Dependent territory

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A dependent territory, dependent area, dependency or autonomous territory is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside[clarification needed] of the controlling state's integral area.[1]

A dependency is commonly distinguished from other subnational entities in that they are not considered to be part of the integral territory of the governing State. A subnational entity typically represents a division of the State proper, while a dependent territory often maintains a great degree of autonomy from the controlling State. Historically, most colonies were considered to be dependencies of their controlling State. The dependencies that remain generally maintain a very high degree of political autonomy. At the same time, not all autonomous entities are considered to be dependencies.[2]

Many political entities have a special position recognized by international treaty or agreement resulting in a certain level of autonomy or differences in immigration rules. These are sometimes[3] considered dependencies,[4] but are officially considered by their controlling states to be integral parts of the state.[3] Examples are Åland (Finland), Hong Kong (China), and Macau (China).[5]

Summary of list contents[edit]

The following listings indicate (or can be interpreted to indicate):

Dependent territories
Other entities

Lists of dependent territories[edit]

Dependency claims without general international recognition, including all claims in Antarctica, are listed in italics. The list includes several territories that are not included in the list of non-self-governing territories listed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.[6] This list includes territories that have not been legally incorporated into their governing state.

New Zealand[edit]

Summary: The Realm of New Zealand includes two self-governing states in free association with New Zealand, one dependent territory (Tokelau) and a territorial claim in Antarctica

In free association Administration ISO 3166 country code
Cook Islands Self-governing state in free association with New Zealand since 1965. Cook Islands' status is considered to be equivalent to independence for international law purposes, and the country exercises full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs.[7] Under the terms of the free association agreement, however, New Zealand retains some responsibility for the foreign relations and defence of the Cook Islands. These responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Cook Islands Government. CK COK 184
Niue Self-governing state in free association with New Zealand since 1974. Niue's status is considered to be equivalent to independence for international law purposes, and the country exercises full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs.[7] Under the terms of the free association agreement, however, New Zealand retains some responsibility for the foreign relations and defence of Niue. These responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Government of Niue. NU NIU 570
Territory Administration ISO 3166 country code
Tokelau Territory of New Zealand. As it moves toward free association with New Zealand, Tokelau and New Zealand have agreed to a draft constitution. A UN-sponsored referendum on self-governance in February 2006 did not produce the two-thirds supermajority necessary for changing the current political status. Another one was in October 2007, which failed to reach the ⅔ margin. TK TKL 772
Ross Dependency No permanent population. New Zealand's Antarctic claim. no separate code

Norway[edit]

Summary: Norway has 1 dependent territory and 2 dependency claims.

Dependency Administration ISO 3166 country code
Bouvet Island No permanent population. Dependency administered from Oslo by the Polar Affairs Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Police. BV BVT 074
Peter I Island No permanent population. Dependencies (subject to the Antarctic Treaty System) administered from Oslo by the Polar Affairs Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Police. no separate code
Queen Maud Land no separate code

United Kingdom[edit]

Summary: the United Kingdom has 12 dependent territories, 3 crown dependencies, 1 group of sovereign base areas and 1 dependency claim.

Overseas territories (inhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
Anguilla House of Assembly of Anguilla handles domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. AI AIA 660
Bermuda Parliament of Bermuda handles domestic affairs and the territory is defined by the UK as self-governing. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. BM BMU 060
British Indian Ocean Territory Administered by the Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. Original population removed, restricted to military personnel. IO IOT 086
British Virgin Islands House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands handles domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories VG VGB 092
Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands handles domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. KY CYM 136
Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands handles domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Also claimed by Argentina. FK FLK 238
Gibraltar Gibraltar Parliament handles domestic affairs. Almost complete internal self-government. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. GI GIB 292
Montserrat Legislative Council of Montserrat handles domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. MS MSR 500
Pitcairn Islands Island Council of the Pitcairn Islands handles some domestic affairs, however decisions are subject to approval by the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. PN PCN 612
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Legislative Council of Saint Helena, Ascension Island Council and Tristan da Cunha Island Council handle domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. SH SHN 654
Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly of the Turks and Caicos Islands handles some domestic affairs. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. TC TCA 796
Overseas territories (uninhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Administered by the Commissioner of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, who is also the Governor of the Falkland Islands. No permanent population. Also claimed by Argentina. GS SGS 239
British Antarctic Territory Administered by the Commissioner of the British Antarctic Territory from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. No permanent population. The UK's Antarctic claim. no separate code
Sovereign Base Areas Administration ISO 3166 country code
 Akrotiri and Dhekelia Administered by the Commander of British Forces, Cyprus. no separate code
Crown dependencies Administration ISO 3166 country code
Guernsey Responsibility for defence, international representation, and good government rests with the United Kingdom. Though, the Parliament of the United Kingdom can legislate on their behalf, if it deem necessary.[8][9][10] GG GGY 831
Jersey JE JEY 832
Isle of Man IM IMN 833

United States[edit]

Summary: the United States has 13 dependent territories and 2 dependency claims.

Unincorporated Organized territories
(inhabited)
Administration ISO 3166 country code
Guam Unincorporated organized territory; policy relations between Guam and the U.S. conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. GU GUM 316
Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth in political union with the U.S.; federal funding administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. MP MNP 580
Puerto Rico Unincorporated organized territory of the U.S. with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and the U.S. conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President. PR PRI 630
U.S. Virgin Islands Unincorporated organized territory; policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the U.S. conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. VI VIR 850
Unincorporated Unorganized territories
(inhabited)
Administration ISO 3166 country code
American Samoa Unincorporated and unorganized territory administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. AS ASM 016
Wake Island Unorganized and unincorporated territory administered from Washington, D.C. by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior. Claimed by the Marshall Islands. UM UMI 581
Unincorporated Unorganized territories
(uninhabited)
Administration ISO 3166 country code
Baker Island Unorganized and unincorporated territory Supervised by the U.S. Air Force, administered from Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is claimed by the Marshall Islands. UM UMI 581
Howland Island
Jarvis Island
Johnston Atoll
Kingman Reef
Midway Island
Navassa Island Unincorporated territory of the U.S. administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior from the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Boquerón, Puerto Rico. Claimed by Haiti and privately via the Guano Islands Act.
Bajo Nuevo Bank Unincorporated territory of the U.S. administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Currently controlled by Colombia, and also claimed by Jamaica and Nicaragua. no separate code
Serranilla Bank Unincorporated territory of the U.S. administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Currently controlled by Colombia, and also claimed by Honduras and Nicaragua. no separate code

Note: The United States also has one incorporated territory, and three sovereign states in free association. See below.

Lists of other entities[edit]

The following entities are according to the law of their state full part of their governing country, but exhibit characteristics of dependent territories. Most inhabited territories have their own ISO 3166 country codes.

Australia[edit]

Summary: Australia has 6 territories in its adiministration and 1 dependency claim.

Although all territories of Australia are considered to be fully integrated in its federative system, and the official status of an external territory does not differ largely from that of a mainland territory (except in regards to immigration law), debate remains as to whether the external territories are integral parts of Australia, due to their not being part of Australia in 1901, when its constituent states federated.[11] They are often listed separately for statistical purposes.

External territories (inhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
Christmas Island Administered from Canberra by the Attorney-General's Department.[12][13] CX CXR 162
Cocos (Keeling) Islands CC CCK 166
Norfolk Island Commonwealth responsibilities administered from Canberra through the Attorney-General's Department.[12] NF NFK 574
External territories (uninhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Administered from Canberra by the Attorney-General's Department.[12] no separate code
Coral Sea Islands[14] no separate code
Australian Antarctic Territory Administered from Canberra by the Australian Antarctic Division of the Department of the Environment and Heritage. no separate code
Heard Island
and McDonald Islands
HM HMD 334

China[edit]

Summary: China has 2 special administrative regions.

Special Administrative Regions Administration ISO 3166 country code
Hong Kong Former British colony. Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since 1997 pursuant to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international treaty registered with the United Nations. The Hong Kong Basic Law provides for the territory to enjoy a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the one country, two systems model under the central government of China. Although the territory is not part of Mainland China, it is officially considered as an integral part of the People's Republic of China.[15][16][17] HK HKG 344
Macau Former Portuguese colony. Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since 1999 pursuant to the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, an international treaty registered with the United Nations. The Macau Basic Law provides for the territory to enjoy a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the "one country, two systems" model under the central government of China. Although the territory is not part of Mainland China, it is officially considered as an integral part of the People's Republic of China. MO MAC 446

[18]

Denmark[edit]

Summary: The Kingdom of Denmark contains 2 self-governing countries.

Constituent country Administration ISO 3166 country code
Faroe Islands Self-governing overseas administrative division since 1948. Part of Denmark, but not of the European Union. FO FRO 234
Greenland Self-governing overseas administrative division since 1979. Part of Denmark. Withdrew from the European Economic Community in 1985. GL GRL 304

Finland[edit]

Summary: Finland has 1 territory governed according to an act and international treaties.

Division Administration ISO 3166 country code
Åland Islands The Åland Islands are governed according to the Act on the Autonomy of Åland and international treaties. These laws guarantee the islands' autonomy from Finland, which has ultimate sovereignty over them, as well as a demilitarized status AX ALA 248

France[edit]

Summary: France has 8 autonomous overseas possessions, not counting the overseas departments and regions of Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Mayotte, which, although located overseas, are not autonomous. All of France's possessions are considered to be integral parts of the French Republic.

Overseas Collectivities Administration ISO 3166 country code
Saint Barthélemy Seceded from Guadeloupe to become an overseas collectivity in 2007. BL BLM 652
Saint Martin Seceded from Guadeloupe to become an overseas collectivity in 2007. MF MAF 663
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Territorial collectivity since 1985; overseas collectivity since 2003. PM SPM 666
Wallis and Futuna Overseas territory since 1961; overseas collectivity since 2003. WF WLF 876
Overseas Country Administration ISO 3166 country code
French Polynesia Overseas collectivity since 2003; Overseas country since 2004. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. PF PYF 258
Special Collectivity Administration ISO 3166 country code
New Caledonia "Sui generis" collectivity since 1999. Appears on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. NC NCL 540
Possession (uninhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
Clipperton Island Island administered by the Minister for Overseas Territories. No permanent population. no separate code
Overseas territory (uninhabited) Administration ISO 3166 country code
French Southern and Antarctic Lands The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (called TAAF for Terres australes et antartiques françaises) is an Overseas territory since 1955, administered from Paris by an Administrateur Supérieur. No permanent population. Includes the French territorial claim in Antarctica: Adelie Land. TF ATF 260

Netherlands[edit]

Summary: The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of 3 Caribbean countries, territories with autonomy in internal affairs and one country (Netherlands) with most of its area in Europe, but which includes 3 Caribbean territories. All Dutch citizens of the Kingdom share the same nationality and are thus citizens of the European Union.

Country Administration ISO 3166 country code
Aruba Each is defined as a "country" ("land") within the Kingdom of the Netherlands by the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba obtained full autonomy in internal affairs upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986. Curaçao and Sint Maarten were part of the Netherlands Antilles until it was dissolved in October 2010. The government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands virtually but not entirely coincides with the government of the Netherlands, and is responsible for defence, foreign affairs and nationality law. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands but not of the European Union, but owing to their Dutch nationality, its citizens are Citizens of the European Union. AW ABW 533
Curaçao CW CUW 531
Sint Maarten SX SXM 534
Division Administration ISO 3166 country code
Bonaire Following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius became formally integrated with the Netherlands as special municipalities, although a different system of law exists. The territories are not part of the European Union, but owing to their Dutch nationality, its citizens are Citizens of the European Union. BQ BES 535
Saba
Sint Eustatius

Norway[edit]

Summary: Norway has 2 territories with limited Norwegian sovereignty.

Division Administration ISO 3166 country code
Svalbard Svalbard is subject to an international treaty with some limits to Norwegian sovereignty. SJ SJM 744
Jan Mayen The legal status of Jan Mayen is basically the same as the Svalbard archipelago, and unlike the Norwegian possessions in the Antarctic, which are dependencies and not integral parts of the Kingdom.[19] Jan Mayen shares county governor (fylkesmann) with Nordland county.

United States[edit]

Summary: the United States 1 Incorporated unorganized territory and 3 self-governing sovereign states in free association.

Incorporated Unorganized territories
(uninhabited)
Administration ISO 3166 country code
Palmyra Atoll Unorganized incorporated territory administered from Washington, D.C. by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior. Part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands, which is otherwise made up of officially unincorporated territories. The 50 states, District of Columbia and Palmyra comprise the incorporated lands of the United States. UM UMI 581
In free association Administration ISO 3166 country code
Marshall Islands A recognized, independent and self-governing state in free association with the United States since 1986. Under the terms of the Compact of free association agreement, The United States maintains the responsibility for the defence, social services, and funding grants of the Marshall Islands. MH
Federated States of Micronesia A recognized, independent and self-governing state in free association with the United States since 1986. Under the terms of the Compact of free association agreement, The United States maintains the responsibility for the defence, social services, and funding grants of the Federated States of Micronesia. FM
Palau A recognized, independent and self-governing state in free association with the United States since 1986. Under the terms of the Compact of free association agreement, The United States maintains the responsibility for the defence, social services, and funding grants of Palau. PW

Note: The United States also has 13 dependent territories and 2 dependency claims. See above.

Description[edit]

Three Crown dependencies are in a form of association with the UK. They are independently administrated jurisdictions, although the British Government is solely responsible for defence and international representation, and has ultimate responsibility for ensuring good government. They do not have diplomatic recognition as independent states, but they are not an integrated part of the UK, nor do they form part of the European Union. The UK Parliament retains the ability to legislate for the Crown dependencies even without the agreement of the insular legislatures. None of the Crown dependencies has representatives in the UK Parliament. Bermuda and Gibraltar have similar relationships to the UK as the Crown dependencies. While Britain is officially responsible for defence and international representation, these jurisdictions maintain their own militaries and have been granted limited diplomatic powers, in addition to having internal self-government. Nevertheless, they are British overseas territories.

New Zealand and dependencies share the same Governor-General and constitute one realm. The Cook Islands and Niue are officially termed associated states.

Puerto Rico (since 1952) and the Northern Mariana Islands (since 1986) are non-independent states freely associated with the United States. The mutually negotiated Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in Political Union with the United States was approved in 1976. The Covenant was fully implemented November 3, 1986, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation no. 5564, which conferred United States citizenship on legally qualified CNMI residents.[20]

Under the Constitution of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico is described as a Commonwealth and Puerto Ricans have a degree of administrative autonomy similar to citizens of a U.S. state. Puerto Ricans "were collectively made U.S. citizens" in 1917 as a result of the Jones-Shafroth Act.[21][22] The commonly used name in Spanish of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally "Associated Free State of Puerto Rico", which sounds similar to "free association" particularly when loosely used in Spanish, is sometimes erroneously interpreted to mean that Puerto Rico's relationship with United States is based on a Compact of Free Association and at other times erroneously held to mean that Puerto Rico's relationship with United States is based on an Interstate compact. This is a constant source of ambiguity and confusion when trying to define, understand and explain Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States. For various reasons Puerto Rico's political status differs from that of the Pacific Islands that entered into Compacts of Free Association with the United States. As sovereign states, these islands have full right to conduct their own foreign relations, while the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has territorial status subject to United States congressional authority under the Constitution's Territory Clause, "to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory… belonging to the United States.".[23] Puerto Rico does not have the right to unilaterally declare independence, and at the last referendum (1998) the narrow majority voted for "none of the above", which was a formally undefined alternative used by commonwealth supporters to express their desire for an "enhanced commonwealth" option.[23]

This kind of relationship also can be found in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is a federacy. The continental part is organized like a unitary state but the status of its territories (Aruba, since 1986, and the Netherlands Antilles, since 1954 until 2010) can be considered dependencies or "associated non-independent states". After the split-up of the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are separate associated states like Aruba.

Additionally, Denmark operates in a similar manner to a federacy. The Faroes and Greenland are two self-governing territories, or regions within the Kingdom. The relationship between Denmark proper and the two territories is semi-officially termed the "Rigsfællesskabet".

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.

  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514
  2. ^ United Nations Trusteeship Council
  3. ^ a b United Nations General Assembly 15th Session - The Trusteeship System and Non-Self-Governing Territories (pages:509-510)
  4. ^ Listaba.com
  5. ^ The World Factbook. Cia.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  6. ^ For the list, see Special Committee on Decolonization (2002). "Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories". United Nations, Special Committee on Decolonization. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  7. ^ a b http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/publications-archived/2000/pacific-peoples-constitution-report-september-2000/documents/Bibliography.doc
  8. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Guernsey at the CIA's page". CIA. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  9. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Jersey at the CIA's page". CIA. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  10. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "The Isle of Man at the CIA's page". CIA. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  11. ^ Carney, Gerard (2006). The constitutional systems of the Australian states and territories. Canberra: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-86305-6. 
  12. ^ a b c First Assistant Secretary, Territories Division (2008-01-30). "Territories of Australia". Attorney-General's Department. Retrieved 2008-02-07. The Federal Government, through the Attorney-General's Department administers Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Jervis Bay, and Norfolk Island as Territories. 
  13. ^ Territories and Information Law Division; First Assistant Secretary, Territories and Information Law Division (7 September 2009). "Cocos Islands Governance and Administration". Territories of Australia. Australian Government, Attorney-General's Department. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  14. ^ Willis Island is permanently manned by a small team of meteorologists.
  15. ^ 广电总局批准31个境外频道在涉外宾馆等申请接收. Gov.cn (2006-12-30). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  16. ^ 2010年第六次全国人口普查主要数据公报(第1号). Stats.gov.cn. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  17. ^ 項懷誠:香港是社保基金境外投資的首選地之一. Big5.huaxia.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  18. ^ on wings of eagle
  19. ^ The Scope for Norwegian Commitments Related to International Research on Jan Mayen Island
  20. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Northern Mariana Islands at the CIA's page". CIA. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  21. ^ The Louisiana Purchase and American Expansion: 1803-1898. By Sanford Levinson and Bartholomew H. Sparrow. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. 2005. Page 166, 178. "U.S. citizenship was extended to residents of Puerto Rico by virtue of the Jones Act, chap. 190, 39 Stat. 951 (1971) (codified at 48 U.S.C. § 731 (1987)")
  22. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Puerto Rico at the CIA's page". CIA. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  23. ^ a b December 2005 report of the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status

Bibliography[edit]

  • George Drower, Britain's Dependent Territories, Dartmouth, 1992
  • George Drower, Overseas Territories Handbook, TSO, 1998

External links[edit]