||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
A neutral territory is a territory (not a sovereign state) that is not an integral part of any state (neither independent, nor dependent on a single state, nor colonized or under protectorate, nor a concession), and yet is not terra nullius, but is the object of an agreement under international law between at least two parties (usually bordering states and/or their colonizers et cetera) that neither shall establish, at least for the duration of the agreement's validity, effective control over it.
When it is a delimited zone bordering at least one of the partners, the term neutral zone applies. This had been the case in the past for:
- Neutral Moresnet, a 19th-century neutral zone between the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (and later Belgium) and Prussia (and later the German Empire).
- in the colonial era, the neutral zone between Thailand and French Indochina, 25 kilometres wide (roughly 15.5 miles) on the east bank of the Mekong, was placed under French control but formally remained under Thai sovereignty
- the Saudi–Iraqi neutral zone
- the Saudi–Kuwaiti neutral zone
- the Ceuta and Melilla neutral zones
- Mount Vernon historic site, home of George Washington, during the US Civil War
- a strip of land in between Macau's Portas do Cerco and China's Kung-pei (Gongbei).
In many cases, a neutral zone is also a demilitarized zone.