A federal territory is an area ruled directly by any central government within a federation. The territories are areas in a federation which are not federated states. The federated states are the parts making up the federation itself and sharing the sovereignty with the federal government, while a territory is in no way sovereign.
Unlike a federal district, the territory usually has some degree of self-rule, but the terms are used somewhat differently in different federations.
Federal territories in different federations
Federal territories include:
- Federal Territory (Malaysia)
- Northern Territory (Australia)
- Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon (Canada)
In India, the federal territories are formally called union territories. There are seven of these: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, and Delhi.
Historical federal territories
In Brazil, although mentioned in the Federal Constitution, currently there are no federal territories. Until, 1988 there were three territories: Fernando de Noronha (today a state-level district of Pernambuco), Amapá, and Roraima, now fully recognised states. From 1943 to 1982 Rondônia was also a federal territory (until 1956 under the name of Território do Guaporé).
In the USA, many of the states were territories or parts of territories before reaching statehood, e.g. Louisiana Territory, Oregon Territory, Alaska Territory. Immediately before reaching statehood, these territories of the United States were formally usually of a kind which can be described as organized incorporated territories.