Finnish Lapland

A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most countries, a territory is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed into, [1] or incorporated into, a political unit of the country that is of equal status to other political units that may often be referred to by words such as "provinces" or "regions" or "states". In international politics, a territory is usually either the total area from which a state may extract power resources [2] or any non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.



The origins of the word territory begin with the Proto-Indo-European root ters ('to dry'). [3] From this emerged the Latin word terra ('earth, land') and later the Latin word territorium ('land around a town'). [4] [5] Territory made its debut as a word in Middle English during the 14th century. At this point the suffix -orium, which denotes place, was replaced with -ory which also expresses place. [6]


Examples for different types of territory include the following:

Capital territory

A capital territory or federal capital territory is usually a specially designated territory where a country's seat of government is located. As such, in the federal model of government, no one state or territory takes pre-eminence because the capital lies within its borders. A capital territory can be one specific form of federal district.

Dependent territory

Dependent territory is a designation for a territory that is not an independent sovereign state, yet remains politically outside the governing state's integral area. [7] [ failed verification ][ non-primary source needed ] Presently, all dependent territories are either overseas territories or non-sovereign associated states. Only four countries currently possess dependent territories: New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[ citation needed ][ dubious ]

Examples include:

Federal territory

A federal territory is an area within the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of the central or national government within a federation.

Federal territories include:

Overseas territory

Overseas territory is a broad designation for a territorial entity that is separated from the country that governs it by an ocean. An overseas territory may be either a constituent part of the governing state or a dependent territory.

Examples include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Country Distinct territorial body or political entity

A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship.

Colony Territory governed by people from another country, generally with its own subordinate colonial government

In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropolitan state . This administrative colonial separation makes colonies neither incorporated territories, nor client states. Some colonies have been organized either as dependent territories that are not sufficiently self-governed, or as self-governed colonies controlled by colonial settlers.

Administrative division A territorial entity for administration purposes

Administrative division, administrative unit, country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, 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.

Western Hemisphere Geographical term for the half of Earth which lies west of the prime meridian and east of the antimeridian

The Western Hemisphere is a geographical term for the half of Earth which lies west of the prime meridian and east of the antimeridian. The other half is called the Eastern Hemisphere. In geopolitical terms, the context in which the term is most often used, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as "North and South America and the surrounding waters. Longitudes 20°W and 160°E are often considered its boundaries." It may be used in a cultural or geopolitical sense as a synonym for the "New World".

Federation Political union of partially self-governing territories under a central government

A federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central 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 typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, a federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.

Federated state Territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federal union

A federated state is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. 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. 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.

A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state, yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.

Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by the Government of the United Kingdom. There was usually a Governor, appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Home (UK) Government, with or without the assistance of a local Council, similar to the Privy Council that advises the Monarch. As the Members of the Councils were appointed by the Governors, there was consequently no local autonomy, and British citizens resident in Crown colonies had no representation in local government. This was in contrast to self-governing colonies, within which the Sovereign state delegated legislature for most local internal matters of governance to elected assemblies, beginning with the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia in 1619 and the House of Assembly of the Parliament of Bermuda in 1620. As the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom has never included seats for any of the colonies, there was, and is, consequently no representation at any level of Government for British citizens residing in Crown colonies.

Autonomous administrative division Designation for an administrative territorial entity

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. 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.

A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national government. A federal territory is an area that is part of a federation but not part of any federated state. The federated states constitute the federation itself and share sovereignty with the federal government, while a territory does not have sovereign status.

A federacy is a form of government where one or several substate units enjoy considerably more independence than the majority of the substate units. To some extent, such an arrangement can be considered to be similar to asymmetric federalism.

A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman provincia, which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside Italy. The term province has since been adopted by many countries. In some countries with no actual provinces, "the provinces" is a metaphorical term meaning "outside the capital city".

A customs territory is a geographic territory with uniform customs regulations and there are no internal customs or similar taxes within the territory. Customs territories may fall into several types:

The following is a list of maritime and land borders of the UK and its overseas territories:

Borders of Venezuela

The borders of Venezuela are the international borders that Venezuela shares with neighboring countries. Venezuela borders with 14 countries totaling 5,161 kilometers which includes territories of France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (Montserrat) and the United States. Venezuela has the seventh largest land and maritime border after France, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States and Italy.


  1. "territory". Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary . Cambridge University Press . Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  2. Hickman, John (2016). Space is Power: The Seven Rules of Territory. London: Lexington Books. pp. 57–67. ISBN   978-1-4985-1289-3.
  3. Harper, Douglas. "*ters-". Online Etymology Dictionary . Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  4. Harper, Douglas. "territory". Online Etymology Dictionary . Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  5. "Definition of TERRITORY". Merriam Webster Dictionary . merriam-webster.com . Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  6. Dunmore, Charles W.; Fleischer, Rita M. (2008). Studies in Etymology (Second ed.). Focus. p. 236. ISBN   9781585100125. JSTOR   288048.
  7. "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples". United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) . the United Nations General Assembly. 14 December 1960. Retrieved 23 September 2019 via Wikisource.
  8. "The Overseas Territories" (PDF). Foreign and Commonwealth Office. June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2020.