A regency is the period of rule of a regent or regents.
A regent, from the Latin regens, "[one] reigning", or regency council is a person or group of persons selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated.
Occasionally, the term regent refers to positions lower than the ruler of a country. In the Republic of the United Provinces, the members of the ruling class, not formally hereditary but de facto patricians, were known collectively as regenten (the Dutch plural for regent). In the Dutch East Indies, a regent was a native prince allowed to rule de facto colonized 'state' as a regentschap (see that term). Consequently, in the successor state of Indonesia, the term regent is used in English to mean a bupati (local government official).
Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Kedah.
- ^ The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as "A person appointed to administer a State because the Monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated."